The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Posts Tagged ‘Groundswell

Fishing In The Right Places

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This is about creating the audience – the bit that is often taken for granted. How do you get the people you want to follow, friend or subscribe so that you can communicate with them in the first place?

I only ever went seriously fishing once. On a cold and grey Spring day I went with friends, sat down at the edge of an enormous reservoir and caught nothing. I had no technique, no special equipment, no idea what lay beneath the water and no local knowledge. I got precisely what I deserved and couldn’t wait to go home. Every weekend keen and skilled anglers compete and land huge catches at the same place.

The excellent Groundswell by @charleneli and @joshbernoff describes a four stage method called POST (People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology) and everything begins with understanding what your “people” are ready for. I take a little issue with this in that I think the Objectives may come before the People. The objective for social media interaction may not just/always be end consumers. In a B2B environment it could be other stakeholders such as employees, journalists, Government etc and unless the strategy for the social media effort is properly understood you may begin with the audience you have rather than seek out the audience you want.

Assuming the target audience is identified Groundswell then lays out the Social Technographics Ladder and a method for identifying how you customers are most likely to want to communicate and to identify the media and methods that are most likely to be successful. There are big differences between age groups, sexes, nationalities and interest groups. The key is to identify the social usage profile of your customers – in crude terms you want to be fishing with the right bait.

If Twitter or Facebook are suitable approaches here are some techniques I’ve used for finding the right people:

  • Use hashtag searches to find people who are talking about the right topics. Start with your own brands, products and markets. This method will also find a lot of suppliers and competitors. You need to decide how you are going to deal with these. At the very least you need to keep some form of segmentation of your crowd.
  • Read the trade journals. These can be a good aide memoir for when you are having a mental block. It also prompts names of journalists.
  • Some journalists advertise their Twitter names as a means of contacting them. There are also some quite dated lists on the internet. One other thing is to check out key names’ own follow lists. Often key journalists may have thousands of followers but only a smaller number of the people who influence them. Check out their Lists also.
  • Go through your contact lists and the collective library of colleagues and then try and find Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter contacts against them.
  • As you put out content (with appropriate hashtags) some of the people you want to contact will find you and you can close the loop be friending them or following them back.

Slowly your follow list will grow and at this stage this is the target audience. The next step is how to convert the non-followers into part of your crowd. Here are some tips for I’ve found to work in doing this.

  • Identify a small target list of the people you really want to follow you and comment in context with what they are talking about when they talk about it. This will make sure the comments are on topics they are interested in at a time they are probably watching the conversation. At times this may be quite time consuming but the result is worthwhile. Don’t tweet or update for the sake of it though. Less, better quality, comment is far better and will avoid the ultimate snub.
  • When you meet people try and add them to your LinkedIn group or ask them if they use Social Media immediately. It is far less awkward to issue an invitation soon after the event. Remember, with Twitter or LinkedIn each time you add a contact you also have access to their lists. Don’t abuse this.
  • Comment and talk about current topics in an interesting way. Just retweeting, interacting or banal comments won’t cut it to attract followers and it won’t keep them in the future. Keep your eye on trending topics.
  • Choose carefully who you follow back. It isn’t about numbers and at some point you may have to unfollow in Twitter to let more people in. The other thing is that the bigger the numbers, the harder the management of them. Are people in a different country, different industry or pure spammers really going to add value to your proposition? Are you really going to add to theirs?

No matter what else you are doing, keep a focus on the quality of your crowd. Even when you are busy with other promotional activity remember to look after your followers. You need to communicate regularly to keep them interested and notice when they want to interact with you. This is a social network not a sales pitch. Everything else tactically may change but your crowd moves with you.


Written by greencontact

February 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Saving Canute

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The social media world is not all sunshine. The Wikipedia blackout earlier this week demonstrates the dichotomy of the Groundswell vs The Law. We could add to the chargesheet the allegations today by Neil Warnock that Twitter comments contributed to his sacking from QPR, breaching of superinjunctions by Twitterers, manipulation of reviews by professional complainers on TripAdvisor or product endorsement by celebrities…the list goes on. And these provide easy targets for the sceptics. What can we do to counter the argument and what can we do to address the problems in our strategy?

I think that it is too easy to blame the messenger. Football managers have blamed former players and the Press for their demise in the past. National newspapers have run the risk of legal action in the pursuit of the truth. There have been “payola” and product placement scandals in the past. All Social Media allows is a louder voice and a larger audience – it has shifted the balance of power. What is often overestimated is the influence of  the message by assuming a naive and unquestioning crowd. We know that there will be some who take the message – fashion and newspapers are all about opinion and setting or following the trend – but the social media user is increasingly savvy. They are also inherently benevolent: alongside the desire to share is a healthy dose of openness and honesty.

There is undoubtedly a feature of the Web 2.0 which expects to have things for free (or more precisely to pay for it in different ways). This is highlighted by the enormous success of open source software such as Firefox or Linux which have developed due to the desire for software users to be free of the limitations of cost and speed of development. They have shown that the emperor is naked – there can be a different way. Sadly, the disreputable element is also evident in the copyright challenges which were at the heart of the Wikipedia blackout and the closure yesterday. Yet again though it is too easy to blame the messenger – copyright theft happened long before Web 2.0 – yet again the technology has only made things easier. However, what it also highlights is the consumer demand is changing. Many people have thrived on the development of Linux – both suppliers and consumers. The big losers are the vendors of proprietary operating systems and hardware. The entertainment industry is learning. I think they are right to clamp down on blatant theft but they are also lobbying for laws which are far too draconian and could unintentionally catch some innocent bystanders in the process. Already companies like Spotify, Netflix, and Lovefilm have understood the groundswell and are developing products which more fit the lifestyle and expectations of the Web 2.0 generation – and make money at the same time.

The right strategy for dealing with the negative is to understand the underlying motivations. You can stand Canute-like on the shore waving at the sea…until you drown.

Written by greencontact

January 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

Know your audience

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As with any other activity, with Social Networking you need a plan: Why are you tweeting/blogging/facebooking? There are a lot of ways that this can be expressed but the root of this must be your audience. In the excellent Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies (@groundswell), Josh Bernoff (@joshbernoff ) and Charlene Li (@charleneli) lay out the kind of audience profiling which would be effective, categorising those of your audience who are active in social networking on a “Technographics Ladder” as:

  • Critics
  • Inactives
  • Spectators
  • Joiners
  • Collectors
  • Creators

supported by the characteristics of each in terms of what their interaction with the social world is likely to look like. This Techipedia article shows the differences between how some of your targets are best approached

By understanding where your target audience sit compared to your competitors’ audience and the population in general you can work out what social technologies will work best for you. They also spell out the importance of listening to what is being said – that your brand is driven by what your audience is saying about you. Before setting out, think about what your are trying to achieve. Again, taking from Bernoff and Li, try to think about what will be different in three years time if your social networking strategy is successful. The authors are also at pains to point out the importance of getting into the detail of what other effects could be from entering the social media world where not everyone will be a fan of your brand.

Strategy can be expressed in a number of ways. Have a look at this personal Twitter manifesto from Jeremiah Owyang @jowyang

I would appreciate links to any other Social strategy documents

Written by greencontact

January 17, 2012 at 9:07 am