Social Media Marketers: Time to Get Personal

 

On our blog, we have written about the journey of making the extensive amounts of Big Data reveal as well as increase the social ROI. This is of course paramount to making the wheels of the bus go round. But another thing that is just as essential to becoming a profitable social media success, is to understand the basic ground rules of partaking in social media: the users.

Last week, in our “tip of the week” on our Facebook page, we urged brands to remember two essential things about communicating on social media channels:

Today, I will take a closer look on our own advice, in order to fully explain and explore the necessity of understanding the platforms on which you are communicating. Even though you’ve managed to put social media into your budget, you have not necessarily secured your brand’s social success. Obviously. It takes a thorough knowledge of your target group as well as your own brand identity to create a trustworthy social brand identity.

Time to get personal
At Mindjumpers, we spent a lot of time on constantly optimising and developing our own take on community management. In the centre of any good community management approach is of course the identity of the brand. As last week’s tip suggested, for an identity to work on social media, you have to remember one crucial fact about social media: it’s personal. Most social networks started as a space for people to connect with other people in private.

Though brands have entered these private forums, the networks are still a place where you have a private profile. It is a window into your most personal and private moments, and a place where you spent your private time. Bearing this in mind, as a brand you will have to speak to the users from a persona they will find relevant and trustworthy, if you want them to listen.  You have to create a special bond between your brand and the personal lives of your target group. As Ted Rubin wrote yesterday, “…like building a strong relationship with your kids, the benefits of building relationships with customers will have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact. “ Point being, that showing personal qualities in an engaging brand persona will make your target group listen over time, once you have proven your worth. And once they listen – so will their friends and this is when social ROI becomes attainable.

Personality creates loyalty
Understanding this corner stone of all social networks will hopefully help you overcome angry fans. Ted Rubin’s point is that even though your target group is not always willing to listen to your message, they will grow a sense of belonging and loyalty towards your brand over time, if your community management plays by the rules of engagement. Yesterday, FastCompany shared some of the best social media advice from their readers. Submitted by social media super users, these comments hit the head on the nail:

 

 

 

Brand ambassadors will guard your social reputation

These loyal fans become brand ambassadors who will protect and defend your brand when the brand is criticised by others. The service industry is a good example of both good community management (= brand loyalty) and the opposite. Airline companies and telephone companies are especially targets of a constant, daily stream of negative comments:

In the two examples above, the brands found support in brand ambassadors. To take a recent example of a different kind of brand loyalty, we look to the Facebook page of hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj. The last few weeks it has seen a massive storm of extremely negative comments towards her from the Muslim community due to the lyrics of one of her old songs, Beam Me Up Scotty. Most comments reflect the sentiment of this message:

Though the page has a new hate post every minute these days, the “Posts by Page” tells a story of loyal fans showing support:

Yes, there are more than 2,000 comments that are predominantly hateful. But the post has close to 30,000 likes. The voices of the loyal fans might be drowning in the mayhem of haters, but they have found a way to show their support and loyalty by pressing “like”. Being successful on social media means having a brand persona that talks directly and not down to your fans in an engaging and relevant tone of voice. This will ensure you a base of loyal fans that will even act as brand ambassadors on your behalf.

If interested in reading about crisis management, please read our latest series on the matter.

 

Has your brand considered the importance of a personal factor when being on social networks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.