Following on from last week’s post about building an online community, here’s part two, which looks at more ways to nurture your brand online.
These tips came to light during the Reputation Online ‘Retail & Digital PR’ seminar. The panellists included:
Lewis Webb, Senior Account Director, Ketchum
Catherine Flynn, Account Director, We Are Social
Zoe Macerlean, Social Media Manager, Tesco
Oli Ingham, Marketing Manager, Wahaca
Engage with and reward advocates
It is sometimes easy to interact with the same people online and take their support for granted. But for many organisations, rewarding advocates can pay dividends. When Tesco launched their campaign for Clothing at Tesco with We Are Social, they immediately identified key fashion bloggers and started engaging with them. They developed their LifeStyled blog, invited guest bloggers to contribute, held special bloggers previews and gave away exclusive freebies. Similarly, Wahaca adopted this approach and launched a ‘Facebook Fans table’, where every Monday a Facebook fan gets the chance to win a free meal in the Covent Garden restaurant. These are simple, yet effective, ways to make sure that your fans know you appreciate their continued support.
Create and take part in conversations
This links back to having a personality online, but an important move for any organisation is to join in conversations. This helps drive interest in your brand and, ultimately, traffic to your website. Whether it’s tweeting along to X Factor and taking part in #hustlebingo, or responding to people when they mention you. Where relevant, make sure you are part of these conversations.
Wahaca had another great example of this when a customer tweeted that they’d lost a book in the restaurant, and someone at the other end found the book (albeit in the male toilets) and returned it to them.
Have as many or as little accounts that work for you
I never believe in having social media accounts for the sake of it; always look at who your audience is and what mediums they use. This also goes along with the brand personality; never assume that you can use the same language and same strategy on Facebook and Twitter, for example, as their users may want very different things.
Whole Foods did their research and found that different consumers wanted different things out of their Twitter experience, so now the brand has 260 individual store accounts, an account that posts a ‘Recipe of the Day’, and even a specialist cheese expert.
Deal with negative comments
One really important point made during the seminar was the need to deal with negative comments. Again, it goes back to trusting the person in control of your social media accounts not to enter into damaging conversations, but there are always likely to be people that will criticise a brand and, most of the time, it can be more harmful not respond to them. This also goes for accidental tweets; Lewis from Ketchum was part of the team that helped restore Habitat’s online reputation after *that* intern debacle.
Zoe from Tesco did, however, say that there are some exceptions and if people appear to be consistently negative, sometimes you just can’t change their opinions.
These are just a few of the key points raised but I think that, ultimately, it’s all about identifying and targeting the right audience, using the correct medium(s) with the most relevant content, and making them feel like they are part of something.
So, take note of these tips and you’re one step further to building a fantastic community both online and offline.