I was out at Sunday brunch last week and a question struck me: Is brunch really brunch if it’s not a buffet? The answer is no. The point of brunch is that you get to try a little of each thing. You wouldn’t order a full serving of huevos rancheros, a burger and fries and an ice-cream sundae just because it’s on a brunch menu. Without the buffet, you are forced into a type of food rather than having the freedom to sample.
Just as in brunch, your social engagement strategy needs to be a buffet…not a menu. With Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook becoming more popular every day, the more and more brands’ customers are becoming acclimated to engaging in a short, direct manner. As a brand, you need to a have a full buffet of engagement options for users to engage in or they will simply order one thing off your menu.
Here are a few tools to think about when creating your online branded community experience.
1. Contests: An underrated way to spread word of mouth and increase engagement around a particular topic. Set the bar low for a barrier of entry (commenting on a blog or uploading an image) and provide social sharing tools for people to share their entries or let their friends know about the contest.
2. Surveys: Keep them short and simple! ComBlu has seen that when simple surveys are deployed into a community, the number of active members raises 20 to 30%. And think of all the data you can get . Mmmm…data with syrup.
3. Curate: Make it easy and fun to rate or bookmark content on your branded community. This provides an easy way for members to get active and it provides you with a quality rating of the content from your customers.
ComBlu was recently asked to help a client in the technology industry develop an approach for extending its successful U.S.-based feedback community into a variety of international markets. Intrigued by the assignment, we decided to back up and do a little research into how social is currently being used in various regions of the world.
The best source of information I found was a study called “Social Media Around the World 2011,” by InSites Consulting. It was rich in information on the usage, penetration and other trends in social worldwide. I learned a variety of interesting things worth sharing, including:
· Emerging markets like Brazil and India show the highest awareness and penetration of social networks overall. On average, people in these regions join 3.1 and 3.9 social networks, respectively. In the U.S. by comparison, the number is 2.1, while in Europe it is only 1.9.
· More than 400 million people use Facebook daily.
· Twitter? While 80% of folks are aware of Twitter, only 16% of people use it.
· Average time spent per session? For Facebook, it’s 37 minutes. For Twitter, it’s 23.
· Vkontakte (a Facebook look-alike) is big in Eastern Europe and enjoys 55% awareness and 39% penetration.
· People don’t want or need more: 60% surveyed are not interested in joining any new social networks; 93% are happy with what they have.
· Given this last item, it’s likely the big social networks will get bigger and small ones will get smaller.
· Daily login to social media around the world breaks down as follows:
– U.S.: 63%
– Brazil: 76%
– Europe: 60%
– India: 82%
– China: 67%
– Japan: 58%
– Australia: 61%
· Facebook rules, at least in Europe, U.S. and Australia. No other network reaches the 96% awareness and 62% usage level of Facebook.
· Blogging and microblogging are the most popular social media activities in Japan with 31.3 million active bloggers. And, 40% of blogging in Japan is done via mobile.
· Mixi continues to be very popular in Japan, but the country’s adoption of Twitter is growing, with unique visitors increasing in the last year from less than 200,000 to more than 10 million.
Interesting info, but what will prove even more interesting is how this will change over the coming months and years. We will all have a global eye out, as it will certainly change our perspective and approach going forward!
Yesterday I was talking with a new client about our firm’s social listening program. Before I could begin explaining our approach, she stopped me and said, “I can’t take any more charts and graphics or 50- page reports!” I told her I couldn’t agree more.
Listening has become a powerful tool that can help you identify where conversations are taking place, what topics are hot and who are the most influential voices. But if all you get from this are pretty Powerpoint charts, you are wasting your time.
Over the last six years, I’ve changed from seeing social listening as being a bit of a curiosity to recognizing that it’s something I can’t image working without. I have to admit that in the early days I was more than satisfied when listening offered little more than word clouds of the hottest topics. But my colleagues and I soon came to realize that social listening results need to deliver the same value as any other strategic tool. That’s when we began to challenge ourselves to reach beyond what the tool can deliver – and to look at what value WE deliver.
It has been a bumpy road. Forcing logic on an automated tool works that way. But we have come around to finding a way to use social listening as an important data point that helps us understand the complete picture. But even that’s not enough. We are constantly pushing ourselves by asking: What does this mean? How does this impact the strategy? What are the business and communications implications? These hard questions have led to some terrific results. Our listening reports are better, stronger and more actionable. And we know we are on the right track because our client’s have told us how much they appreciate these insights.
But we are not done. Starting tomorrow, we are taking the whole thing apart – again – to figure out how we can add more analysis and deliver more value. Crazy? Maybe a little – but we are excited about the possibilities. I’ll let you know how it goes – and if you have any tips, insights or suggestions, be sure to share!
What’s Your One Thing? That was the headline that greeted us as we checked my son in for shoulder surgery at a suburban Chicago hospital recently. The whole concept centered on prompting patients (and their families) to share with the staff that one request that would kick off their experience on the right foot. And it worked. I was positively predisposed to expect a quality patient-centered experience, simply by asking what mattered to me at the start.
For the most part, it was a good experience. Most importantly, my son’s surgeon, anesthesiologists and nurses got high marks. (Isn’t that really the ONE THING we all want in this situation? Great medical care.) Like most surgeons, though, our doc operates at a number of highly regarded area hospitals so the marketer in me wondered, what about the other touch points that could distinguish this facility? Honestly, those produced mixed results. But maybe because of the solid start and positive outcome, I was still inclined to give the hospital the benefit of the doubt. I believed they had great intentions of delivering on their brand promise.
A week or so later, a HealthWorks Collective webinar on the impact of social media for healthcare providers in supporting patient engagement, inspired me to take a little closer look at the hospital behind the ‘one thing’ challenge. My intent was to write a blog on customer experience and feature this program as a great, if somewhat unexpected, healthcare example.
The hospital’s website looked like the most promising and informative social asset for background. As my colleague Kathy Baughman posted recently, ‘the great hope is that what people learn online will increase the quality and the level of how we engage’ offline. It didn’t quite play out that way.
While there was no mention of the program, even in the Patient pages, the “Contact Us” tab offered up lots of phone numbers as a starting point. Given my focus, PR was the logical place to begin, after all, generating positive coverage (traditional or social) is their charter. Unfortunately, the PR number listed was disconnected. Tried the main number and listened to a long automated message to no avail. Not an auspicious beginning.
Next stop: Patient Experience – potentially the program owners, surely they had influence on the start of my journey with the hospital. I got an automated message – at three different times during working hours. (I’m not entirely convinced that anyone really works there.) Ok, now my confidence is starting to waiver.
Last stop, Marketing. It’s a campaign so maybe this team had a hand in implementing it or even conceiving it. Imagine my relief when a human picked up the phone! I explained my reason for calling: Recent patient. Loved the ‘one thing’ concept. Writing a blog. Couldn’t reach PR or Patient Experience. On deadline. Who can I talk to about this for a little context? Just need 5-10 minutes, tops!
The answer is, apparently, no one. The Marketing person had no idea what I was talking about or who I should speak to about it. She’d “get back to me.” Now, any one of those snippets of info I provided upfront should have motivated her to at least try to make good on that. I could be an AP reporter or a power Mommy blogger for all she knew – or cared, judging from her tone and desire to get me off the phone after taking down my number. At a minimum, give me the ‘right’ PR number or even toss the ball up to a colleague who has a chance to salvage this one. Nope. I felt like Tom Brady on Sunday, watching the Hail Mary pass hit the ground. Ok, that’s a stretch — but it was frustrating at best!
My One (More) Thing
My experience with this brand started off on a high note but, rather than move me up the curve from ‘good’ to ‘great’ (like the program intended), my online/offline experience took an unexpected turn back. In the process, it reinforced some Social 101 rules:
And my one more thing, live your brand promise like you really mean it.