The Social Newsroom – How To Make It Happen

spokes-179x179-01“Companies and brands are becoming media outlets”, by now that statement is a few years old, but what does it mean, and how do you best leverage this way of thinking for a company or a brand?

In the last two years, we have been working closely with some global brands and industry experts to create our framework in order to incorporate “think as a media”. We call it “The Social Newsroom”.
First let’s look at why the social newsroom is important.

The consumer journey is more fragmented than ever, and multiple touch points are influencing the consumer. Relevance is thus key to break through the increasing consumption of content.

The following key points are some of the ingredients you need to leverage. They are in no particular order:


News

Context and timing is everything. The key is to catch the specific news that people talk about when standing by the digital water cooler that is the Facebook news feed. Is it the Harlem shake, sky diving from outer space or maybe something very local as misplaced horse meat in food (Europe)? Just remember – the conversational topics must be in context with your brand. If there is no relevance between the topic and your brand, you will loose the potential – it will just be corporate bull****.

 

Social behavior

Back to basic – social is per default in our DNA, think human behavior, and think social at heart. Some of the best content and some of the best digital social experiences are not groundbreaking inventions. They speak to the simplest things inside us – we are social beings.


Objectives and goals

Have clear objectives and goals for your newsroom. Strive to focus these objectives towards the core objectives for the company – e.g. sell more products, increase loyalty etc. The number of fans and engagement are not business objectives; they can merely be tools to leverage business objectives.


Organize

In order to fully leverage the potential of the newsroom within the organization you will need a “Hub and Spoke” structure. Most successful companies have implemented this structure and it’s key that all spokes understand to feed into the editorial planning of a company’s social channels.

Your system needs to be agile to fit a world that moves fast and at the same time be automated and effective. You need workflows and systems that can enhance the collaboration with both internal and external partners.


Actionable Data

Data is not just for measurement – some of the global brands at the forefront of actionable data have systems that recommend what content should be presented to the community, at what time, and in what context. Systems that are based on data can guide the editorial team to curate better content and increase the success.


Platform

You need to deeply understand the functionalities of the different social platforms. They work on different premises and a ‘one-size fits all’ approach – will not work! Your platform managers need to be highly adaptable for change, did someone say, “Facebook is changing something again…”


Creative skills

If you really want to stand out, you need to understand that a Community Manager by default might not be the greatest Designer or Copywriter even though they have a basic Photoshop knowledge. You should have a Content Team of content strategists and content creators – all with excellent creative skills within art direction, design, and copywriting.


Localization

Localization is pointed out to be one of the biggest trends in 2013. The recent emergence of Facebook’s “Nearby” feature and the new structure of Global Pages proves that Facebook tries to make more brands consider adapting their social media strategies’ focus from a global to a local markets perspective.

Global Pages make it possible to create one global brand identity on a single page with customized local targeting, focusing on the value of local content. For international brands and companies tactics should include local community management, in order to engage local markets with authenticity and thereby create business revenue.


Performance measurement

You need to measure the performance of your content and conversations across channels on a daily basis. As a media company, the performance and trends of your efforts will show you the focus and direction that your social newsroom needs on a given day.

Create a simple performance dashboard based on different internal users focus. Your Executive Management Team needs to see performance in order to keep funding your efforts.

 

Please don’t hesitate to submit your thoughts or learning’s on leveraging the social newsroom.

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.