Archive for December 2011

Social media case study: Dettol in China

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Brands and businesses are trying, more and more, to engage Chinese audiences online, particularly consumer and FMCG brands.

Recently, Reckitt Benckiser cleaning and disinfectant brand Dettol carried out a social media campaign in China to demonstrate that influencer marketing and word-of-mouth can be successful not just for the likes of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, but also for more mundane, household brands that appear in weekly shopping baskets.

The campaign helped to increase sales of Dettol products in Nanjing by 86% in comparison to the pre-campaign average.

Here’s a quick case study overview of Dettol’s social media/word of mouth campaign in China:

View more presentations from FreshNetworks.

Top 10 social media blog posts from 2011

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From the Top 10 viral advertising campaigns, to the Top 10 marketing moments of 2011, the “Top 10 season” is definitely in full swing, so we thought we’d jump on the bandwagon and look at the Top 10 social media blog posts from 2011 on our blog.

  1. 15 essential articles for online community managers
  2. 23 social media collaboration platforms
  3. Google+: A social networking site or the future of search engine marketing?
  4. Tips from the team behind the UK’s third most engaging Facebook page
  5. How do different age groups interact across the social web?
  6. Coca-Cola cut ad spend by 6.6% and invest more in social media
  7. Why retailer Tesco bought a social media company
  8. The social media landscape in 2011 – an infographic
  9. Forrester report: how companies listen and engage with social media
  10. 6 tips for using social media as a customer service channel

While our top 10 social media blog posts list is based on the most shared blog posts, other favourites from the team include:

  • Why people don’t want to create content for your brand
  • Social media management tools wiki/list
  • Brands need to use social media strategically, not get advice from gurus
  • What are your social media photo rights? Image T&Cs examined
  • Calling all brands: stop counting Facebook “likes” and build deeper engagement instead

As well as the free guides we launched on our blog:

We hope you enjoy re-reading these posts and that they help to remind you of what an interesting year 2011 has been for social media.

Information is power, but the powerful are losing their grip…

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Earlier this month I attended a lecture by Nik Gowing, BBC World News anchor for the channel’s flagship news programme, The Hub, which reports on global news.

The theme of the lecture was about the compression of world events as a result of the power of social media and mobile communications, followed by an (as yet unresolved) discussion about who controls information power in the world of social and mobile communication.

Gowing showed how social networks, multiple mobile phone bearing witnesses, video and photographic images shared to the web have become serious challenges to those in positions of power - ie, governments and global corporations.

Gowing described how disconnected systems are in place to deal with sudden comms or social media crises both within corporations and governments, pointing out their inadequacy in dealing with the new information landscape. He referred to this situation as  ’the tyranny of real time’, making power in today’s world both vulnerable and brittle.

For example, during the Millbank Tower riots in November 2011, the BBC news teams used video footage and Twitter reports from protestors to assemble the news story as it appeared, before the news crews could get on location to film.

Another example cited by Gowing was that of Zoltan Bakonyi, CEO of Mal Rt, the Hungarian Aluminium firm whose damaged silos spilled red toxic sludge into the local towns and countryside in October 2010. Because social media spread the message about what had happened, with reports, video footage and online comments appearing so quickly, Bakonyi was arrested within days of the toxic spillage:

With decades of experience in journalism behind him, Gowing also noted a shift in people’s behaviour because of the rise of mobile phones and social media. During natural disasters, riots or acts of terror, people immediately reach for their mobile phones and begin filming events as they unfold before them. This was evidenced widely during the Japanese Tsunami this year: for days and weeks afterwards new footage appeared from people who had filmed the events unfolding at great personal risk:

Asked whether he believed this was in an effort to gain money for their coverage, Gowing pointed out that the BBC seldom pays for such footage. He believes (as do we) that people are not so motivated by money as by the desire to share their experiences.

Key social and mobile learnings from the session

One of the biggest take-aways from the presentation was the sense that businesses and governments are ill prepared to deal with the massively reduced time between an event and mass public awareness.

Even news teams, better equipped than any corporate organisation to receive, interpret, fact check and then publish accurate information often struggle to keep up.

The challenge for organisations responding to events, especially comms crises, is the mediation, authentication and prioritisation of a massive volume of information. The reality is that organisations in 2011, from the UK government to BP, have failed to have put systems in place to respond appropriately to sudden, massive public awareness of an incident.

To Gowing, the brittleness of power in a digitally alert world is from the sudden deficit in legitimacy of power created when information spreads rapidly during a comms or social media crisis. Information is power; if organisations don’t have enough when they’re under the spotlight they look weak.

Ultimately, the corporate and government perception of “media” must shift. Media can no longer be controlled or managed. The media that exists today lies in the hands of 4Bn mobile phone users – essentially a public information space.

Although Gowing has been spreading this message for two years, organisations over the last year have failed to be ready for real-time information. The wisest ones looking ahead to 2012 will be asking whether they could have survived the big news stories of 2011 unscathed.

Here are 4 key questions organisations should be asking:

  • How are we monitoring the public information space to we know what’s being said as quickly as the public?
  • How many hours from news breaking to the first press questions do we have to brief senior people?
  • What are competitors spending and what infrastructure are they building to deal with comms crises?
  • How are brands and businesses safeguarding their online reputation on an ongoing basis?

Why are companies not responding to customer complaints in social media?

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Though there are several opportunities for using social media as a customer service channel, but while customers are using social media to lodge complaints, the majority of them are not receiving an acknowledgement or response from the service or product provider they are complaining about/to.

A few days ago, a piece of research conducted by Sage UK among 2,000 UK consumers found that while 22% of consumers would complain to a company using social media when they received a disappointing customer experience,  only 40% had received an acknowledgement as a result.

This is not just a problem over here in the UK. As reported in the Financial Times today, a survey carried out by social media management platform Conversocial in order to track US consumer expectations of social media found that while 51% of respondents were using social media to communicate with corporations,  a third of consumers who had attempted to communicate with companies via social networking sites were ignored.

Furthermore, 88% of respondents said they would be less likely to do business with that retailer if their complaint went unanswered.

With this in mind, businesses really need to make sure that their social media strategy assesses customer service otherwise they risk loosing not only existing customers, but also new customers, given that social media gives the casual observer the chance to see if, and how, a brand or business responds to a customer complaint.Social media makes the process of complaining a lot less confrontational and with the modern consumer expecting a better customer experience, businesses need to make sure they use social media in a way that adds value at all main customer touchpoints , including responding to complaints.

So why is there seemingly a reluctance to response to customer complaints in social media? Is it just that businesses are not listening out for complaints properly, or that they still don’t know how to respond? Perhaps it is still fear, in which case businesses need to start seeing the complaint as an opportunity to engage with the consumer directly, address their problem,  and then in some cases, turn a complainant into an advocate for the brand.

Either way, companies can’t afford to stick their fingers in their ears and ignore complaints or be slow to react to customers. As Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of Goldsmiths University in London points out,  ”social media thrives on immediacy, so small issues can snowball very quickly if they are not responded to effectively and efficiently”.

Facebook engagement case study: Heineken vs Carlsberg

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Last year both Heineken and Carlsberg declared their intention to increase their marketing spend and so we thought it would be interesting to use analytics tool socialbakers to look at how both brands have fared in terms of their Facebook engagement strategy for the last quarter of this year (for the period 1st September - 13th December 2011).

1. Fans

At face value Heineken is leading the way in terms of fans with 4,740,759 fans, while Carlsberg only has 231,641 fans, giving Heineken 4,509,117 more fans than Carlsberg.


In fact, in just over three months Heineken’s fans grew by a massive 2,098,504 with a steady, average fan growth of 20,178 fans per day.

2. Engagement

As anyone who has read our blog before knows, we’re all about real engagement on Facebook rather than the number of fans and so it’s interesting to look at both Carlsberg and Heineken in terms of engagement levels.

Using Facebook’s “Talking About” metric, during the last 3 months significantly more people were “Talking about” Heineken over Carlsberg. In fact, the number of people talking about Carlsberg daily has been consistently low at an average of only around 2,500 people per day.

As the chart below shows, the peak on 25th November and then subsequent decline in the number of people talking about Heineken was probably due to people interacting with Heineken’s Thanksgiving post, as well as the fact that Incubus, an American rock band, had to cancel their performance at the the Heineken music hall in Amsterdam on this day.

As for Carlsberg’s low people talking about rate, this could attributed to a lack of posts from the page admin. The Carlsberg page admin has only posted content 42 times in just over three months. But while Heineken has posted double this amount, the amount of content used by both brands is lower than that of Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s Facebook engagement strategyand Heineken only really posted multiple times per day on 13th November in response to customer enquires about tickets for a performance at Heineken Green Spheres in Dublin (though this is a good example of using social media for customer service).

However, what is interesting to note is that when you look at both Heineken and Carlsberg’s Facebook pages in relation to their average engagement rate over time in the last three months it seems as if Carlsberg, at the start of the quater, had a higher average engagement rate than Heineken.

As you can see, there is a massive dip in the engagement rate on Carlsberg’s page around 7th October which they never quite recover from. This coincides with the day that Carlsberg announced it was rolling out the next stage of its marketing campaign for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament on Facebook and so it could be that people started engaging with Carlsberg Football Facebook page to the detriment of engagement levels on the main Carlsberg page itself.

However, with Heineken’s average engagement rate decreasing and Carlsberg’s levels potentially looking as though it could increase again over time, it will be interesting to track both brands in terms of their Facebook engagement strategy over the coming months.