For Social Success: Think As A Media Company

newsA lot of brands know that they need to create conversations with their audience, but don’t know which conversations.

The consumer journey is more fragmented than ever, and multiple topics are influencing the consumer. Relevance is thus key to break through the increasing consumption of content. Brands need to “think as a media company” and improve their editorial skills in order to create shareworthy stories that are valuable for the community members.

 

Create Conversational Touch Points

Thinking as a media means to know what stories your audience wants to take part of.

Define a list of topics or themes that you can create conversations about based on your brands values, beliefs and target group. The purpose of the topics is to drive conversations in a community. Conversational touch points do not necessarily relate to the brand as such, but if the community members are capable of connecting the two, it creates great possibilities for engaging conversations.

As an example, Kronenbourg 1664 uses French culture as one of their conversational touch points. It can be easier for their users to engage about this touch point, than to only talk about the product itself. Talking about the topic creates engagement and strengthens the brand value.

Kronenbourg  K 1664

 

When you have outlined your conversational touch points, then organize it into a conversational calendar along with events such as product launches etc. The calendar helps you to plan your content and it can be used as an overview of topics and future activities to create engagement around.

 

Create a Social Newsroom

Context and timing is everything. Thinking as a media also means being able to predict happenings and trends and being able to create the real-time stories in advance.

Many brands have long content creation procedures; one part where the editorial planning needs to be done according to strategies, another where the content should be produced, and a third where the content should be approved and alternative changed according to feedback. Though, the implementations of real-time content can be lost in these procedures.

Brands and agencies need to track up-coming trends, make room for ad hoc content and being able to spot relevant news connected to their conversational touch points.

In Jonas post about Social Newsroom, you can read which points you have to leverage in order to make the framework happen.

 

 

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.