Last year I was on this same stage and declared that brands are lies, half-truths and good intentions. I did not say that as a statement about brand integrity but rather an observation about how textbook brand building accepts as a core premise that brands can and will shape points of view about them. We know this not to be true today, and as brands embrace social technologies to engage fans, followers, and friends they are increasingly coming to the conclusion that content created by and for customers has value well beyond the initial interaction, and that is what I am here to talk about today, building a community around your brand.
If you want to know me follow me on twitter, connect to me on linkedin, and read my blog. Like all of you, my identity is a function of who I am and what I care about and smart companies are figuring out how to interact with me on each dimension.
The pace of technology innovation in the consumer space has accelerated in recent years and as a result the pressure on businesses to react to these new approaches and channels has increased dramatically. Here’s where we are right now, social networks and mobile first are current state mainstreaming, so let’s talk about the implications for social.
Social technology is a communication revolution with enormous business implications. Not only are consumers interacting with companies differently, employees are also undergoing a parallel evolution in how they interact with each other and the external world.
This is stating the obvious, the old controlled and methodical way is giving way to a new normal
This new normal is chaotic and unpredictable because it fundamentally puts consumers in the center and people are messy and complicated.
Consumers are calling the shot, declaring when and where you will interact with them. Phone, email, and web have given way given way to phone, email, web, twitter, facebook, reviews, comments, SMS, and community interactions.
So what is this thing called communityCommunity is not someplace you send your customers, it is at it’s core about putting user generated content – the stuff people write about you and your products – on the same plane as the stuff you write about yourself. Community is what you wrap around your business to and rely on to develop unique and actionable insights about what your customers care about, how they use your products, how their interactions with you will cause or frustrate them in future purchases. Community is about getting more from the customers you already have as well as using them to help you acquire new customers.
Let’s take a look at a spectrum of customer focused technologies that conspire to facilitate community engagement
Customer reviews are familiar to anyone with an ecommerce experience and while they valuable in terms of collecting feedback they also demonstrate shortcomings that impair them as a feedback mechanism. They are at their core an asynchronous behavior, the person writing the review has no expectation of a response and brands struggle with integrating reviews in customer support because of the lack of identifiable customer information, you don’t know who they are or even if they actually own the product. The bigger issue with reviews is that they don’t scale well, the more reviews a product has the noisier the reviews get and the less useful they are. How many people have looked at an Amazon product, or even purchased on based solely on the number of reviews? Typically this happens in a fungible environment where 2 products are viewed as interchangeable. Reviews also tend to be affirmative or dissuading in nature, they don’t help a consumer actually select a product, but rather reinforce something they intend to buy or may be on the fence about.
Facebook brand pages are a critical component in a b2c and b2b market presence.Facebook brand pages don’t’ integrate well with line of business applications, and at the end of the day your customers are creating content that Facebook controls, not you.
Forums are as old as dirt and continue to have utility where brands want to maintain presence and control but not be the primary
Twitter will remain a foundation communication channel to your customers but the half life of tweets and customer imposed urgency around response times means you don’t get second chances.CRI Research found that tweets not responded to in 6 days resulted in a significant shift in customer sentiment, roughly 60% of consumers said they would reconsider future purchases from that company. Integrating Twitter into your community channel is critical, but doing so in a manner that doesn’t require every tweet to have a bespoke response is essential. Using customer generated community content as a content management tool under twitter is a good tactic.
Yet another social network… but Pinterest is worth calling out just because the engagement levels are so high and brands have a unique ability to present themselves in an entirely visual manner. This underscores another challenge that community strategies have to accommodate, not all content is text.
Let’s talk about community in the context of content and use a model that is well established in the media landscape – owned, earned, and paid Owned is the stuff you create and publish on your assetsBought is what you pay other people to create and/or hostEarned is what your customers and other interested parties post about you, which could be long form content, 140 characters or reposting/sharing what other people put out.That in a nutshell is community… it recognizes that you get the most leverage from causing others to co-create with you and then curate on your behalf.
This much we know, social networks are where people go to connect and discover, not evaluate. They will use content in social networks to inform and affirm their intentions but thy do not have an expectation of using Facebook like a website.
An example is Mindjet, which pulls content in from Twitter and Facebook as part of their community experience, and then directs search traffic to content specific and relevant to the query. Positive feedback and dynamically curated FAQs are then published to their web assets in realtime.
The ability to improve the web experience with community content and interactive features is a proven strategy and aligns well with stated consumer preferences to have more engagement through websites.
This is not to say that consumers want to post status updates on your website, but they do want the ability to share/tweet/like content. They also want to gain the perspectives of other customers, both to maximize the value of products and services they already have, but also to consider additional offerings the company makes available to them. Many CPG brands have also been at the forefront of a shift in how to market. Pampers, one of our customers, has moved away from marketing the technical attributes of diapers and offering promotion after promotion. They use their community to support a customer journey as a new parent takes a newborn to potty training. In effect Pampers is positioning their community as a primary consumer affairs offering for questions like “Where can I get a coupon” but also taking feedback about product ideas and helping parents with resources that help them with parenting.
While we are on infant and toddler products, a retailer in the UK is using Get Satisfaction in a commerce environment, connecting community and FAQ with ratings and reviews. When looking at a car seat or travel system, a site visitor is not going to get an answer to a question about the weight or feature set of a product in a review, nor will they have answered a question about isofix bases or whether or not the car seat fits their ford focus.That is where community comes in, social Q&AThe result is profound, fewer calls to the call center, higher 1st call resolution rates, and lower shopping cart abandonment rates.
Netflix wants their Facebook page to be more like a website, and rather than have Facebook locking up that content they want it exposed to search engines like google and bing. They use a Get Satisfaction community in their brand page and the result is a highly interactive experience that scales better and has a longer shelf life than Facebook Wall posts.
Resolution drives everything. The top 3 rules about customer engagement are:Be human, don’t treat your customer like an account number or a field in a scriptGive a complete answer that resolves their problem or questionBe prompt about it
Lastly, customer brand loyalty is rich and diverse. It used to take years to build loyalty and when you had it it was durable… today loyalty is achieved quickly but is very fickle.
[Read bullet list](e.g. Reduced support costs for companies like Mint)
Communities That Mean Business @socialbizATL Vibrant Customer Communities#GetSatisfaction#SocBiz#Community#SMM#SocBizATL
Social networks not the primary place where people go to learn about productsOnly 20% of consumers use social networksto research products vs. 81% use companywebsite What Consumers do to Learn about a Product or Service
Branded Community enabling deeper engagement GS brings word of mouthsocial posts into community Community SEO makes word of mouth discussions searchable GS widgets allow advocate posts to be surfaced on their web site #Mindjet #management #mindmap
Company websites are where people learn about products81% of consumers use company websites asprimary source to research products
company websites tobe more like theirexperiences on socialnetworks.”Incyte, “To Monetize Open SocialNetworks, Invite Customers to Be MoreThan Just“Friends”, 7/2012, http://www.incytegroup. 24com
Branded Community drives product discussions Community widgets placedthroughout the purchase flow Community SEO makes word of mouth discussions searchable GS brings word of mouth content that is product specific
Branded Communities for 9 International Markets GS Federated Searchleveraging their existing KB Get Satisfaction Facebook Application included on Timeline Get Satisfaction Hootsuite Integration for Social Support
Relevant content drives customer#3 engagement Top Reasons Consumers Participate in a Branded Customer Community 27
Lowering Support Costs & Leveraging Word-of-Mouth Marketing•Overview Benefits• Non-denominational Christian diet • 85% decrease in email volume and lifestyle organization to support•Challenges • 70% decrease in repetitive• High email volume questions• Repetitive support questions • Drove traffic to key events,• Lack of search in knowledge base promotions, and products prevented self-service • Received valuable new ideas•Goals from customers• Customer self-service “Get Satisfaction helped with• Community powered by fans marketing, as well as support. We can highlight praise for a new product from the community and share it in a Facebook thread without seeming so sales focused,” Laura Hudson, Social Media Coordinator
#4 83% of consumers are willing to advocate • 83% of consumers are very willing to become on-line brand advocates • 42% of consumers are willing to be on-line advocates without incentive41% of FB users have shareda link, video, or post about 39% of people havea brand tweeted about a brand.- AYTM - AYTM
Driving Product Ideation & Innovation•Overview Benefits• Creates popular screen capture • Engaged new Mac user base – and recording software including 100,00 downloads & 445,000 Snagit, Camtasia & Jing conversations•Challenges • Saved $300-500K on UX• Did not understand Mac users research• Needed to gather insight for new Mac product • Kept support headcount steady•Goals • Refined marketing messages• Understand expectations, needs “Now we can develop highly targeted and preferences of Mac users messaging faster and earlier because• Engage entire user base in agile development process customers tell us in their own words what they care about, why they like the product, and more. As a result, going into our official product launch, we’re more confident in our feature set, messaging, usability, and software stability.” Katie Moor, Product Marketing Manager
The Customer Why are all my friends talkingLifecycle about Brand X? Potent I love Brand X! Make sure you get Discover ialthe extra spicy version Custo What’s the difference between Brand X Advocate Evaluate mers and Brand Y? Loyalty The Promotions Programs Here’s the best way Brandto set up the product Where can I buy it? Which version? Bond BuyExisting I wish the product had more features Experience #CXM #SocBiz #CustomerJourneyCusto
“Culture eats strategy forbreakfast.” #management- Peter Drucker #culture
1: • Establish a branded community • Develop community mgmt processes • Integrate with social media presence Culture • Embed community content in marketing, product 2: and support processes • Build cross functional team support • Integrate with line of business applications • Map business processes according to customer 3: journey • Develop active customer advocacy • Measure your results#Culture #Community #SocBiz #SocialCustomer #SOCAP #NPS
Communities That Mean Business#ThankYou#SocBizATL