DIGITAL PEER PRESSUREAuthor: gurmit singh shakhonDate: 29.03.12www.esporis.comSocial media is a fast growing buzzword hi6ng businesses from all digital channels. Brands are facing a decision whether to acknowledge this channel or ignore it (which is becoming harder to do), increasingly we are seeing companies jump onto Facebook, TwiBer, LinkedIn and other social networks. But are they ready to be there and do they know what they’re doing there? Businesses are tesGng the waters of social media to best understand the long and short-‐term beneﬁts, while others dive in to reap the beneﬁts of these social communiGes. So what’s the problem with these half-‐baked teams trying to make a mark in the social world? Nothing really, they can provide a presence online and voice their valuable news and opinions towards their audience…Great! However this fundamentally goes against the principles of social media. Social media means businesses have to be ready to get social with their audience and be happy to let lose the conversaGons they once fully owned and controlled. It means accepGng the good and the bad! Allowing customers to make conversaGons about your brand that they believe are important, and to build relaGonships with you on their terms. However what’s the value of engaging with customers who are allowed to talk about anything and everything? This is not the case, when engaging with customers on Facebook they must ‘Like’ your page before they are allowed to interact with you. The same goes for TwiBer, people who see your tweets are the guys who ‘follow’ you. Therefore it’s safe to say that the customer (or prospecGve customer) has a level of interest in you and want to hear what you have to say. We need to speak to people in a way that welcomes their parGcipaGon, allowing them to understand that it is ok to converse in this space.
A case study of doing this well - Broadway BookshBp://www.broadwaybooks.net hBp://stories.twiBer.com/en/aaron_durand.htmlA small bookstore named Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon were facing ﬁnancial diﬃculty during Christmas when they were expecGng a peak of their sales. The bookstore owner Roberta Dyer was worried she may need to close the business. Her son Aaron Durand was taken back by this and decided to write a blog post. He explained the situaGon and oﬀered anyone in the area who visits and purchases a book from his mum’s store a free burrito. The results were astonishing, the bookstore was seeing customers its never seen before, books were ﬂying oﬀ the shelves and the community was saving the bookstore from closure.What did he do right? He connected to his community at an emoGonal level, he was honest, he played upon the community sprit and provided an incenGve. Now this is the fairytale ending to a real business problem but there are lessons to be learnt. In order to connect to his community at an emoGonal level he needed to understand that community, who they are, what they like, what they don’t like and how to talk to them. He was honest, honesty is really important and a single lie can seriously damage the reputaGon of a brand. John Griﬃn the CEO of Addison Lee made a statement to Sky News highlighGng that his business has grown from strength to strength by being honest ‘people will forgive the truth but they’ll never forgive a lie’. This concocGon of honesty, community sprit and incenGve all played upon the success of this campaign.
A case study of doing this badly - SkittlesSkiBles took a brave move by transforming their main .com website into a social media campaign. The aim of this campaign was not enGrely clear. SkiBles allowed their audience to tweet whatever they wanted about the diﬀerent colours of SkiBles. The more tweets about a speciﬁc colour would push the SkiBle colour up the rankings and be published on the site. What did Skittles do wrong? Although this sounds like a great idea and ‘a dream project’ for many digital agencies SkiBles didn’t put in place any management precauGons to allow them to manage negaGve feedback, not even basic fowl language ﬁlters! From an external perspecGve it seemed like SkiBles had fully handed over ownership of their site to their audience. If SkiBles had more control over this campaign they would have had the opportunity to parGcipate in ‘their’ conversaGon and create processes to manage negaGve comments.Another contribuGng factor is the tone of voice / language used on the campaign page. SkiBles adopted a blunt, cold, slang approach, se6ng the stage for the audience to believe it was acceptable to converse in such a way e.g. ‘Don’t get cocky’ (wriBen by SkiBles on their campaign site) which could have led to the type of response they were receiving.
Cont: A case study of doing this badly - SkittlesIt’s not enGrely clear what was the social strategy was for this campaign. If it was to increase visitors to their site the tweets may have lead to a rise in links to them however the campaign itself had liBle to no content therefore removing any SEO value. Maybe the value was to increase digital conversaGons with their audience? If it was only for an increase in metrics this campaign would have been considered a wide success! However in reality most of the conversaGons were negaGve and had low senGment (at least not enough for me to change my purchasing habits from M&M’s to SkiBles).It has to been handed to SkiBles, although the campaign wasn’t an obvious success, their bravery to become a socially engaged brand has to be respected. They made some obvious errors and could have targeted their campaign beBer for greater results. The management was poor and opportuniGes were lost, but hey we all hope they learnt from their mistakes.
A case study of not doing anything (till its too late) - Dominos PizzahBp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtjVEBZWweM hBp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhBmWxQpedI&feature=player_embeddedhBp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-‐gvs2Y2368&feature=relatedDomino’s pizza was in a media frenzy when two of their employees took pictures of themselves spi6ng into customers food, taunGng customers behind their backs and even having a bath in the large Domino’s pizza kitchen sink. Once these photos and videos hit Facebook they went viral and were posted on peoples walls all over the USA (and way further). The news eventually went across the naGon and was even broadcasted on the news. Very quickly the customer community up-‐roared regarding this issue and forced Domino’s Pizza to close their store. The employees involved in the incident were later sentenced to a jail term. The USA president of Domino’s Pizza made an apology and took full responsibility, view the apology video on the link above.What did Dominos do wrong? Domino’s Pizza were not monitoring their brand percepGon across social networks, not measuring senGment nor the trends for what people were watching or talking about regarding Domino’s Pizza. They did not monitor their staﬀ nor regulate the use of social media (or socially connected devices). They also missed the opportunity to connect to the upset users who were viewing the photos and videos posted by the rouge employees. Domino’s Pizza held a helpless posiGon where they did not speak or listen to the social communiGes who were upset by the behaviour of their staﬀ. The outcome of this incident proves how important it is not to do anything. These problems don’t go away in a world of connected broadcasters!
Social media is being used to empower the individual, bringing their thoughts, ideas and concepts to the front of the discussion. Its important we do not become passive to their views or respond like a robot. The value of social media comes from the closeness of the conversaGon and conversing through technology as humans. Its important we never forget this fact and implement processes and technologies that support organizaGons to behave in such a way.About the author Gurmit Singh Shakhon is an enthusiastic and experienced digital professional in the ﬁelds of experience strategy, social strategy and interaction design. Gurmit has worked in some of the worlds leading digital agencies and been part of market shifting projects. Gurmit has also worked alongside some of the most intelligent minds in the industry including Don Norman, Brett King and Martin Lindstrom. Gurmit is a partner in Esporis.com promoting the creation of highly creative social solutions across the UK and Australia.