The Importance of Matching Your Global Brand with a Local Community Manager

The following post is part of the Mindjumpers Network series and written by Brand Care Manager, Marlene Friis. Mindjumpers Network is a global platform of local country Community Managers, enabling international companies to execute and maintain brand communities in a structured, quality assured and cost effective way across markets with the aim of creating effect and value.

The Importance of Matching Your Global Brand with a Local Community ManagerBeing a global brand wanting to practice local community management, might seem like quite an unmanageable challenge. And it is most certainly not a job that is to be randomly put into the hands of just anybody! An increasing number of agencies are now offering global social media services to their clients, e.g. managing multiple Facebook communities across several markets for global brands. But having multilingual employees in your office, does not solve this task in the most optimal way. Managing a community is not just about getting the language right: It’s about capturing that uniquely local feeling, culture and context, which only a native Community Manager positioned in the local market is able to do.

 

Having a Community Manager present in the specific market not only enhances your chances for building closer relationships with potential consumers. It also secures that your online communication strategy is in alignment with the way your brand/product is actually perceived in the local market. Several factors are playing a role at this point, such as the language, the culture and the tracking of real-time happenings. In addition, the Local Community Manager needs to feel passionated about and love the brand, thereby also functioning as a brand ambassador.

 

Making a match!

Through Mindjumpers Network, we see the first step in helping a brand activate locally as finding the perfect Local Community Manager. It is about matching the brand with the candidate that is considered the most suitable one of all. It should not only be a candidate holding the right educational background or working experience. It should also be a candidate positioned in the given market in which the brand is aiming to execute locally. A candidate of the right gender and the right age who is able to understand what you are offering your customers in that particular market.

 

Let’s take an example: If you are aiming to do local community management for your young, hip brand, mainly directed to women, it does not make much sense hiring an older, male Community Manager, not able to relate to the brand identity by “living the brand”. The age, gender and personal characteristics all have an impact in order for the candidate to manage the fine balance of speaking on behalf of the brand while also taking the consumer perspective into consideration. A Brand Manager needs to feel confident that the Community Manager understands how to use the right tone-of-voice, ensuring that the brand message is well communicated and properly interpreted by the local community. The Community Manager carries part of the responsibility on how the brand/product is represented, which further emphasizes the importance of making a perfect match!

 

Local Community Management: Matching your Brand with a Local Community Manager

 

Improving further through on-going training

To continuously securing that the Local Community Manager is up-to-date with new developments within social media (especially the Facebook platform) and brand related news, we see on-going knowledge sharing as another valuable step through Mindjumpers Network.

 

By having an online platform, it is ensured that the Local Community Managers constantly develop and improve their knowledge on how to manage a community, as well as management of their communities can continuously be adjusted according to previous learnings and performance measures for the brand in the local market. In this way, a strong connection between the brand and the Local Community Manager is maintained. Furthermore, the Local Community Manager feels even more as part of the brand, which is a valuable element for a person already loving and “living the brand”.

 

Read more about Mindjumpers Network here.

 

How would you execute a local community management strategy for a global brand?

 

 

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.