Add Some LOL to Your Social Customer Care

Every social media manager knows that feeling when it seems the best solution to a customer complaint is to take a coffee break and forget about the issue. Unfortunately for those who prefer to keep their jobs, this is not an option. Many brands are still not exactly sure how to train their staff to handle crises, and so a new fad has emerged in social customer care: humor.

For the brands that actually do have a crisis-aversion plan, humor can be an asset. For the rest, it’s a risk that toes the line between witty and distasteful. In the examples below you can see how some clever social media managers defused a high-pressure conversation with a quick sweep of humor.

Domino’s Pizza delivers for a pop-star in distress

miley

Tesco Mobile gives relationship advice to Jay

tesco

Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza duke it out over Phil

cheating

Not sure if being funny is for your brand? Think back to the guidelines of Socially Devoted:

1.) Create an open line of communication with fans

The whole point of having a social presence is to communicate. If your content evokes some affinity (aka entertaining, up to date, etc.) from your followers, they are more likely to engage by commenting, liking, and sharing. People enjoy not just efficient customer service, but something with a bit more oompf. If your brand’s voice allows for a little fun, why not have some?

2.) Respond to questions more than 65% of the time

Nobody likes being ignored. If you’re losing too much time trying to be funny with every single query that comes to you, you’re sliding right off the Socially Devoted charts. The amount of questions received is constantly increasing, and more demand from users places a premium on your team’s ability to reply to as many questions from your community as possible. If being funny is getting in the way, consider cutting down on the jokes and amping up on the support responders.

Is your brand Socially Devoted? Check here in our Socially Devoted app.

3.) Respond in a timely fashion

Just like in standup comedy, if you lose your rhythm you lose your audience. If you’re going to have some fun with your social customer care, make sure to stay consistent. A joke just isn’t funny after 8 hours of no response. In fact, after that much time your client is likely to build up an anxiety about your brand that you surely do not need. In recent articles we’ve pointed out the skyrocketing need for faster response time in social customer care. If you’re still taking 24 hours to respond to a question, you’re behind. See more here.

If you’re able to keep up with these guidelines AND stay tastefully humorous, then by all means go ahead. Just don’t forget to make sure your social media experts are up to date with what’s current in the news and pop culture. You wouldn’t want to stumble into anything catastrophic like the Kenneth Cole #Cairo hashtag.


This story first ran on SocialBakers.com

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Socially Devoted Preview: Top 10 Airlines on Twitter

Among some early returns from our Socially Devoted initiative for Q1 2014 is the information on which Airline brands have the best difference between Answered and Unanswered Questions on Twitter.

In this Twitter-specific category American Airlines leads the way with over 9,000 questions answered. Interestingly, US Airways comes in at fourth, proving that despite their major social media miscue on April 14th, they are generally very responsive on social media and can be counted on for consistent social support. The general trend common to these 10 airlines is that they are answering more questions than the top 10 airlines did last quarter, which we applaud!

For the rest of our Socially Devoted findings, keep posted to this blog.


Written by Phillip Ross, Social Media Analyst. SocialBakers is where this story originally appeared.

Different ways men and women use social media and mobile

Social media and mobile use give us a treasure hoard of insights about our general habits as a community, so it’s only inevitable that we find numerous surveys about the two platforms based on one of the most popular categories: gender difference.

These converging platforms are considered to be one of the biggest disruptive trends, as trivial as changing society’s shopping habits and critical as changing government through popular revolutions. And as in real life, men and women differ in using social media and their mobile devices.

We’re already familiar with the disparity in words used by both sexes. We have a comprehensive collation of words used by men and women in their social networks, which, interestingly, showcases the f-word as one of the favorites in men’s comments and posts. Likewise, we’ve shown before in our previous infographic how women dominate men in social media.

Apparently, the gender difference revolves around three distinct areas: our personal and professional relationships, the need for information and entertainment, and consumer behavior. On that note, this infographic is takes a broader look at how men and women differ. There are distinct variances. For instance, men are more likely to use social media for business and dating, while women for relationships, sharing, entertainment, and self-help.

Surprisingly, women ignore paid advertising more often than men. This makes sense because women are more conscious of their social circle and ads are intrusive strangers. Moreover, women seem to use their smartphones in more ways than men. Here’s a mini-shocker: women play games on smartphones ten per cent more often than men. In fact, women dominate men in almost all the top smartphone activities such as, visiting websites, downloading apps (surprise!), messaging, texting, and camera use.


By Alex Hillsberg and David Adelman. Visit realbusiness.co.uk where a version of this excerpt originally appeared.

Hashtags Increasingly Popular on Facebook

source: http://bit.ly/PIXAoD

After searching through another round of hashtag data, Socialbakers has found that posting with hashtags on Facebook has become an increasingly popular thing to do. Meanwhile, tweets use hashtags about as often as they did this time last year, and Instagram is the only network where a significant percentage of posts use more than 2 hashtags.

Hashtags become more popular on Facebook, data shows

At Socialbakers, we’ve always been curious about hashtags. They make content easy to find, join larger conversations, and allow for audience participation. They’re the interactive tagline, except in the world of social communication you can find out whenever someone makes a joke that ends in “Where’s the beef?” After hearing feedback from our earlier hashtag articles, we wanted to see how we could clarify the topic some.

By examining 12,509 Facebook profiles and 865 Twitter profiles in February 2013 and February 2014, we found that brands on Facebook have expanded their use of hashtags exponentially. Brands’ Twitter profiles, however, are using hashtags at about the same rate they did last year.

This reveals several probable conclusions. First of all, Twitter marketers have had more experience using hashtags on that platform. That there haven’t been major changes in the numbers like on Facebook means that brands on Twitter have figured out the best way to use hashtags over time, and on Twitter’s end, that this aspect of their service is, for now, static.

Facebook Posts

On Facebook though, the difference is stark. There was a 525% increase in the share of all posts to include hashtagged content.
Facebook only integrated hashtags shortly before our first data sampling was collected, so this illustrates how much the concept has caught on. Keep in mind, though, that this refers to relative numbers – shares of a total number of posts, independent of the number of brands sampled – so the number of hashtagged posts on Twitter could still outstrip the number of hashtagged posts on Facebook.

This means that a concept developed by Twitter, specifically made for a micro-blogging platform reliant on content more so than networking, has been imported with immense success by its rival platform, which is more about networking than content. It is interesting to note that some habits traveled with the hashtag in the move, namely that the number of hashtags per post has held somewhat constant between the two networks.

How many Hashtags?

In previous posts, we made some claims that argued for, let’s call it, ‘hashtagging in moderation,’ both generally and for specific networks. This originally referred to Instagram, which our new data has offered another light on. Instagram, it turns out, is the only one of the three networks with a diverse spread of numbers of hashtags per post.

Instagram

A thin majority of hashtagged posts use only 1–2 tags, and 10% use 10 or more. This strongly contrasts with Twitter and Facebook’s pat­terns. This is likely due in part to the difference between the networks’ posting formats.

TwitterFacebookTwitter’s numbers make the most sense – when you only get 140 characters to play with, every one is at a premium. Having more than 2 hashtags means less space in your tweet for content, @ tags, and links.

But on Facebook, the number of hashtags used per hashtagged post doesn’t quite fit with that logic, since the posting limit is longer than Twitter’s.

Interactions per Hashtag on Instagram and Twitter

While all of this information is good to know, and shows just how far Facebook users have come in integrating the hashtag into that network, it doesn’t say anything about how effective this increase has been.

To try and answer that question, we also gathered data about the number of interactions all the posts issued by these brands gathered during February 2014. Our data showed that on Instagram, posts with 1–2 hashtags received the most interactions, and posts with no hashtags received the next most. On Twitter, posts with 3–4 hashtags received the most interactions, followed by posts with 1–2 hashtags, and none, respectively. But just like we cautioned in our first Instagram report, when posts with no hashtags seemed to perform better than posts with 10 or more, these numbers do not necessarily mean that hashtags decrease engagement over time. Some reasons for this discrepancy are:

  • Post Quality: Some posts are just better made than others.
  • Posting Time: A hashtagged post released at the worst time will likely do worse than a non-hashtagged post released at the best time.
  • Post Type: Image and Video posts tend to get more interactions than text-only posts, hashtags or otherwise.
  • Poster’s History: Maybe the poster needs to drastically raise their Engagement Rate, and so is going on a ‘hail mary’ hashtag frenzy.

You get the point. Based on all we know, hashtags are not only becoming more popular with brand pages on Facebook, and remaining popular on Twitter – there’s probably a good reason why.

About the author

Phillip Ross, Social Media Analyst. Socialbakers.com where a version of this excerpt originally appeared. 

5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Social Media Strategy

source: http://bit.ly/1gFUqaR

We’ve all seen lists for things you need to be doing on social media – engage, listen, communicate, etc., right? Well I don’t know about you, but we are usually fed up by the vague information in such posts. How can you take action to begin “engaging?” What do you do before you engage?

At Social Fulcrum, we have a process for coming up with the social media campaigns that drive our clients wild. Instead of telling you to communicate or to listen, we want to give you some actionable tips you can use to jumpstart your social media strategy – TODAY.

1. Do Your Research
Look for communities, influencers, and discussions that relate to your brand, products, competitors, and industry. Look into how you could potentially target key audiences through different media. Don’t just limit yourself to Facebook pages/groups and Twitter users. Look into bloggers in your industry (or outside your industry) that have an audience you want to reach. Look at relevant Meetup groups locally and nationally. Find discussions in online forums. If you are a small company, find discussions about your industry. If you are a larger brand, we recommend using a social media measurement tool to assess the online landscape of your brand mentions to help formulate your strategy. These are all potential areas to generate content, seed content, find ambassadors, and get online placements. But you can only reap these benefits if you know where and if these communities exist!

2. Build Relationships First
When I was creating the strategy for a national food association’s social media marketing campaign, we knew we would want to promote their Facebook page, Twitter account, and video contest through influential bloggers in the cooking, foodie, and mom verticals. Instead of simply reaching out to those bloggers and asking them to promote our properties, we made sure to first build our relationship with these influencers. Our first communication to these bloggers was to offer promoting THEIR content to OUR audiences. We wanted to show that we were keeping in mind their goals (increasing readership), and not simply self-interested. We nurtured these relationships for months before letting them know that we had a contest that we were promoting. At that point, they had received so much benefit from the relationship that every single blogger was happy to promote our contest. And the association still has those relationships to this day!

3. Leverage Twitter Targeting Options
Too often businesses will create a Twitter account and then not know what to do with it. Once your profile is set up, you can use the following strategies to find your opportunities on Twitter:

  1. Search for accounts that have followers who are in your target audience. For example, if you are a local pizza chain, all you need to do is find another local business with a decent amount of followers, and follow all the followers of that account (gradually, not all at once). You can safely assume that a vast majority of the people following a local business in your area are located in that local area. Not a local business? Try trade publications, competitors, or thought leaders.
  2. Search for people tweeting about a need that your product/service alleviates. For example, in our campaign for the national food association we mentioned above, we found that people on Twitter were commonly complaining about a lack of ideas for what to eat. Armed with an online database of 700+ recipes, we reached out to these people and found out what type of food they liked, and sent them an appropriate recipe. This gained awareness for our client’s website, Twitter account, and recipe database, and also built goodwill with our audience (which we later leveraged to promote a video contest).
  3. Use the advanced search on Twitter to search bio information. This is especially useful for B2B companies looking to increase their social impact. People will typically list their job title in their bio (e.g. CMO, COO, CEO, Executive Director, Partner), allowing you to target the specific decision makers with whom you are trying to communicate.

4. Explore & Leverage Facebook Advertising
There are few businesses that can’t benefit from the precise, unique targeting available through Facebook’s advertising platform. Even B2B companies can find value in Facebook ads if you can get creative with the parameters. For example, Social Fulcrum used Facebook ads to grow our own Facebook page by targeting users who are over 40 years old and who “like” the Harvard Business Review, because this audience includes senior-level decision makers at mid to large size corporations. Facebook Advertising can be an effective method for driving traffic to a website, as well as for increasing the size of your Facebook fan base, for just a few dollars per day. The key is finding the right targeting parameters, which might include users who “like” a competitor, users who “like” something your target audience probably likes, or even users who have a birthday within the next week.

5. Create a Content Calendar
There’s nothing worse than a Facebook page or Twitter account that’s filled entirely with self-promoting updates. It’s not always easy to come up with awesome, engaging content every day, but tweeting another link to your website is not the answer. That’s why it helps to create a weekly or monthly content calendar in advance to help you think strategically about what to post and when, being sure to schedule promotional updates at a maximum of one time per week. Your social media channels are not a constantly updating advertisement for your business. If you aren’t sharing interesting content, asking questions, and making your fans and followers feel valued, they’ll soon wonder why they’re connected to your account in the first place.

These specific tips can help any business better utilize social media to achieve organizational objectives. Though only the beginning steps to a stellar social media campaign, these tips allow for architecting a social media strategy that leverages brand assets and social media tools to get your brand in front of the right people and ultimately, grow your business.


Andrew Krebs-Smith, Founder of Social Fulcrum, has managed social media campaigns for accounts including Pfizer, Ocean City MD, The National Aquarium, and Strayer University. Andrew regularly speaks at the university level regarding social media marketing, and has held the position of Social Media Co-Chair at the American Advertising Federation, Baltimore Chapter. Connect with Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn. The first version of this story appeared on http://bit.ly/1kl93so Visit PR.com

The Social C-Suite. Let’s get real.

mrburns

Sometimes the hype of social media outstrips common sense. This is one of those times.

There seems to be a growing amount of buzz and attention about creating a “social enterprise.” This is a good thing. Complicated, but good.

But somehow in this same conversation there is this expectation that the CEO, CMO, and other executives should blog and tweet. This was the topic of a lively debate with some friends at SXSW recently and it was heated enough that I thought that perhaps this is an issue for some readers too.

Should your CEO tweet? Probably not.

There are many benefits to executive engagement on the web. It puts a human face on your company, reinforces a brand image and creates an influential voice of authority within an industry. In a time of crisis, communicating through an already-established channel can be an advantage. Having an enthusiastic executive authentically embrace the social web can be a great advantage for a company.

But the fact of the matter is, most executives don’t post, blog or tweet and they shouldn’t have to. If an executive is not interested in enabling the benefits above and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Twitter, I would be perfectly fine with that.

My friend Jay Baer once said that if you don’t love social media, you will suck at social media. Why make people do something they don’t want to do? The risk of embarrassment, awkwardness, or abandonment of the account might outweigh the possible benefits.

Is this how they should be spending their time?

Have you ever spent time with a CEO of a major company? The pressure and demands on their time are overwhelming. Is paying attention to a social media account and responding to tweets really the best way to spend their time? Can they justify that to a board of directors?

In my mind, it’s kind of like asking the CEO to write the company newsletter. Let paid professionals handle the demands of social media … unless those individuals are passionate about being involved.

So here is my advice on C-Suite Social:

  1. If they get it, embrace it, and love it … help them to turn this into a true marketing asset.
  2. If they are resistant to it, leave it alone. C-Suite social does not have to be a marketing priority.

What has your experience been? I’ll bet there are some great stories out there for the comment section!

The first version of this story appeared on http://bit.ly/1hkLYnB by @markwschaefer. Mark Schaefer is a chieftain of the blog {grow} and social media bouncer. A consultant, educator, podcaster, author of Return On Influence, Born to Blog, and The Tao of Twitter. Visit businessesGROW.com

Why Brands Need to Monitor Social Media 24/7

source: http://bit.ly/1sqjdt1

For brands, a social media presence is a necessity these days. From providing services to selling merchandise to connecting customers across platforms, social media has become an indispensable part of the modern business landscape. For customers, this also means that brands seem available to answer urgent demands or questions at all times.

In dealing with a never-ending stream of incoming messages from social feeds across various platforms, a social manager has to ask, “At what point in the day can I log off? Can we afford to have a customer care team that ever goes offline?”

The easy answer is, “no.” But realistically, limited resources make things less simple than that. Here are three factors to weigh when thinking about handling a 24/7 social media feed:

1. The Customer

Businesses dealing with the general public get customer inquiries at all hours, including outside of the traditional working day. Whenever the customer chooses to interact, that time becomes a working hour; the community manager needs someone to be there with them. If a business operates internationally? Forget about “normal business hours” – it’s always 9 to 5 somewhere.

The chart below illustrates the average activity of social media users for each day of the week and time of day. Notice the importance of evenings.

Not sure who, and where, your clients are, or why they keep bombarding you with questions at 4 in the morning? Then it’s time to get your social media team an analytics tool, and a publishing tool to deal with that bombardment.

2. The Purpose

Effective social media strategies are based in setting goals and defining why you operate on a certain network – the days of checking the box for simply “being on Twitter” are gone. In their stead is a future defined by deep, metrics-based campaign and support management.

From sales to support, the volume of incoming queries can become overwhelming. Creating separate accounts for “support” and “company news” is one viable, oft-practiced solution. This is a good way to easily filter out customer needs and requests from other, less timely matters.

Whatever the end game, it is crucial to have someone available to answer questions or comments, particularly after new content goes live.

3. 99 Problems, but No Idea of the Scale

Nobody likes a hater. Unluckily for social media managers, cyberspace is full of them. High-stress or otherwise complicated market segments like airline tickets or mobile service tend to exacerbate the chances of “social suicide” – that moment when the “post” button becomes the enemy. Monitoring the feed at all times gives your company the time to craft an appropriate, yet still timely response. Unmonitored feeds present dual risk – not only can crises go unnoticed for too long, but little problems can grow into serious ones. If no one is watching , then no one can be wise to the lurking social risks.

Unfortunately, many brands have not yet learned that lesson. Our data on average Question Response Times (QRT) suggests that users are often forced to wait nearly twice as long for responses during evenings and weekends as they do during normal working hours – from an average of four hours to about seven.

Remember:

The Internet never sleeps. Logging off, shutting down, and unplugging can leave global brands blind to the needs of customers and prospects outside of their own region, or night owls nearby. The most urgent messages may be those left sitting in a closed inbox.

For the sake of both managing risk and impressing prospective and current customers, brands must monitor social feeds all day, every day. It can be done! At our upcoming Engage London 2014 conference, KLM’s Social Media Hub Manager Robertjan Groeneveld will be speaking about how and why his company manages to always be there for customers. If you still think your brand can get away with providing social customer care only when it seems convenient, his talk will be enlightening – and maybe a bit scary.

This post was originally appeared on http://bit.ly/1lF52w8 via @socialbakers

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