Tag Archives: respond

Social media – a lot like putting your pants on.

27 Feb

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This morning I popped into the Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) exhibition to sit in on a few seminars.

This morning’s best talk was on ‘social brand management’ led by Scott McKee from Birddog, a digital and brand consultancy, and Gareth Case from Xuber, a specialist commercial insurance company. They addressed the challenge faced by community managers everywhere, particularly for B2B brands: ‘I’m social, My brand isn’t.’

It’s well-known that some B2B brands aren’t the quickest to recognise and respond to new trends. Some even think starting a conversation on LinkedIn is a risk.

But, as McKee explained, LinkedIn has stabilised unlike Twitter and Facebook – which recently celebrated hitting the one billion user mark. So, it doesn’t make business sense to rely on this channel alone.

The problem is clients are desperate to know the ROI. They’ll happily invest in events, print advertising and a good-looking website without a second thought, but they expect instant results with social media.

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford once said:

You may as well ask what’s the ROI of putting your pants on every day. There is a value to it but it’s hard to measure.

Damn right it is. But it feels good doesn’t it? So, why hold back on social?

PRs, marketers and brand consultants need to be really clear with their clients: new media, new rules, new KPIs. And, with 98% of the UK and US using social media, can they really afford not to give it a proper go? Done properly brands could end up with a loyal social community around them who do they talking for them.

What surprised me was how McKee and Case, his client, met. Case ended up on Birddog’s mailing list and from there, they listened and engaged with eachother on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. A chance ‘meeting’ that wasn’t taken for granted by Birddog. McKee gave Case reasons to keep his business front of mind – long enough until he had a generous marketing budget. Then, who did he turn to? The company that had already won him over.

Together, they did the usual ofdefining objectives, audience, and competition, but also fleshed out a content plan, put their community manager to work to engage 24/7 and monitored reports to respond to what people did and didn’t like.

In just four months, Xuber reached more than 3.3 million people as a direct result of its social media activity. More than this, it generated seven new business leads worth £3.7m. Not bad for an instance company remember.

The golden nugget of this seminar was when Case was asked how he got management buy-in to go ahead with his plans. He said, they set all the managers up with their own social media accounts and let them play around with them. When they struggled and fought against each other about how many followers they each had he said: ‘you can either do it yourself or marketing can help you do it better.’

It makes sense.

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Earned media gone bad

9 Jan

After reading an interesting blog this week by Deborah Bates from Red Rocket Media on The Wall about earned media I was grateful for the clear definition as to what it is. I was even more grateful that it fits in tightly to my job description. Earned media is just a new buzz word for PR – third party endorsements. For a moment I thought my client knew more about the industry than I did!

But, what this explanation of earned media doesn’t do is identify that it can go wrong (and often does) for brands – through negative comments.

No one has time to read the full list of online brand blunders to date, but I’ve had to blog about the stupidity of Odeon, American Apparel and Helen Flanagan just in the last few months. So how are we meant to prevent earned media gone bad?

1) Respond to all enquiries
This will help stop challenges before they get off the ground. Even if you can’t help, try and signpost the user to the right direction. You can’t fault someone for being polite can you?

2) Don’t delay
If you take too long to respond to an enquiry and it blows up into a social media storm, people will be pull you up on the time it takes you to respond. Too long and you’re perceived as not caring / understanding that there’s a problem.

At the beginning of campaigns, why not troubleshoot some potential issues with mock responses and solutions and file away just in case you need them?

3) See it from their POV
A customer has just had a negative experience. Have some empathy – we’ve all been there. Acknowledge the issue by giving them a shoulder to cry on, offer a solution and ask others to come forward that might be feeling the same. Brands often sort out issues one-on-one but they could earn brownie points by helping a few others at the same time.

4) Be consistent
A colleague at William Murray raised a brilliant point today: a key message posted online today might not be relevant or in line with your strategy tomorrow. Make sure you don’t stray too far from your company’s core values to demonstrate consistency to fans and followers. Any curve balls will be thrown back, hard.

5) Be honest
If you’re being measured against earned media be honest with your client. Great – you’ve secured 10 examples of positive comments. But, if you don’t flag the 100 neutral-negative ones, then the client will be saying something to you and it won’t be pretty.

It doesn’t mean a bad job has been done – it just reiterates that nobody has a grip on cyber space. Put the figures in perspective.

What are your views on earned media? How is it working for you and your clients?

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