Your best advocates are your own employees. Enabling your employees to use social media as a customer service tool is essential in today’s social world. They need to understand the perimeters of your brand, speak in one voice (i.e. your established elevator pitch) and make them feel invested in building the customer experience. By using social media listening tools, you can use “surprise marketing” to source people who had difficult transit issues (missed the bus, bus stopped running) and offer them a free coupon using social media (i.e. “#missedthebus sorry you missed the bus here is a free ride coupon and check out our free mobile app so you’ll never miss the bus again.” These actions can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Caltrain Tweets is a good example of empowering passengers with crowdsourced content and information that is also a customer service tool. Worried about your customers not having smart phones? Create an epanel — the brainchild of Champaign Urban Mass Transit to aggregate customer service issues from non-smart phone users and communicate them out to the service provider for them to address.
The gamification of social change starts with fun, simple actions that offer rewards. Points are a strong motivator, but an even stronger motivator is the ability to compare yourself to your peers and show the financial value of an action or display the savings or benefit from an action and then showcase this among peer groups with an affirmation. As marketers, we need to give them an incentive to start the game, and motivate them to simulate an action online (try using the bus but also educating them on how to do it), so they will do it offline. Adding a team component can also work well if you make the team members dependent on one another – making it clear, if you don’t contribute, the entire team will fail. Baking in the ability to track the behavior you have incentivised over time is also essential so you can continue to give friendly reminders down the road.
Videos are a great vehicle to enable you to tell your story and enable people to share, discuss, and refer. Don’t have a big enough budget? Align with brands or services that share your vision and co-create content. Launch a user-generated promotion and offer relevant prizes to aid in increasing trial and generate new content. Create a video-powered social campaign that includes an action to spark a movement, educate, and spread the word. Use a local transit blog to curate and collect stories like MuniDiaries that provides a platform for people to communicate and their Pinterest feeds that feature boards on topics such as street fashion, map it, weddings, and more. MuniDiaries takes this one step further with live storytelling events each month (ex. a BART driver talks about what it’s like to drive the train).
Create a virtual billboard at transit centers, bus shelters, and on-board to enable people to purchase tickets and passes with their smart phones using QR codes. Create specialized packages to gain publicity and attention, like Guilt City did by selling an entire plane for $60,000. It sold out in less than 4 hours and added 1,000 people to the waiting list. Why not sell out the entire bus/route or bike sharing station? Target local businesses, colleges, and tourist groups and enable group booking.
The future of mobile technology is to enable people to contribute to their neighborhood, their community and their streets. An example is the Street Bump project . This location-enabled application enables drivers to make their daily commutes and will measure bumps in the road and pin point them geographically for the city to fix. Adopt a Hydrant is another program in Boston that gets people engaged and by giving them responsibility for the city. By adopting a hydrant and helping the city maintain it in the winter – keeping the snow off — it keeps the city functioning and provides a valuable service. Why not launch an Adopt a Bus Stop project? Organizations such as Community Planet are leading design interventions to help create a sustainable planet by reimagining what trashcans look like. This has been done in the transportation realm with Next Stop Design — a contest to build a better bus stop through crowdsourcing.
One session focused on how to make driving and cars more productive, and parking more efficient, which is also at the core of the Street Bump Project. There are many mobile applications focused on this, but the future is more collaborative and focused on sharing and rewarding with hyper-local incentives. Imagine an app that allows the bike sharing system to talk to the bus shelter to tell it it’s empty? Goingmyway is a new mobile app that helps people consider alternatives. It pushes a route to your friends to rideshare or brings people into your car and can provide real-time data back to the system. Zimride is a carpool solution for university and corporate networks that enables you to grab a seat and save money. Carsurfing.com is another new application that has partnered with Avego to use their same system of payment to reward people for taking seats in cars. People need to be aware of the real cost of driving, so applications that calculate this information are valuable in motivating behavior change.
Top Transportation/Transit Trends 2012
Top Mobility Trends from 2012 SXSW Interactive
1. Building Brand Advocates Starts from WithinEmployees need to understand the perimeters of your brand, speak inone voice, and feel invested in the customer experience
2. Gaming for Behavior ChangeThe gamification of social change starts with fun, simple actions thatoffer rewards
3. Motivate Change with ContentAlign brands or services that share your vision and co-create content
4. Sell Your Services VirtuallyCreate virtual billboards and specialized packages that gain publicity andattention
5. Rethink How Things Are DoneThe future of mobile technology is to enable people to contribute to theirneighborhood, their community and their streets
6. Apps to Make it EasyThere are many mobile applications, but the future is collaborative andfocused on sharing and rewarding with hyper-local incentives