Social Media World Forum didn’t disappoint this year. Here’s my top tips and moments from the event.
Crowdsourcing – Mojito Toothpase
‘The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas’ – Linus Pauling (1901 – 1994)
The final speaker of any conference has a hard task, delegates are getting sleepy, we’ve had information overload and we’re thinking about getting home. Markus Maurer from Migros was just the man to wake us up. His presentation on how Migros used crowdsourcing was fascinating.
Migros is Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain and they have taken an innovative approach to getting customers involved. They crowdsource ideas for products. The process involves asking people what they would like to see, narrowing down choices, testing and then producing the products. This can be as simple as knowing that their customers want Vanilla Coke to creating a new flavour of Toothpaste – Mojito (no alcohol included) or naming a shower gel ‘Dirty Harry’.
As small businesses there is a lot we can take away from this approach. We may not always be able to create our own products but we can certainly talk to our social media communities and listen to them to find out what they really want us to stock or offer.
Making Content Social By Design
One of the events I was looking forward to the most at SMWF was the presentation by Karlijn Vogel-Meijer from KLM. KLM airlines have certainly been innovative with their approach to social media and Karlijn didn’t let us down.
It was the volcanic ash cloud crisis in 2010 that grounded many airlines in Europe that sparked KLM’s approach to social media. At the time there were only a few people managing Twitter and Facebook. Because of the scale of the ash cloud crisis the company recruited everyone available to help respond to consumers on social media including management. It was this that really sold the power and importance of social media to the company.
The key takeaway for me from Karlijn’s presentation was ‘Making content social by design’. What does this mean? She cited a promotion that the airline ran that gave customers the chance to lower the price of a specific fare by sharing it. Each time the content was shared the flight price would drop by 10c. When the promotion ended they sold the flight for the discounted price seeing a massive boost in bookings.
Similar to the crowdsourcing example above by getting customers to participate in the process they saw a boost in sales. As small businesses we should be looking at creating more innovative content like this, getting customers involved and rewarding them. We might not have the budget for a fancy app but we could manually incentivise sharing in a similar way. It’s going to have a far better effect on our ROI than asking for a share or like.
Don’t Control The Conversation, Participate
One of the breakout sessions I attended was on reputation management. It was an interactive session where we worked in groups to solve a problem.
The session started with an introduction to reputation management from Cedric Cauderlier from Danone. Their first attempt at crisis management had followed a pretty standard format. They had written a response and went out on social channels to share their side of the story. From this they discovered that people can be hostile when you jump into a conversation, their solution was to become active participants on all the social channels that their customers inhabited. It wasn’t just about their own channels they joined and got involved in message boards and Twitter. They no longer tried to just control the conversation but became part of their community.
This is an important lesson to businesses of all sizes. We can become obsessed with creating and pushing out content when in fact conversation is one of the most valuable aspects of social media. Another speaker pointed to Gary Vaynerchuk’s method of spending 10% of his social time creating content and 90% getting involved in conversation.
The group task on reputation management involved us choosing an industry and discussing how they could manage their reputations online. I chose a table at random and ended up sitting in the banking/financial services section. It was fascinating to hear about the challenges affecting this sector. Regulations mean that disclaimers have to be added to almost everything they say and do, limiting the content they can push out. Many had resorted to just sharing information on their CSR. We talked about how they could address these issues and came up with three key points.
1. Transparency – As advising customers and promoting products was out of the question due to regulation we felt it was important to manage customer expectations. Telling people directly what you as a business were and were not able to discuss online would ease customer frustration.
2. Humanise the banks – Banks are huge institutions and they can often seem cold and impersonal. As we start to do less and less banking face to face this problem will get larger. Although I as a consumer probably wouldn’t follow my banking institution on Facebook I would probably follow my local branch. We discussed showcasing the staff, opening branch specific Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to capitalise on this. We felt that by doing this and by sharing customer stories we were able to put a more human face on banking and finance.
3. Educate – Banking can be laced with jargon, we felt that social media gave banks the opportunity to educate and inform their audience.
You Don’t Have To Be Frivolous On Twitter
The first speaker of the day was Bruce Daisley from Twitter. He talked about the tone of voice that brands use on Twitter. It’s commonly thought that a frivolous and fun tone of voice works best but this isn’t always the case. Many brands would find that fun doesn’t fit with their image. Bruce showed us a triangle with a three factors that can effect tone of voice at each point. ‘Fun’ ‘Give info’ and ‘Help’. He believes that a brand can set their tone of voice by choosing two points from this triangle. For example O2 are ‘Fun’ and ‘Help’. Innocent are ‘Fun’ and ‘Give info’. And Samsung Mobile are ‘Give info’ and ‘Help’.
This would be an interesting exercise to do for a small business, particularly if there is more than one person managing your social media accounts. Does it fit your business for you to be fun? Would the other profiles suit you better? By setting your tone of voice you will ensure continuity even when different members of staff are Tweeting.
So they are my highlights from day two. Were you there? What did you enjoy most? What would you add? … oh and did I mention I won a bottle of champagne from Meltwater Buzz?
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Marie Ennis-O'Connor says
Great overview of what you learned Amanda – I enjoyed reading it.
Amanda Webb says
Thanks Marie, it was a great event 🙂
It’s great! But Vanilla Coke was already launched once and it was a failure…