Tag Archive for CMGR class

Building Loyalty- 4 Brands That are Doing it Right

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Building loyalty should be a priority to create a passionate branded community. In my opinion, it is one of the most important things to keep in mind when developing a strategy. People who are loyal to your brand become advocates and help you to promote the brand and broaden your audience. Having a small community of engaged core fans of the brand will be more valuable than having high visibility and an apathetic audience. When people are truly passionate about the company, the services, or the experience of the brand, it creates a community and is attractive to observers. This is where the role of a Community Managers comes in.

According to Work Smart Lifestyle’s post on strong social brands, to create this loyal following, you must connect with your audience and engage with them. It starts with a good product or service. You have to have a good product or compelling mission first in order for people to buy into your company. If they feel like your company values or brand vision aligns with theirs, they are more likely to champion your brand. This core idea ties into the concept of Lovemarks, where brands transcend the boundaries of a typical service and create a more meaningful connection to the people that follow them. This can be achieved by creating a brand experience and persona, and embodying it through social media outlets, blogs, internal services, and any other consumer touch points. A great brand will exceed expectations and provide value to their community.

Here are a few brands that have a very loyal fanbase:

 

Whole Foods

Whole Foods

Whole Foods, Whole Story

The core values of this grocery market is to provide its shoppers with high quality, organic food. The small grocery community crossed with national chain balances reliability with fresh food and a close community feel. They have established a strong brand identity, to the point where Whole Foods is associated with concrete attributes and characteristics. There is even a certain stigma of the people that shop at Whole Foods, though this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Whole Foods perpetuates the local, friendly community through their blog. They appeal to that niche target market and write posts on healthy, organic recipes. The website highlights issues such as sustainability, equal trade, and local community. In addition, the Co-CEO’s have blogs that support the vision, and sustain Whole Food’s image of a close community. Whole Foods uses blogging as a way to channel the mission of the organization and to support the community of Whole Food shoppers.

 

Chipotle

@ChipolteTweets reaches out to a tweeter with a complaint and makes a successful brand interaction

@ChipolteTweets reaches out to a tweeter with a complaint and makes a successful brand interaction

Chipotle taps into the trend of conscious fast food. They promote their use of natural ingredients and casual dining to create a brand identity. I know people who are obsessed-going to Chipotle is more like an event rather than a meal. Chipotle embodies the down-to-earth brand persona through their interactions on their twitter handle, @ChipolteTweets. They are one of the best companies for responding on twitter, in my opinion. They make everyone feel like their opinions are important to Chipotle, and builds strong relationships. This strategy engages the consumers the and creates loyalty with the fanbase.

 

YouTube

YouTubers on mainstage at VidCon Convention

YouTubers on mainstage at VidCon Convention

YouTube, the video platform, has progressed from the website people used to watch cat videos to a platform that supports rising YouTube personalities. YouTube is dependant on user content and user viewership, but they have become very smart in the way that they encourage loyalty and engagement. They now support content creators, certifying channels that have a large following and high quality content and even supporting them financially. These high-profile vloggers are then given credibility, which supports YouTube’s brand popularity. There is a sort of mutual benefit to the people YouTube chooses to support, and those people become YouTube’s Brand Ambassadors.

There is a definite hierarchy within the YouTube community, based on viewership and connections. The YouTube celebrities encourage viewers to create their own content to achieve YouTube fame, and to keep watching their favorite personalities on YouTube. The loyalty in the YouTube community is most apparent during conventions like Playlist Live and Vidcon, where masses converge from all over to meet their favorite YouTube stars.

 

Starbucks

Starbucks Reward Program App

Starbucks Reward Program App

photo 2 (1) photo 3 (1)

Like Whole foods, there is a stigma of frequent Starbuck consumers. People are crazy in love Starbucks, and this can be half attributed to the products, half to the community created through the love of Starbucks. They do amazingly well on branding and fostering loyalty with consumers.

An example of this is the Starbucks Reward Program, specifically through the app. The app notifies you when you are near your favourite Starbucks locations, and brings up your virtual card which you can scan to pay through the app. When you pay through the app, you are awarded a star, which accumulate to achieve different levels with increased rewards. This app rewards loyalists and enables an easy way for people to become loyal to Starbucks.

 

Community Management: How to Get Hired

Land a job as a community manager! (photo via http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/interview23.jpg)

The job of “community manager” hasn’t necessarily been defined before a few years ago, especially in the digital space. But students are flooding from colleges after graduation to potential employers in an effort to get hired as a community manager. But what are employers looking for? How can you prepare for your interview? Is this industry right for you?

Here are three skills/tips you need to get hired as a community manager:

1. Strong communications skills

This one seems obvious, but some people think that just because this job is “digital” but this job has plenty offline aspects as well. A community manager must be a strong writer, speaker and really understand people. A public relations background is always helpful, especially in time of crisis and dealing with the consumer. It’s a people business, so if you don’t like people then you probably shouldn’t be applying! The “management” aspect of the job also falls under this category. The best bosses and managers have employees that love them because they’re strong communicators and get their message across. We learn about the importance of transparency but you can’t be transparent unless you know how to get your message out there. The business is all about storytelling, which is why strong communications stills are so important.

2. Organized

Organization is key and your employer will be able to sense if you aren’t organized. If you aren’t organized you’ll probably be in way over your head in the business. A community manager deals with so much data and information. There are tons of numbers to analyze and make sense of and then apply to your strategy. One major aspect of community management is content curation. Bringing together a ton of different content from different platforms and making sense of it is another reason why community managers need to stay organized. Without good organizational skills, it would be hard to make sense of why you were curating the content and the message behind it.

3. Be a member of your community

This is the most important tip of all because if you aren’t a member of your community and truly engaged in it, you wont be successful as a community manager. You must be able to understand the community members and I don’t think that’s possible unless you’re a member of the community as a whole. So if you’re trying to get hired, don’t go into a job interview and have no idea about the company or community because you wont get hired. Research the community and start playing a role in it before heading into your interview. Show your employer that you care about the community, because if you can be a part of it, you can manage it.

Fore more great tips for prospective community managers, check out this article.

3 Dos (and 1 Don’t) for Reaching Out to Bloggers

This week’s topic of discussion dealt with blogger outreach, or, fostering a relationship with, and offering services to, online writers who might prove beneficial to a brand or company in some capacity. From class, we’ve learned that connection is key, but there are definitely right—and wrong—ways for going about it.

Image courtesy of Social Media Marketing University

DO…

1. …Have a goal in mind.

Blogger outreach starts in-house, a point stressed in the ebook, “The Best Practice for Effective Blogger Outreach,” which tells businesses to have objectives lined out. Much in the same way that an army can’t go to battle without a strategy, a business can’t extend itself online without an idea of why. Identifying one’s objectives also means identifying a target audience, effectively narrowing down the wide pool of bloggers on the Web to a relevant selection.

Tips:

  • Research potential target audience first. You should know everything about them going in—not the other way around.
  • Social media isn’t the only factor to keep in mind. PR and brand awareness is good and all, but not if they don’t translate into some sort of revenue.

2. …Be creative with your methodology.

According to “12 Ways Strong Social Brands Connect With Their Audience,” Britt Michaelian makes a point of saying that it’s not enough to just have a voice online; it should also be different from anything else online. Easier said than done, yes, but it helps if you’re already in touch with blogger lingo and etiquette, as referenced in “Building Community in Blogger Outreach.” Do what you see other prominent bloggers doing; tap into their interests and make it work to your advantage.

Tips:

  • As in real life, don’t be afraid to have a quirky personality. “Weird” or “eccentric” just means being one step above the white noise of the Internet.
  • The Denny’s blog, for instance, benefits from being hosted on Tumblr: They can post topical things they see other Tumblr users responding to and reblogging themselves.

3. …Build loyalty for your brand.

The best way of going about this is offering accessibility. In Britt Michaelian’s “How to Build Fierce Loyalty for Your Brand Community,” she argues for helping audiences feel “wanted and needed within the community.” By creating spaces for discussion and thinking in terms of we than I, brands can maintain conversation that will slowly but surely lead to support from within the community.

Tips:

  • Extend across social media platforms. The more places for discussion, the more loyal customers.
  • Lead, but don’t make it apparent. You’re not there to herd people around; you’re there to engage them.

DON’T…

1. …Forget to be human.

This seems to be at the crux of everything we’ve learned this semester, but that’s because it doesn’t become any less true the more we learn about community management. Press releases and cold calling (…blogging), then, are ill-advised ways of reaching out to bloggers. Instead, stay honest and stay personable. Don’t be afraid of humanizing a brand—thinking small-scale also means paying more attention to detail, which works miles on online readers.

Share your thoughts—or any other dos and don’ts—in the comments below!

Brick By Brick: Creating Your Community

With all this talk so far this semester about community managers, it’s easy to forget the other, perhaps more important, half of the equation—the community itself. Yes, community managers (CMs) have to be fiercely defensive of their communities, but the community has to be fiercely defensive of itself as well as the brand it advocates. As such, CMs bear the responsibility of building a community and maintaining it long enough before it can function on its own. And with proper building techniques, CMs can create communities that, in the real world, do what CMs can’t do on their own.

Community building doesn’t just happen overnight.

Building Your Community

Communities are comprised of individuals. Remembering that means remembering to reach out to one person at a time. Startups and larger organizations alike suffer the same problems of having to keep audiences in mind, whether that means having to start slow or having to do more than just “throw money” around to get eyeballs on content. Being a human comes first and foremost, since CMs have the dual role of representing and humanizing a brand. Reminding potential community members that there’s more to a company than just its logo and mission statement fosters a relationship that could translate into future loyalty.

Maintaining Your Community

Once customers start coalescing, conversation is key. Strengthening ties between the brand and the community as well as between community members themselves marks a key difference between CMs and social media managers; after all, it’s one thing to attract people, but it’s another thing to keep them there. Fostering natural discussion with community members ensures that everyone connects with each other. Starting simple and focused, rather than using rewards and incentives, allows for organic community growth.

Letting Your Community Go

This doesn’t mean actually letting your community go. Rather, it means working up to a mutual level of trust that both the CM and the community can function less intimately, but without losing efficiency. Just as show dogs grow tired with each hurdle, communities lose patience with every added hoop they have to jump through. Form upon form and promotion upon promotion can quickly become taxing, so CMs would be wise to step away from expecting more from their communities and instead let them work on their own terms. At the end of the day, word of mouth and fervent community dedication matter most—not micromanagement.

What brands or companies seem to have succeeded at community building? Which ones haven’t? Share in the comments!

Community Management Pros Talk Big Picture and Efficiency

Looking back at older blog and discussion posts, I’m realizing that I’m definitely not the only one who enrolled in this class with a half-formed mental definition for community management and what it means to be a community manager. But now, midway through the semester, I’ve got a better grasp on the material—thanks in part to weeks’ worth of reading and practice, as well as one Online Content Panel Google+ Hangout already behind my back. That’s probably why last week’s panel—with David YarusMorgan Johnston, and Nick Cicero—proved this semester’s highlight thus far. Not just because the discussion flowed easier for me, but because I could finally relate to the conversation and connect it with ideas we’d already visited in class.

MRY

I loved that David was able to put community management into perspective during the panel. Through his management of influencer communities for MRY, he could share a different aspect to the idea of community management, one that sits apart from our typical idea of community management as a whole social channel with millions of users and fans and followers and engagements. I found that incredibly helpful, since it helped scale down the idea of community from something so large and nebulous to something more tangible and comprehensible. And because his work centers on igniting advocacy and word of mouth across college campuses, he proves that community management doesn’t necessarily need to remain confined to Internet work; it can break beyond normal web barriers.

For JetBlue—as well as MRY and LiveFyre—the community comes first.

For JetBlue—as well as MRY and LiveFyre—the community comes first.

JetBlue

As a frequent flyer, I was very interested in what Morgan had to say as a JetBlue team member. What I found most heartening, however, was hearing about their customer insight team. Having gone through my own share of frustrations while flying, I loved hearing that all the online feedback funnels into what he called “a voice of the customer.” Whereas other airlines might tackle tweets, for instance, on an individual basis, he explained JetBlue’s policy for compiling all of that information while ensuring that something actually gets done to rectify the situation. That tactic embodies the ideal community management aspects of both transparency and efficiency.

LiveFyre

With Nick, on the other hand, I found what he had to say about “looking at the big picture” to be really enlightening. As he mentioned, it’s easy for community managers to get swept in the day-to-day routine. But by having a team—and a position where he can act as a “mentor or coach” for that team—he can ensure that no corner of the community and its goings-on gets overlooked. Most of the community managers we’ve talked to (and the one that I’ve interviewed for my midterm) tend to work with the company as a whole, but mostly as the sole representative of that particular job of engaging the community. Nick’s perspective, however, maintained that yes, there’s a hierarchy of sorts, but not in a way that detracts from the overall group effort to keep the community active and involved.

Tips from the Pros: Community Management

In class last week, our community management class was fortunate enough to speak to Sean Keeley and Ally Greer, the founder of NunesMagician.com and Community Manager of Scoop.it (respectively). Each professional brought up interesting points as they shared experiences from their lives in social media and blogging. Throughout the hour long discussion, each person brought up important lessons for students to internalize.

50% Proactive, 50% Reactive

Ally Greer commented that community management was 50% proactive and 50% reactive. Although I understood prior to her comment that community management was more than just managing, it didn’t strike me that community management really had to be a balance between managing conversation and allowing them to happen organically. I thought it was important that she reminded the class of the balance a community manager needs to maintain in order to have a thriving, yet natural community. This also reminded me of what was talked about in class, which is to moderate a conversation, not dominate it. It was interesting to hear people apply the lessons learned in class to their own experiences, and phrase these lessons in words that applied specifically to their communities.

Sean Keeley talks to #cmgrclass via Google Plus.

Sean Keeley talks to #cmgrclass via Google Plus.

Write For Yourself 

When asked if Sean Keeley writes towards a particular demographic (perhaps a 25 year old Syracuse male), he replied by saying that he writes for himself. Although this comment at first seemed self-serving, it soon seemed like that was the only acceptable answer. While every blog may have a typical member, it is important that one’s own interests and passions are satisfied when writing. As discussed later in the Google Plus group, how can one run a successful blog if their own interests aren’t taken into consideration? Sean’s unique answer certainly gave all bloggers and class members an opportunity to think about why someone may want to initially start a blog.

People Need To Know What They Want

Although both bloggers/community managers have had different experiences, they can both agree that people need to know what they want. Based on Ally Greer’s experiences, she specifically mentions how users may not know what they want from a service until the option is offered to them. For Sean Keeley, offering news about different sports may not be something that users knew they wanted until the news was on the website. Regardless of the type of field one is blogging about, it’s important to give users options and allow them to figure out what they want for themselves.

What do you think about these points? Is there anything you’d like to add or disagree with? Let us know in the comments below!