Last Tuesday, SMT organized a very interesting Webinar on "how does Social Media work abroad?". I was supposed to be one of the speakers but my broadband access collapsed 1 hour before.
But when you cannot speak, you have the chance to listen carefully to what others say. And At least 3 insights were absolutely key when it comes to engaging audiences:
- Start Small (Adam Zawel)
It can seem obvious, but when you read a vast majority of clients' briefs, they all want to become Starbucks or Coca Cola in a week. Starting small is probably the best advice you can give when it comes to implementing your social presence.
- when you start small, there's this kind of nearness with few people. You start to better understand what could be your core values. You have the right to fail and to optimize your stories. You can meet them in real life. You can have databases of people which can be handled (instead of a million-contact CRM that you can't master)
- you're like a craftsman: you do all the work with your 2 hands, but it's good because you know what you're doing and what you'll sell. Most of the bad buzz happened because you did not have the time to establish a real community, so to say a critical mass of people who accept to know you, who understand some feelings, who have some history with you. There's nothing like a sincere word-of-mouth, like when you buy a specific baguette in a recommended bakery
- it helps you define what is an emergency and what's the step forward, as an entrepreneur. The pattern that Marc Benioff has drawn for Burberry could not be more inspiring:
- People to People approach, not B2B (Brian Ellefritz, global Social Media lead for SAP)
Again, the vast amount of articles on Facebook or Pinterest can be pretty misleading, because they focus too much on the platforms instead of demonstrating what people actually expect and do
- if you talk as a human, well you'll probably get a human answer from the crowd. If you send a message as you'd do in direct marketing, you'll probably get a majority of trashing
- it makes you think in terms of organization & management instead of technology & IT departmentss. The 2 sides are not opposite, but one shall lead the other, even in technology industry: softwares are made by engineers, thus
- it imposes you to define what the diverse social journeys of your communities might be; only this "client service" attitude can help you in implementing a relevant contact strategy
- Multi-lingual issues (Robin Carey)
Some French brands only started in Social Media in French. Which was highly painful for foreign fans, but impossible to handle for the brands. The speakers mentioned how difficult it is to monitor in diverse languages online conversations. Because it requires at least 3 assets: analysts in native languages; a core team to coordinate the work; the ability to respond in local but following the global guidelines. Not many brands do it well, because it's probably the most important investment in terms of human resources and digital tools. Some ideas:
- some communities are very concentric, even at a worldwide level. It's the case for fashion for instance, which is understandable as visual cultures is key + fashion weeks are a very small world. So the question is: do you also have a "core general community" which has the ability to communicate in diverse languages. In many fields, it exists. For professional cameras, Japanese forums (for Sony) are translated through Google translator by EMEA experts; so instead of wondering how to manage the whole crowd, how can you specify a social influence loop (aka better leading your communication to your real influencers...who will then do the work for you)
To summarize the big issue: the technical answers are finally pretty pragmatic; what can you offer? Who are the expected stakeholders? How can you set up monitoring tools & processes to better welcome unexpected trends? The most complicated work is about culture: where are the cultural borders? When & where are you missing your diverse publics? Is there a way to play with interests which can be understood both in China & Italy.
Social anthropology, so to say.