tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/community-management Latest Community Management content from Econsultancy 2017-02-27T12:55:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-02-27T12:55:00+00:00 2017-02-27T12:55:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to two sector-specific reports, B2B and Healthcare &amp; Pharma) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for sector-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a> and <a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a> reports.</strong></p> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68814 2017-02-16T11:15:00+00:00 2017-02-16T11:15:00+00:00 How utilities brands use social media for reputation management Nikki Gilliland <p>Before we go any further, what exactly is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65523-what-is-online-reputation-management-and-should-you-use-it/" target="_blank">online reputation management</a>? Well, though it largely comes under the umbrella of social media monitoring, this practice can also involve dealing with online reviews, producing content and general <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66439-three-ways-community-management-drives-loyalty-for-charities/" target="_blank">community management</a>.</p> <p>In this article, I will specifically be focusing on how utility companies use social media channels for reputation management.</p> <h3>Basic principles</h3> <p>Online reputation management on social media refers to <em>how</em> brands respond to customer conversation.</p> <p>For example, if people are complaining or even praising a service, but the brand remains entirely unresponsive – this can have a detrimental effect on its overall reputation. </p> <p>Here are a few basic rules for effective management:</p> <ul> <li>Monitor mentions</li> <li>Respond quickly</li> <li>Be transparent</li> <li>Prepare for a crisis</li> <li>Address criticism</li> </ul> <p>Let’s look at a few examples of utility brands putting the above into practice.</p> <h3>Hawaiian Electric</h3> <p>Not many electricity suppliers have an Instagram account, let alone use it to effectively communicate with customers, but Hawaiian Electric is different.</p> <p>When a storm hit shores in 2014, it utilised the channel to let customers know about areas of power outage and repairs, as well as reinforce messages about safety. It has since continued to do this, expanding its strategy to incorporate general posts relating to the local community. </p> <p>By using a visual medium like Instagram, the brand is able to project a positive image and reassure customers in the process. </p> <p>After all, while it might be useful to hear that a company is repairing a broken electricity pole, seeing a photo of it in action is far more powerful.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3927/Hawaiin_Electric.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="489"></p> <h3>SSE</h3> <p>Figures from Citizens Advice revealed that SSE received the lowest number of customer service complaints last year, making it the top energy company overall for customer satisfaction.</p> <p>A big contributing factor appears to be the way it handles queries and criticism on social media, with a fast response time and polite tone of voice across the board.</p> <p>This is particularly evident on the brand’s Facebook page, where it ‘typically replies within an hour’. And although complaints are still common, the brand’s approach appears to be effective for calming angry customers. </p> <p>With <a href="http://blogs.forrester.com/kate_leggett/15-03-03-consumer_expectations_for_customer_service_dont_match_what_companies_deliver" target="_blank">77% saying</a> that valuing the customer's time is the most important thing a company can do – a fast response is one of the most effective ways for brands to ensure that they can maintain and improve a positive reputation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3928/SSE_energy.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="469"></p> <h3>PSEG</h3> <p>PSEG – a gas and electric company based in New Jersey – shows that social media can be used for brand reputation management in alternative ways.</p> <p>In 2014, it started planning for an infrastructure upgrade to replace 250 miles of gas line - a project that would result in a lot of upheaval for local residents.</p> <p>Instead of an announcement on its website, PSEG chose to use micro-targeted Facebook ads in order to let people know what was going to happen and how it would affect them.</p> <p>When users clicked on an ad, they were taken to a specific page where they’d be able to select and view a work schedule and relating disruption.</p> <p>By utilising social media in this way, not only did PSEG demonstrate transparency, but it also pre-empted its customers' needs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3929/PSEG.JPG" alt="" width="540" height="716"></p> <h3>Ovo</h3> <p>Brand Q&amp;A’s on Twitter are always risky. A few years ago, British Gas suffered a huge backlash from angry customers over price hikes, leaving the social media team with egg on its face and even more of a negative reputation than before.</p> <p>On the other hand, this type of activity can work well for smaller brands. Ovo is one brand that has utilised an ‘always on’ strategy to monitor brand mentions and successfully draw in new customers, often using Q&amp;As to highlight the shortcomings of competitors. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We came here to have breakfast and help our customers. And we've just finished our toast. <a href="https://t.co/Bcr3QYnRGP">pic.twitter.com/Bcr3QYnRGP</a></p> — OVO Energy (@OVOEnergy) <a href="https://twitter.com/OVOEnergy/status/828513583000592387">February 6, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Despite its overall approach to social media being far more appealing than most utility companies – using a conversational and personal tone – Ovo has not had an entirely positive couple of years.</p> <p>Having failed to compensate customers for missed or late appointments, the company recently agreed to pay £58,000 to charity instead of undertaking formal enforcement action.</p> <p>While the experience has undoubtedly tarnished its reputation, Ovo’s charitable donation and intent to improve customer service is part and parcel of online reputation management in action.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68789-how-smart-switching-energy-apps-are-tapping-into-customer-need/" target="_blank">How smart-switching energy apps are tapping into customer need</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65478-how-20-top-uk-retailers-handle-social-customer-service/"><em>How 20 top UK retailers handle social customer service</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68771 2017-02-06T11:33:00+00:00 2017-02-06T11:33:00+00:00 Q&A with Nescafé's Community Manager: Melody Meacher-Jones Nikki Gilliland <p>I caught up with Melody Meacher-Jones, who is a community manager for Nestle UK, to find out what her job entails and her tips and advice for others.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3629/Melody.jpg" alt="" width="512" height="512"></p> <h3>Econsultancy: Firstly, could you explain what you do?</h3> <p>Melody Meacher-Jones: A community manager’s role is to advocate brands on social networks. Essentially, we create a brand’s persona and seek out opportunities to engage with potential or existing consumers online. </p> <p>On a day-to-day basis, I’m responsible for the look and feel of my brand’s owned social channels (Nescafé and Nescafé Dolce Gusto), generating earned media, and ensuring our community online is being engaged with and to the highest standard.</p> <h3>E: How do you measure success?</h3> <p>MMJ: For me, it’s all about gaining a high engagement rate and generating earned impressions. Whether that’s jumping on a trending topic with a custom-made piece of content or having ‘a bit of banter’ with an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68566-what-are-the-most-effective-channels-for-influencer-marketing/" target="_blank">influencer</a>; success lies in those earned metrics. </p> <p>However, as a community manager I’m also passionate about every person who’s a member of my brands’ communities. Success can also mean converting just one consumer to buy or become an advocate of your brand through a simple tweet.</p> <h3>E: What are the most challenging aspects of your role?</h3> <p>MMJ: Being the first brand to jump onto a trending topic. For me, reactive marketing is an integral part of my role and being a graphic designer too, I’m always searching for opportunities online for my brands to join in. Seeing and creating the content first however, can be challenging. </p> <p>Another challenge is that consumers are expecting higher levels of engagement from brands. Over 50% of people who contact a brand on social media expect a response within an hour and they no longer want a mundane 140-character response. </p> <p>Brands like Innocent Drinks have set a benchmark for community management and customer engagement online that the rest of the industry is having to follow and hopefully exceed. </p> <p>For me, this means every interaction with a consumer has to be flawless and original to win over my communities.</p> <h3>E: Do you see the role changing/evolving in the near future?</h3> <p>MMJ: Absolutely. Community management is still a relatively new role within any marketing team, and as digital is evolving so will community managers’ responsibilities. </p> <p>With the rapid rise of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67536-three-dark-social-channels-with-a-billion-active-users-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">dark social</a>, I’m interested to see how community managers will tackle this as our role relies on what people are saying being public. We can only wait to see how this situation develops. </p> <h3>E: Do you collaborate with wider teams within the company?</h3> <p>MMJ: In my role, I sit in digital marketing and work closely with brand teams and external agencies to ensure our earned strategy is aligned with theirs. </p> <h3>E: What social channels or platforms do you think are most effective for your role and how do you use them?</h3> <p>MMJ: Tough one. They all have pros and cons. It completely depends on where your community lives online. It might be a little ‘old school’ but from a community management perspective I find interacting with consumers on Twitter really effective. </p> <p>It’s completely public (most of the time) and hashtags enable you to gain a wider reach and tap into conversations you couldn’t do on Facebook or Pinterest.</p> <h3>E: What advice would you give to people interested in pursuing community management?</h3> <p>MMJ: 1. DO IT! (It’s really fun) </p> <p>2. If you’re looking to start a career in community management, I’d first search for brands who inspire you on social and see how they engage with their community.</p> <p>Then I’d start putting that into practice by starting a Tumblr blog or an Instagram account with content that you’ve created. From there, I’d just start responding to users when they comment on your posts and start familiarising yourself with social media terms and analytics.</p> <p>On that basis, you’ll have a great case study for when you start applying to roles.</p> <p><em>To find your next role in digital marketing, check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy Jobs Board</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68720 2017-01-23T10:07:44+00:00 2017-01-23T10:07:44+00:00 Six successful examples of online brand communities Nikki Gilliland <p>Unlike areas of social community management (such as a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64674-how-to-market-your-branded-facebook-page/" target="_blank">Facebook page</a> or a Twitter channel) these tend to be the dedicated forums or websites where online communities share and discuss their interests.   </p> <p>So, let’s take a look at some of the best examples.</p> <h3>Lego Ideas</h3> <p>Alongside Lego message boards, Lego Ideas is a creative online community for enthusiasts of the famous toy sets, allowing users to find and submit ideas for new designs. </p> <p>As well as promoting the sharing of ideas, it also incorporates a competition element whereby fans can vote and offer feedback. If a design receives 10,000 votes, it will be considered by Lego to become one of the brand’s official sets, even giving the creator a percentage of the final sales.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Meet this week's 10K Club member, Adrien S., fan designer of the The Little House on the Prairie project. Read more <a href="https://t.co/1c7wzz8OSq">https://t.co/1c7wzz8OSq</a> <a href="https://t.co/bgc5EsGWts">pic.twitter.com/bgc5EsGWts</a></p> — LEGO® Ideas (@LEGOIdeas) <a href="https://twitter.com/LEGOIdeas/status/821009322624905217">January 16, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Championing creativity, this example rewards loyal customers and gives them a reason to truly invest in the brand.</p> <h3>Made Unboxed</h3> <p>Furniture retailer, Made, launched an online community that connects undecided buyers with previous customers. The aim is to allow shoppers to see what Made's products look like in real life, as well as share ideas and inspiration. </p> <p>It is built on the idea that furniture shopping is a typically physical experience, yet not everyone has the ability to visit a showroom.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3164/Made_Unboxed.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="533"></p> <p>By enabling consumers to envision the set-up in a natural setting, it bridges the gap between online and physical stores and gives people a reason to connect.</p> <h3>Figment</h3> <p>Figment already existed before Random House bought it in 2013. Since then, it has continued on in the same vein, predominantly as a community for aspiring writers of YA (young adult) fiction. </p> <p>It acts as a sort of social network for 13-18 year olds, including both discussion elements and the chance for writers to express their own ideas and submit stories.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3165/Figment_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="554"></p> <p>By keeping the original community and using it to subtly promote Random House books (as well as titles from other publishers) – Figment is a great example of a subtly-branded online community, and one that provides real value for consumers.</p> <h3>Playstation Community</h3> <p>The Playstation community has flourished in recent years, boosted by the popularity of the online gaming community in general. </p> <p>It allows gamers to talk to each other in forums, with dedicated channels for different games as well as general topics.</p> <p>There’s also a competitive element in the form of ‘Trophies’ – a rewards system that recognises gaming accomplishments – allowing users to compete with friends online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3166/Playstation_trophies.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="714"></p> <p>Combining gaming elements with discussion and competition, the Playstation community is a great complement to the everyday experience of playing video games.</p> <h3>BeautyTalk</h3> <p>BeautyTalk was created in response to the thousands of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/" target="_blank">online reviews</a> and consumer queries left on Sephora.com.</p> <p>An online community for beauty fans, it is now a thriving forum whereby consumers can share tips, advice and reviews – as well as merely talk to one another about whatever topic they like.</p> <p>One reason it has become so successful is that it is incredibly helpful for answering product-related queries. By simply entering a question or keyword into the search bar, users are likely to be met with multiple existing threads, instantly reinforcing whether or not they should buy a specific product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3167/BeautyTalk.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="650"></p> <p>Building on the need for unbiased opinions in the world of beauty, it has become a thriving community for beauty fanatics as well as a valuable resource for occasional Sephora shoppers.</p> <h3>Harley Owners Group</h3> <p>The Harley Davidson community is more than just an online forum. In fact, the ‘online’ aspect is pretty minimal, merely serving as a way of connecting with fellow riders and letting members know about the group’s perks, meet-ups and events. </p> <p>Unlike the aforementioned examples, membership isn’t free, and you can only join if you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle (or are a family-member or friend of someone that does). </p> <p>From dedicated motorcycle tours to access to the members-only website – there are many benefits to joining HOG. More than anything, it reinforces members' dedication to a particular lifestyle.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3168/HOG.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="412"></p> <p>By building an online community based on the experiences that come from riding one of its bikes - rather than just the actual product itself - Harley Davidson has managed to attract over 1m members worldwide. </p> <p><em><strong>To improve your knowledge, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/" target="_blank">Online Community Management</a> training course.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If you're looking for a new role within community management or social media, you'll find plenty on <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog&amp;utm_medium=blog" target="_blank">Econsultancy's jobs board</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68715 2017-01-19T10:39:00+00:00 2017-01-19T10:39:00+00:00 What does a community manager do and what skills do they need? Nikki Gilliland <p>To clear things up, I thought I’d delve into the world of community management and find out why it’s becoming increasingly important for brands of all kinds.</p> <p>Here’s a beginner’s guide.</p> <h3>What does a community manager do?</h3> <p>The role of a community manager is to act as the bridge between a brand and the community it is aiming to create (i.e. a loyal audience or group of core consumers connected by a similar interest). </p> <p>They should be the brand’s ambassador, engaging with potential customers and building relationships with existing ones. They are also focused on gauging sentiment around the brand, using social listening tools in order to monitor feedback and engagement.   </p> <h3>What’s the difference between a social media manager and a community manager?</h3> <p>Isn’t that just the same as what a social media manager does, you might ask? Apparently not.</p> <p>Though there tends to be overlap between the roles, both interacting with customers on the same platforms, there are marked differences.</p> <p>While a social media manager focuses on the logistics of content creation and distribution – i.e. managing a content calendar, posting on social, and monitoring analytics – a community manager is focused on establishing community guidelines, as well as facilitating and moderating conversation between members. </p> <p>Another way of looking at it is to think about what each might aim to achieve from a post, let’s say on Facebook.</p> <p>A social media manager might post to engage customers in conversation – they’ll measure this by the amount of direct replies or likes. On the other hand, a community manager will post with the aim of getting customers talking to <em>each other</em> – and this will also be measured through qualitative data, such as sentiment and the level or quality of engagement.</p> <h3>Skills and attributes</h3> <p>There are many ways to measure success within community management. You can read about four elements for building a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68694-four-crucial-elements-you-need-to-build-a-valuable-online-community/" target="_blank">valuable community here</a>. However, let’s start with the kind of skills community managers are required to have, as well as why they are vital.</p> <h4>Communication </h4> <p>It might sound like an obvious skill, but there’s a difference between being a good writer and someone who is a skilled communicator.</p> <p>Community management is not just about crafting creative or engaging tweets – it’s also about listening to what members are saying and using this to shape future messages. The role is basically digital networking, so it is vital for a community manager to have excellent people skills, too. </p> <h4>Empathy and judgement</h4> <p>Following on from this, a community manager must be able to empathise with the customer and know how to respond in a manner that reflects the brand's values and identity. Again, this is different to a social media manager or exec who might post as the brand, where as a community manager is always speaking on behalf of the brand - and as a human being.</p> <p>We’ve all seen examples of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65901-the-top-20-fail-iest-social-media-fails-of-2014/">social media fails</a>, with employees posting knee-jerk or inappropriate reactions to customer complaints.</p> <p>On the other hand, when a brand responds well, it can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Take Adidas, for example, which shut down homophobic comments on an Instagram pic using just two emojis. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3148/Adidas_CM.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="372"></p> <h4>Organisation and data analysis</h4> <p>While community management is based on a lot of human and emotional attributes, it also requires organisational skill and the ability to manage a fast-paced workload. </p> <p>With multiple platforms to monitor, it is important to keep on top of how communities are responding in real-time, using analytics tools to measure things like reach, traffic and engagement. </p> <h3>Benefits of community management</h3> <p>So, we know what is required for effective community management – but what are the benefits for brands? </p> <h4>Growth</h4> <p>Community management is not simply about championing the brand, but also about listening to valuable feedback from customers. By gaining a deeper understanding about an audience and what they want, brands have more chance of attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.</p> <p>With social platforms also being the place customers are most likely to express real emotions, it gives brands true insight into how their customers are responding.</p> <h4>Trust </h4> <p>Relationship building is at the core of community management. Unlike the days before social media, where one-to-one contact between a customer and a brand was rare or required speaking on the telephone, it is now an instant and expected part of customer service.</p> <p>Everything from fast response times to a friendly manner means customers will feel valued, and in turn, place trust in a brand.</p> <h4>Value</h4> <p>By creating a community – whether it’s a Facebook group or online discussion forum – brands can impact consumers on a more emotional and everyday level.</p> <p>This allows companies to become more than just a faceless brand and serve a purpose based on something other than its original product. In turn, this can lead to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66439-three-ways-community-management-drives-loyalty-for-charities/" target="_blank">greater loyalty</a> and long-term success.</p> <p><em><strong>To improve your skills and knowledge in this area, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/" target="_blank">Online Community Management</a> training course.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>And if you're looking for a new role within community management or social media, head over to <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog&amp;utm_medium=blog">Econsultancy's jobs board</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68694 2017-01-13T10:36:22+00:00 2017-01-13T10:36:22+00:00 Four crucial elements you need to build a valuable online community Katie Kelly <p>With 41.8m people <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/bulletins/internetaccesshouseholdsandindividuals/2016">online in the UK</a> who spend on average <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/04/more-than-a-third-of-uk-internet-users-have-tried-digital-detox-ofcom">25 hours a week connected</a>, being online forms a large part of our lives. But we crave social relationships and thus individuals turn to online communities to fulfil a basic human need for interaction with others.</p> <p>Building a community is not rocket science but is does require <em>a lot</em> of time, effort and authenticity.</p> <p>There are numerous commercial benefits for businesses who pursue this time intensive strategy; some of the main ones being that consumers who are part of an online community associated with a brand show more loyalty, as well as being a source of valuable market research. </p> <p>Just as you would build a community in the real world, online communities act and react in similar ways. The main difference and difficulty arises when we try to build communities acting on behalf of brands.</p> <p>So, step away from setting up that Facebook group and consider these four things first. And to learn more on this topic, book yourself onto <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-community-management/">Econsultancy’s community management training course</a>.</p> <h3>Four crucial elements for building an online community</h3> <p>No matter where online, whether it’s via email chains or a full-blown purpose-built forum, the following tips should be applied if you want to build a highly-engaged community.</p> <h4>1. The right place at the right time</h4> <p>The term ‘social network fatigue’ was coined a few years back, the idea being that we become fatigued by repetitively signing in, finding and linking with friends and creating profiles. The lack of consistency between networks also means there’s a learning curve for each new network you join.</p> <p>When you’re thinking about starting a new community find out where your future community members already hang out and consider building a community within an existing network – this will help eliminate fatigue and speed up building the community. </p> <p>There’s also the benefit of being a ‘first mover’. Communities are only useful when they’ve grown to a critical mass which means there are enough people visiting, commenting etc. to sustain ongoing interactions.</p> <p>So if there are already a lot of existing communities around the same subject it may be hard to gain traction. </p> <p>Metcalfe’s law of networks states ‘the utility of the network increases by the square of the people connected’. This <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2005.tb00264.x/full">concept of critical mass</a>; ‘the number of people needed to make a communication system or a community useful’ isn’t necessarily just about the number of people as these definitions suggest.</p> <p>Different types of people or amounts of interaction can also be needed to obtain critical mass. For example, a Facebook group with six of your closest friends might be the critical mass required to maintain an ongoing conversation for a few years.</p> <p>Whereas a forum about motherhood may need thousands of members who are all at different stages of parenthood, so there are enough people to discuss a range of topics to make the community useful and engaging. </p> <p><strong>Tip one:</strong> Don’t be afraid to centre the community around a niche interest or attitude, ideally something which isn’t already catered for by established online communities. </p> <p><strong>Tip two:</strong> Recruit your most highly engaged brand advocates and reward them with first entry to your community. Allow them to use it to a point where the community begins to build – then open it up to others so that newbies aren’t coming to an empty group/forum. </p> <h4>2. Moderation </h4> <p>Getting moderation right is so important. Ignore this at your peril.</p> <p>Get it wrong and you’re likely to end up with flame wars, a useless community full of spam and little real engagement. This is a massive topic so I’ll highlight some of the key areas you should consider when starting out.</p> <ul> <li>Setting out from the start with what is and isn’t allowed within the community is a good policy and gives everyone fair warning. Keep it in the same tone of voice and style that you want from your community and make it easily accessible.</li> <li>It’s also good to set out at the beginning how you will deal with people who break this policy. </li> <li>Hire the right people to moderate. Moderation on behalf of a brand is a very tricky and important role and getting the right person can be hard.</li> </ul> <p>People tend to view moderation as policing but this is very far from the whole gig. You’re the person at the party who introduces everyone and connects them with others in the room who have similar interests, keeps the conversation going, brings out the party games if there is a lull, and steps in to calm down situations when everyone’s had a bit too much to drink. </p> <p>Ideally, you’ll need to find someone who is passionate and somewhat knowledgeable about the topic/subculture and your brand, with a good understanding of social media and general internet culture.</p> <p>The nature and disposition of the moderator must be one of openness. Someone who is happy to serve others (you’re not the superstar) and can get on with anyone. Crucially you need someone who won’t post in haste. </p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> A key tip I learnt when moderating is to show you are human as well as acting on behalf of a brand. Admit mistakes (step away from the delete tweet button…), and be careful in the language you choose to use.</p> <p>Asking questions can also be a great way to respond and defuses conflict. Each moderator will have their own style – it a good idea to ask them to provide examples of how they’ve moderated other forums in a range of different situations. </p> <h4>3. Getting engagement </h4> <p>People engage in online communities because they crave social interaction but also for personal reward. Creating mechanisms to recognise and encourage more participation can do wonders.</p> <p>There are many ways in which you can do this. Some of the common ways which you’re likely to see are the use of gamification, e.g. giving points for completing actions and progressing up levels.</p> <p>This can also be the answer to your moderation quandaries with the assistance of a self-moderating community or rewarding those with the role of moderation (this should be carefully considered before you go ahead with this).</p> <p>Rituals and traditions are where communities really come to life. Remember when everyone on Facebook use to comment “first” on a post? Or #FollowFriday on Twitter, the recent ‘post a picture of your desk on your first day’ on LinkedIn, and the old Reddit switcheroo?</p> <p>Each community will develop its own rituals and traditions and it’s these which really bind people together. Often arising out of random situations that occur in the community or driven by popular culture. </p> <p>We all love to be in on the joke and rituals can help build the culture of your community.  </p> <p><strong>Tip:</strong> Create consistency: have a plan as you would for a blog with ideas for discussions so that you can keep a consistent flow of new conversations.  </p> <h4>4. Don’t forget offline</h4> <p>Online communities can exist entirely online but offline shouldn’t be forgotten.</p> <p>Meeting people in real life can have an impact on how strong our bond is with one another and so arranging local meet-ups, especially if you have local businesses to promote, can strengthen your community’s own connections and create new ones, as well as strengthening their love for your brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2959/screenshot__74_-blog-flyer.png" alt="Wool &amp; The Gang Knit Party" width="470" height="264"></p> <h3> </h3> <h3>Wrap up</h3> <p>The above should give you a good starting point when considering building a new community.</p> <p>Don’t rush in. Do your research about what already exists, get the right people to moderate and realise it’s going to take a lot of time and effort, but the rewards for brands can be big. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/1980 2017-01-01T00:00:00+00:00 2017-01-01T00:00:00+00:00 Digital Intelligence Briefings Econsultancy <h3>Download the latest Digital Intelligence Briefing (2017 Digital Trends) <a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends/">here</a>.</h3> <p>Econsultancy's <strong>Digital Intelligence Briefings </strong>look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape.</p> <p>Marketers around the world are surveyed on a regular basis to give an accurate bellwether of trends that matter to marketers. Each year kicks off with a broader view on where marketers are focusing their attention. For the rest of the year, Econsultancy’s Research Team dig into some of the key trends to add depth and insight.</p> <p>These reports will benefit senior marketers with budget and planning responsibility who wish to benchmark themselves against their industry peers. They provide many stats and data points to assist with business cases, presentations and client pitches.</p> <p>The Digital Intelligence Briefings are sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/solutions/digital-marketing.html">Adobe</a>.</p> <p><strong>2017</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends/">2017 Digital Trends</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2016</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2016 Digital Trends" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends/">2016 Digital Trends</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity" href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-pursuit-of-data-driven-maturity/">The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity</a></li> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-taking-advantage-of-the-mobile-opportunity/">Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity</a></li> <li><a title="Digital Intelligence Briefing: Succeeding in the Omnichannel Age" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-succeeding-in-the-omnichannel-age/">Succeeding in the Omnichannel Age</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2015</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2015-digital-trends/">2015 Digital Trends</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Quest for Mobile Excellence" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-quest-for-mobile-excellence">The Quest for Mobile Excellence</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Multichannel Reality" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-multichannel-reality/">The Multichannel Reality</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge/">The CX Challenge</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2014</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2014 Digital Trends" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2014-digital-trends">Digital Trends for 2014</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-finding-the-path-to-mobile-maturity">Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Delivering Digital Experiences" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-delivering-digital-experiences">Delivering Digital Experiences</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-why-marketing-should-be-personal/">Why Marketing Should Be Personal</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2013</strong></p> <ul> <li> <a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-digital-trends-for-2013">Digital Trends for 2013</a> </li> <li> <a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: From Content Management to Customer Experience Management" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-from-content-management-to-customer-experience-management">From Content Management to Customer Experience Management</a> </li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Optimising Paid Media" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-optimising-paid-media">Optimising Paid Media</a></li> <li><a title="Channels in Concert: Trends in Integrated Marketing" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-integrated-marketing">Trends in Integrated Marketing</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2012</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Trends for 2012" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-digital-trends-for-2012/">Digital Trends for 2012</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Personalisation, Trust and Return on Investment" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-personalisation-trust-and-roi">Personalisation, Trust and Return on Investment</a></li> <li><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-managing-and-measuring-social">Managing and Measuring Social</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Making Sense of Marketing Attribution" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-making-sense-of-marketing-attribution">Making Sense of Marketing Attribution</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2011</strong></p> <ul> <li><a title="Digital Trends for 2011" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-q2-2011">Digital Trends for 2011</a></li> <li><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-q3-2011">Impact of Marketing Technology on Business</a></li> <li><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Social Data" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-social-data">Social Data</a></li> </ul> <p><em>All reports are free to download as part of an Econsultancy subscription.</em></p> <h3><strong>More trends analysis from Econsultancy</strong></h3> <p>Enterprise subscribers also have access to <a title="Econsultancy Digital Shift" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-shift">Digital Shift</a>, a quarterly service which curates and interprets the most important developments, trends and innovation. Our aim? To make it simple for you to keep track of the key developments in digital technology and marketing. </p> <h4>Find out more about Econsultancy subscriptions</h4> <p>Email us on <a href="mailto:subscriptions@econsultancy.com">subscriptions@econsultancy.com</a>.</p> <p>Or call your local team:</p> <ul> <li>EMEA: Paul Simmons, +44 (0)20 3199 7118</li> <li>Americas: Alex Nodell, +1 212 971 0631</li> <li>APAC: Jefrey Gomez, +65 6653 1911</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68548 2016-11-22T16:00:00+00:00 2016-11-22T16:00:00+00:00 Novartis launches a social network for heart failure Patricio Robles <p>It partnered with the American Heart Association and actress/singer Queen Latifah to be a part of their <em>Rise Above Heart Failure</em> initiative, which includes events, media outreach and digital content distributed on the American Heart Association's website.</p> <p>And, last month, it supported a panel discussion broadcast <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68403-pharma-company-novartis-taps-facebook-live-event-to-promote-heart-failure-drugs/">through Facebook Live</a> on World Heart Day that featured Queen Latifah and medical doctor Karol E. Watson, a professor of medicine/cardiology and the co-director of the UCLA Program in Preventive Cardiology.</p> <p>Now, Novartis has launched <a href="https://www.togetherinhf.com">a dedicated online social network</a> for heart failure patients and caregivers. <em>Together in HF</em>, which debuted late last month, aims to connect those affected by heart failure, provide heart failure resources and offer content from medical experts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1663/novartissocial.jpg" alt="" width="910" height="430"></p> <p>The social network features dedicated sections for heart failure patients to share their stories and discuss how they live with heart failure. There is also a section for caregivers to interact with each other.</p> <p>Novartis has a team of community managers who oversee the social network, and experts, such as Dr. Bob Hilkert, a cardiologist with Novartis, contribute content.</p> <h3>Facebook isn't always <em>the</em> social network</h3> <p>To launch <em>Together in HF, </em>Novartis teamed up with a number of organizations, including the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses, Association of Black Cardiologists, American College of Cardiology and WomenHeart. </p> <p>While companies frequently create communities on existing social platforms, like Facebook, because they come with built-in audiences that can be tapped, Novartis and its partners decided to launch their own social network. Two of the biggest reasons: privacy and control.</p> <p>Registration on <em>Together in HF</em> is open only to individuals located in the United States, content is private and only available to other members. Healthcare practitioners are not permitted to sign up in their capacity as healthcare practitioners; they can register in the capacity of a patient or caregiver.</p> <p>Novartis has established its own set of community guidelines and allows users to delete their accounts at any time, promising that "all [account] information will be removed from the server."</p> <p>Ensuring privacy, establishing and enforcing its own set of policies and maintaining ownership and control of its data are obviously important to any pharma company operating an online community, and these would have been all but impossible to accomplish had Novartis not built its own social network.</p> <p>While the cost of that is certainly higher – <em>Together in HF</em> was two years in the making<em> </em>– Novartis' effort demonstrates that there are use cases for which dedicated, self-hosted online communities are worthwhile investments, particularly in health and medicine.</p> <p>After all, Entresto is expected to generate $200m per year in revenue for Novartis, so building out its own products to support the heart failure community clearly has the potential to deliver a return if those products are well-crafted.</p> <p><strong><em>More on healthcare:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68411-the-doctor-is-always-in-baidu-to-launch-medical-chatbot/">The doctor is always in: Baidu to launch medical chatbot</a> </li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68346-new-data-shows-why-digital-is-now-critical-to-pharma/%20">New data shows why digital is now critical to pharma</a> </li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68481 2016-11-07T14:09:00+00:00 2016-11-07T14:09:00+00:00 Seven guiding principles for implementing social customer service Kit Smith <p>Consumers are using social for customer service, even where brands are choosing not to engage.</p> <p>In fact, social media interaction has been greeted with trepidation by the majority of brands, with <a href="http://www.conversocial.com/blog/infographic-the-state-of-social-customer-service#.VQxGAWSsXuY">only 26% of staff taking social seriously</a> as a customer service tool.</p> <p>In trying to work out why this is, think about one of the last fundamental shifts in communication brought about by technology: when the telephone became ubiquitous, brands were terrified what would happen when they allowed customers to actually speak to their business. </p> <p>How would companies continue to control the messaging of their brand when thousands of conversations were happening between consumers and junior staff members every day? </p> <p>Generally, the answer came in the form of heavy moderation. Teaching call center staff rigid scripts that could guide them through a variety of common questions seemed to provide the answer. </p> <p>Except, as consumers, we know that it sucked. The experience of waiting on hold, navigating menu systems, and talking to a robot-like representative who stuck to a script was frustrating enough to make anyone give up on the idea of good customer service altogether. </p> <p>The concerns that existed when phones were introduced are being played out again with social media, only this time the stakes are higher. An audience is actively listening, from the other side of a keyboard, tablet or mobile.</p> <p>Despite the risks, social media customer service is an opportunity that should be embraced. Done well, brands can turn a threat into an opportunity. </p> <h3>Why you should embrace social customer care </h3> <h4>It’s cheaper</h4> <p>Forbes reports that social media customer service <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/mckinsey/2015/07/01/social-care-in-the-world-of-now/#41ea4fa72f25">costs around $1 per interaction</a>, up to six times cheaper than phone support. </p> <p>Good social customer care can go beyond providing the same service for less money. Opportunities can come from customers directly asking for advice or recommendations. With social intelligence tools, brands can surface conversations and questions that are not aimed directly at them. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">KLM, market leaders in social customer care</a>, has 150 social media customer service agents, and generates $250m annual revenue by managing new client bookings via social media. </p> <p>As KLM’s social media manager Gert-Wim ter Haar told Venturebeat: “Social is more and more becoming a profit center. It’s first about service, then brand and reputation, but also about commerce…we have to make money.” </p> <h4>It’s happening anyway</h4> <p>According to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/may/21/customer-complaints-social-media-rise">research conducted by the Institute of Customer Service</a>, between January 2014 and May 2015 there was an eightfold increase in customer complaints made on social media. </p> <p>The report states that customer motivation for using social includes convenience, cost, and the desire to make the conversation public. Those brands not embracing the shift not only alienate their customers, but risk damaging their reputation with prospects. </p> <h4>Customers expect it</h4> <p><a href="http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-research/42-percent-of-consumers-complaining-in-social-media-expect-60-minute-response-time/">One survey</a> asked consumers who have attempted to contact a brand’s customer support channel through social media how long they expect to wait for a response.  </p> <p>32% said within 30 minutes. A further 10% expect a response within 60 minutes. The expectation doesn’t stop there: 57% of respondents expect the same service at night or on the weekend.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1036/brand_response_times.jpg" alt="" width="896" height="700"></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats/">Evidence suggests</a> that customer care over live chat drives the highest satisfaction rates, which also attests to this point.</p> <p>If live chat is not possible, well-resourced social teams that can respond quickly can still provide a satisfying encounter.</p> <h4>Not responding can be dangerous</h4> <p><a href="http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2101515">Gartner reports</a> that the dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond can lead to a 15% churn rate for existing customers. </p> <p>The ripple effect of social media is well documented. Angering current customers can also give a negative impression to prospects who are yet to have a first-hand experience with the brand. </p> <h4>Customers become happier</h4> <p><a href="http://www.mckinseyonmarketingandsales.com/sites/default/files/pdf/Higher-satisfaction-at-lower-costs.pdf">McKinsey reports</a> that the move to social can instigate a ‘paradigm shift in customer satisfaction’, and cites a mobile operator that reduced call center volume by 20% in eight months, while lowering costs and increasing its Net Promoter Score. </p> <p>Twitter also reports that companies using the platform for customer service <a href="https://twitter.com/jack/status/705423142970327040">see a 19% lift</a> in customer satisfaction.</p> <p>It’s not hard to understand why: connecting with customers where they already are in a quick, convenient, and human way greatly improves the customer experience. </p> <h3>Implementing social customer service </h3> <p>So how should brands implement social customer service? The threat of a rogue tweet can understandably make stakeholders nervous, but by considering a few key points first, existing teams should be able to transition without too much risk. </p> <p>Early adopters and consumer surveys have highlighted seven key areas that brands should keep in mind when developing their roadmap. </p> <h4>1. Respond quickly </h4> <p>According to an <a href="https://soulofbrands.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/nm-incite-report-the-state-of-social-customer-service-2012.pdf">NM Incite survey</a>, 33% of respondents would recommend a brand that offered a quick but ineffective response.</p> <p>That was nearly double the number who would recommend a brand that offered a slow but effective solution. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1035/brand_recommend.png" alt="" width="893" height="537"></p> <p>KLM understands the importance of this. The header image on its Twitter customer care channel is updated every five minutes with the expected wait time for a representative to answer a complaint.</p> <p>This avoids having customers getting increasingly frustrated while waiting, and adds some transparency to the process. </p> <h4>2. Empower your employees</h4> <p>We may be moving away from scripted telephone conversations, but guidelines are still needed to assist staff.</p> <p>Having well trained, empowered employees that don’t have to stick to a rigid script will allow them to better serve the customer while sounding authentic and staying true to your brand. </p> <p>Brands need to invest in the knowledge of staff, ensuring employees are taught to think for themselves through the lens of the overarching customer strategy. That said, simple problem-solving frameworks should be used to assist staff. </p> <p>The correct tools need to be in place, including streamlined relationship management systems containing customer histories, and social listening and engagement tools to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. </p> <h4>3. Humanize your brand</h4> <p>The age of the customer has increased conversations with brands. The days of broadcasting on mass-media to consumers that had little way of joining the conversation are long behind us. </p> <p>It’s also important to note that through a customer service representative is often one of the few times a customer speaks directly to the brand. This interaction therefore takes on more significance for the customer, as the individual they speak to <em>is</em> the brand in their eyes. </p> <p>Great customer care should be human, personal and empathetic. Many brands are embracing this by having agents append their messages with their name or initials.</p> <p>This small touch is one aspect of a wider shift, with human responses becoming increasingly common – and necessary. </p> <h4>4. Align activity with your audience</h4> <p>Increase efficiency and customer satisfaction by aligning staff hours with customer activity - be approachable, accessible and talk to them when they want to be talked to.</p> <p>An analysis of brand and audience activity in a social intelligence platform can reveal this, both for hours of the day and days of the week. </p> <p>Not having enough staff when your audience are most active will lead to long wait times. Conversely, having too many staff during quieter periods is a waste of resources. </p> <h4>5. Go above and beyond </h4> <p>Going beyond what is expected can create brand advocates and provide some fantastic PR. A humanized brand with empowered employees is able to deliver customer service on a level unexpected by consumers. </p> <p>The examples often cited will have been seen by many: Morton’s Steakhouse delivering a porterhouse steak, Lego replacing a child’s lost toy, or Trader Joe’s delivering to an elderly man in bad weather. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1037/Mortons.jpg" alt="" width="731" height="451"></p> <p>These stories are known because they go far beyond what is expected and spread through social and traditional media, becoming huge PR wins in the process.  </p> <p>However, going beyond what is expected does not have to be as extreme as those examples. Small things matter. Listen, engage, deliver, delight. </p> <h4>6. Use the right channel </h4> <p>The right channel is whichever channel the customer chooses. Sometimes conversations will have to be taken offline or private, but this should only be done where necessary. </p> <p>For one thing, it can look to observers that you are trying to hide negative interactions, but also it is a further inconvenience to your customer, who chances are has already had a negative experience. </p> <h4>7. Be on the lookout</h4> <p>All brands with social customer care teams will be monitoring their own channels, but opportunities exist (and are missed) to engage beyond this. <a href="https://www.brandwatch.com/2015/09/marketing-dark-matter-social-media-and-the-number-96/">Brandwatch research shows</a> that dependent on the industry, up to 96% of brand conversations can happen outside brand-owned channels. </p> <p>Misspellings and untagged mentions will go unanswered without a tool to notify you about them, and while complaints will tend to be directed at the brand, someone having a moan might not. Where appropriate, brands can rectify otherwise missed opportunities.</p> <p>Brands can go beyond putting out fires and listen for opportunities too. While only <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0ahUKEwil04_U0-nPAhWHC8AKHb_LDCYQFggeMAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.census.gov%2Fretail%2Fmrts%2Fwww%2Fdata%2Fpdf%2Fec_current.pdf&amp;usg=AFQjCNGKTxyvuNKsbVVqO1ZiAOhpz0lQrw&amp;sig2=ppfVsW_8mq1wku5whRdwWg">7.5% of US sales</a> come through ecommerce, <a href="http://www.pwc.com/us/en/retail-consumer/publications/us-multichannel-shopping-survey.html">research from PricewaterhouseCoopers</a> shows that around 80% of consumers research products online before purchasing in-store.</p> <p>Often consumers ask the collective brain of social media for advice and recommendations and social intelligence provides the opportunity for brands to join the conversation at the appropriate point. Forward thinking brands can jump into these conversations to not only aid customers but benefit from their efforts. </p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>Implementing social customer service isn’t easy, but that almost gives you more reason to do it now. The majority of brands have not got this right yet, and that increases the opportunity for brands that choose to embrace it.</p> <p>The brands that take advantage of this should embrace social customer carefully. They should do it well, and do it soon.</p> <p>Surprise and delight your customers, and you’ll have a genuine differentiator from your competitors while they play catch up.</p> <p><strong><em>If you're interested in learning more, why not sign up for Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-customer-service/">Social Media Customer Service training course</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68375 2016-10-12T14:00:00+01:00 2016-10-12T14:00:00+01:00 Airbnb: How its customer experience is revolutionising the travel industry Paul Rouke <p>Despite the fact my family have booked our last seven holidays with Airbnb, I still think it is one of the internet’s best kept secrets.</p> <p>Here’s how Airbnb is shaping the future of the travel industry: </p> <h3>It's aspirational</h3> <p>Remember the saying, there is no place like home?</p> <p>The rise in popularity of boutique hotels proved that there was a growing segment of travellers who wanted a more varied choice of accommodation; an experience characterised with personalised touches and the chance to be immersed in the local culture.</p> <p>Essentially, Airbnb is a boutique hotel on steroids.</p> <p>With a homepage headline of “live there”, Airbnb offers the chance to stay in (sorry <em>live in</em>) aspirational, unique homes.</p> <p>The whole idea is that staying with Airbnb is more than just a holiday, you get to experience new places just like the locals do, which appeals to people who don't like to see themselves as normal tourists.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0215/airbnb_homepage.png" alt="" width="700" height="308"></p><p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0217/airbnb_your_home.png" alt="" width="700" height="311"></p> <p>Offering some really unique properties for rent, in some of the world’s most spectacular locations, you'd expect that when you first land on the Airbnb website your emotions will be stirred.  </p> <p>Whether it be excitement, amazement or belonging, Airbnb captures these emotions with carefully chosen imagery and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65499-20-gorgeous-examples-of-websites-with-video-backgrounds/">background videos</a>. </p> <p>Yes, there is the search facility layered on top, but first and foremost it has focused on connecting with visitors on a more personable level than any travel agency website I have been on.</p> <p>I was recently in one of my local travel agents to exchange some money.</p> <p>While scanning over the shelves of brochures, I couldn't help but wonder what the cover of an Airbnb holiday brochure would look like.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9899/brochures-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Brochures " width="470" height="352"></p> <h3>It's built on pure trust</h3> <p>The <em>only</em> part of the whole customer experience that Airbnb has full control over is the website.</p> <p>This means that the brand has to place complete trust and faith in the people from around the world who choose to rent their properties on the platform.</p> <p>It also requires the people renting out their houses to place trust in their guests (who they have never met before), not to mention the trust the holidaymaker or business traveller has to place in their host, with the hope that "what they see online, is what they get."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0218/airbnb_social_proof.png" alt="" width="700" height="326"></p> <p>As expected, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> plays an integral role in building that trust.</p> <p>For people to spend money on their holiday, weekend getaway or business trip with no physical interaction and no “credible travel agent” behind the booking, requires great levels of transparency and confidence.</p> <p>Don’t forget, you are not getting an ATOL protected holiday through Airbnb. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9901/reviews.png" alt="" width="723" height="1076"> </p> <p>As you can see, Airbnb is definitely the best when it comes down to harnessing the power of <strong>genuine</strong> social proof. </p> <h3>It's price sensible </h3> <p>Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point.</p> <p>For all those millions of people with children who have to go on holiday in school holidays, Airbnb is perhaps the biggest secret they are waiting to discover. </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0209/airbnb__prices.png" alt="" width="700" height="349"></p> <p>My family and I have booked our last seven family holidays through Airbnb, genuinely saving hundreds of pounds compared to what we would have paid booking through traditional channels.</p> <h3>It's personable</h3> <p>From the copy used on the website, through to contacting Airbnb, you always receive a very personable experience.</p> <p>Very often when you arrive at your property, hosts will leave a small welcome note or present to welcome you on your arrival.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9904/letter-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Note " width="470" height="352"> </p> <p>You may even get a welcome message on the chalkboard of your new home… </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9905/new-chalk-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Chalkboard note " width="470" height="352"> </p> <p>The biggest success that Airbnb delivers in this area is that 99% of the time you never actually interact in person with another human. <strong>Now that is a special user experience</strong>. </p> <h3>It's innovative</h3> <p>Airbnb isn't standing still. </p> <p>I love how the company is now harnessing its community of hosts around the world to provide unique and memorable experiences for travellers whilst staying at their property.</p> <p>This really helps Airbnb customers to ‘live like a local’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0210/airbnb_innovation.png" alt="" width="700" height="249"> </p> <h3>It's memorable</h3> <p>Whether a flat for a night, a castle for a week or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique and inspirational travel experiences.</p> <p>With property type search filters including Tipi, Earth House and Treehouse, you know you are on to something quite unique.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9907/properties.png" alt="" width="655" height="252"> </p> <p>For all us business travellers, Airbnb also provides us with unique opportunities at competitive prices.</p> <p>In 2015, myself and two colleagues spent five days in central Vancouver staying in a luxury penthouse apartment worth over £2m.</p> <p>The cost to us? £130 per person, per night.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0212/airbnb_apartment.png" alt="" width="700" height="379"> </p> <h3>It's responsive</h3> <p>As a brand, Airbnb can provide lessons in responsiveness to many larger, and more experienced businesses.</p> <p>In my seven family holidays through Airbnb, there was only one occasion where we were let down and when it became clear that we needed Airbnb to resolve our issue with our host, they got on to fixing the issues straight away.</p> <p>Airbnb recognised the opportunity to turn a potential brand detractor into a brand advocate, by simply being responsive and respectful.</p> <p>I, for one, gained increased levels of respect for their brand following this.</p> <p>How many brands are truly responsive and respectful to customers when they have a negative user experience?</p><p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9911/inbox-blog-flyer.png" alt="Messages " width="470" height="836"></p> <h3>It's beautiful</h3> <p>From the brand logo, through to the app the Airbnb design and user experience is quite simply <em>beautiful</em>.</p> <p>I will hold my hands up and say, the Airbnb digital experience played a significant role in a current re-thinking of one of our client’s online experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9910/beautiful-blog-flyer.png" alt="Beautiful " width="470" height="836"> </p> <h3>It's relevant</h3> <p>Small things throughout your stay show you how Airbnb is all about ensuring that customers truly enjoy their experience.</p> <p>For example, when arriving at your destination Airbnb offers helpful directions to your accomodation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/9903/welcome-blog-flyer.png" alt="Welcome " width="470" height="836"> </p> <h3>It's human</h3> <p>In summary, Airbnb is human. Browse around and you see people like you and me who are a part of this unique, growing community. </p> <p>The people who are taking a different path to experience more memorable, unique and personable travel experiences than we have ever had before.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0213/airbnb_belong_anywhere.png" alt="" width="700" height="290"><br> <br><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0214/airbnb_recently_viewed.png" alt="" width="700" height="353"></p> <h3>Conclusion</h3> <p>To me, Airbnb is one of the most inspirational and progressive brands in the world, regardless of industry.</p> <p>This is mainly due to its forward thinking and absolute focus on the customer experience. </p> <p>The question is, will the Airbnb experience become the future of the travel industry?</p> <p>And what can travel agents do to start offering their current customers some of what Airbnb have made central to their overall customer experience? </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64849-could-travel-sites-like-airbnb-be-doing-more-with-their-content/"><em>Could travel sites like Airbnb be doing more with their content?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68225-10-examples-of-great-airbnb-marketing-creative/"><em>10 examples of great Airbnb marketing creative</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/creating-superior-customer-experiences/"><em>Creating Superior Customer Experiences Training Course</em></a></li> </ul>