Talking to customers: characteristics of effective social media conversations

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My keynote lecture at the 11th European Conference of the Association of Business Communication, May 30-June 2, 2012, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

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  • Maar niet alleen twitter
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  • Talking to customers: characteristics of effective social media conversations

    1. 1. Talking to customers:characteristics of effectivesocial media conversations Peter Kerkhof p.kerkhof@vu.nl @peterkerkhof
    2. 2. 2007  1st iPhone  12 million Facebook users  Daily 5000 tweets worldwide  4000 tweeps in NL
    3. 3. 2007  1st iPhone  12 million Facebook users 2011  Daily 5000 tweets worldwide  130 million iPhones  4000 tweeps in NL  Half million new Android devices daily  62 million iPads  1.7 million tablets in NL  800 million Facebook gebruikers  Daily 250 million tweets  1.3 million active tweeps in NL
    4. 4. Brands on Twitter 19% of all tweets is brand related 20% of all brand related tweets contains positive or negative sentiment 55% positive, 33% is negative 2011: 10 million brand experiences per day (Source: Jansen et al., 2009)
    5. 5. The Yelp effect = +4.5% revenues
    6. 6. Business communication 2.0 Less about advertising Using editorial content for business purposes Engaging in public conversations with consumers
    7. 7. The decline of advertising Advertising:  Growing irritation  Declining credibility  Declining effectiveness
    8. 8. The decline of advertising Advertising elasticities 1962-1981 Old estimate 1962-1981 New estimate 1940-1979 New estimate 1980-2004 0.22 0.13 0.10Advertising elasticity: % growth in sales after +1% growth in advertising expendituresSource: Sethuraman, Tellis & Briesch (2011).
    9. 9. The rise of content marketing “the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.” http://www.junta42.com/resources/what-is-content-marketing.aspx
    10. 10. The rise of content marketing40 billion dollar, 26% of US marketingbudget (Custom Content Council,2012)
    11. 11. Content marketing in print
    12. 12. Content marketing on TV
    13. 13. Digital content marketing Video  Microblogs Websites  Utilities Apps  E-mail newsletters Online magazines  Communities Blogs  ……….. Brand pages in SNS’s
    14. 14. Hennig-Thurau et al. (2010): The Impact of New Media onCustomer Relationships, Journal of Service Research, vol.13(3), pp. 311-330.
    15. 15. Social media Less control Empowered consumers:  A skeptical crowd  Access to information about product quality from trusted sources  Instant access to own media  Instant acces to company social media sites
    16. 16. Overcoming skepticism &distance 1-to-1 relational communication, with a skeptical audience Create relevant content & conversations that……..  Help  Solve problems  Inform  Educate  Entertain Establish immediacy & closeness in conversations
    17. 17. Immediacy Immediacy in business: be fast Immediacy in psychology /communication: “communication behaviors that enhance closeness to and nonverbal interaction with each other” (Mehrabian, 1971) Teacher immediacy: the degree of perceived closeness between teacher and student (Gorham, 1988; Christophel, 1989)
    18. 18. Mediated immediacy(O’Sullivan, Hunt & Lippert, 2004) Mediated immediacy: “communicative cues in mediated channels that can shape perceptions of psychological closeness between interactants” (O’Sullivan, Hunt & Lippert, 2004, p. 471) Mediated immediacy behaviors: approachability and regard for other  approachability: you can approach me  self-disclosure, expressiveness, accessibility, informality, similarity, familiarity, humor, attractiveness, and expertise  regard: I am approaching you  personalness, engagement, helpfulness, politeness
    19. 19. Effects of mediated immediacy Higher course motivation, more teacher liking (O’Sullivan, Hunt & Lippert, 2004, Study 2) Linguistic immediacy cues exert stronger effects than presentational cues (O’Sullivan, Hunt & Lippert, 2004, Study 3) More self-disclosure on a health forum, more social trust, more positive outcome expectations (Lee & LaRose, 2011)
    20. 20. Relational maintenance in onlinePR (Kelleher & Miller, 2006; Kelleher, 2009) Corporate blogs:  Being open to dialog  Using invitational language  Providing prompt feedback Leading to higher credibility & trust through ……  conversational human voice  communicated relational commitment
    21. 21. Conversational human voice “an engaging and natural style of organizational communication as perceived by an organization’s publics based on interactions between individuals in the organization and individuals in publics” (Kelleher, 2009, p. 177)
    22. 22. Communicated relationalcommitment “a type of content of communication in which members of an organization work to express their commitment to building and maintaining a relationship” (Kelleher, 2009, p.176)
    23. 23. Our studies (w. Camiel Beukeboom & Sonja Utz, VU Univ.) Experimental studies Online customer care: customer complaint + various responses  Study 1  Immediacy low vs. high  Apologies vs. redress  Control group  Study 2:  Immediacy low vs. high  Apologies vs. refutation  Company size (small vs. Large) Crisis communication:  Study 3: immediacy + content  Immediacy low vs. high  Apologies vs. denial
    24. 24. Study 1 Low immediacy  “Based on your story, we would like to offer our sincere apologies for the inconvenience. We would like to get in touch with you about this problem.” High immediacy  “My name is Thomas de Vries. (…) Based on your story, I would like to offer my sincere apologies for the inconvenience. I would like to personally get in touch with you about this problem.“. Apologies vs. redress Control group: no company response
    25. 25. Study 1 Dependent variable:  corporate credibility Mediators:  conversational human voice  communicated relational commitment  underdog effect (Vandello, Goldschmied, & Richards, 2007) Control group: cognitive responses
    26. 26. Study 1 Communicated relational commitment:  (F(1, 118) = 14.45, p < . 001; Mlow immediacy = 3.81, Mhigh immediacy = 4.61) Conversational human voice  (F(1, 118) = 7.81, p < . 01; Mlow immediacy = 3.63, Mhigh immediacy = 4.12) Underdog effect:  (F(1, 118) = 4.63, p < . 05; Mlow immediacy = 4.72, Mhigh immediacy = 4.30)  (F(1, 118) = 5.65, p < . 05; Mapology= 4.74, Mredress = 4.28)
    27. 27. Study 1 No other effects of apologies vs. redress No interaction effects Indirect effects of immediacy on corporate credibility  (bootstrapping)
    28. 28. Study 1 No other effects of apologies vs. redress No interaction effects Indirect effects of immediacy on corporate credibility  (bootstrapping)
    29. 29. Positive cognitive brandresponses60.0%50.0%40.0%30.0%20.0%10.0% 0.0% High immediacy /apologiesImmediacy, apologies immediacy /redress immediacy /redress Low High Low No response
    30. 30. Study 2: What if distance isalready low? Include a manipulation of organizational size /closeness  “Company A is international market leader in navigation- and communication systems. Company A has offices on every continent and about 7000 employees worldwide…”.  “Company B is a small family company in navigation- and communication systems. Company B is located in Eindhoven and has about 40 employees at this location…”. Immediacy high /low; Apology vs. refutation of complaint DV’s: Brand trust, communicated relational commitment, conversational human voice
    31. 31. Study 2 Conversational human voice & communicated relational commitment  Main effects of immediacy  Interaction immediacy x company size Brand trust: Interaction immediacy x company size 4 3.5 3 2.5 Low immedicay High immedicacy 2 1.5 1 Small Large
    32. 32. Study 3
    33. 33. Bloggers’ comments: lowimmediacy It took too long H&M talked to journalists, not to fans Communication was highly standardized  “You know whats funny? that you are just simply pasting the same response to every comment about this shameful situation you are in. Why dont you post something where you actually admit and explain…” Corporate tone of voice No apologies were made
    34. 34. Study 3 Participants read an online news story about the event, followed by one of four responses Immediacy (low/high) & denial vs. apologies Denial vs. apologies:  Apologies are less often used but are more effective since they signal taking responsibility  more effective in the case of integrity violations  Denial is often used but less effective (Kim, Avery & Lariscy, 2009)
    35. 35. Study design (low immediacy/apology)
    36. 36. Study design (high immediacy/denial)
    37. 37. Study design Dependent variables:  Negative /positive cognitive responses  Communicated relational commitment  Conversational human voice  Attitude towards the response  Corporate credibility  Crisis responsibility
    38. 38. Study 3: Immediacy effects 43.5 Low immediacy 3 High immediacy2.5 2 Conversational human voice Communicated Relational (1-5) commitment (1-5)
    39. 39. Study 3: Immediacy effects % Negative cognitive responses 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Personal Corporate
    40. 40. Study 3: Apologies vs. denial 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 Apologies 3.5 Denial 3 2.5 2 Credibility (1-7) Responsibility (1- Att. Response (1- 5) 5)
    41. 41. Predicting corporate credibility Regression analysis: predicting corporate credibility Corporate credibility Prior brand commitment 0.31** Conversational human voice 0.47** Attitude towards the response 0.03ns Communicated relational commitment -0.06ns Negative cognitive responses 0.11ns Positive cognitive responses 0.13ns Crisis responsibility -0.01ns R2(adj)=.37***
    42. 42. Conclusion Effects of immediacy  Direct on credibility  Indirect through  Communicated relational commitment  Conversational human voice Immediacy helps to narrow the gap between organizations /brands and consumers

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