Today we have more than 20 million Local Guides in 240 countries/regions who speak more than 42 languages.
Company: Google Local Guides
Entry submitted by: Corrie Davidson (Americas Lead, Local Guides)
Community: Local Guides Connect
Lithy category: Digital CX All-Star
Local Guides is a global recognition program for creators on Google Maps—those who help others make more confident decisions about where to go and what to do by adding content like reviews, photos, and edits to the map. Google Maps has over 1 billion users and Local Guides, at 20M+ strong, contribute more than half of the content in Google Maps.
When and why we turned our focus to digital CX
When we started our program nearly 6 years ago, it looked very different. We focused at the city-level and had regional strategies and tactics. As our product changed and our program grew, we had to pivot to a more scaleable and global approach. This meant sunsetting city-level social channels and communities, regional newsletters, and low-impact campaigns and re-organizing our team’s distributed structure.
Today we have more than 20 million Local Guides in 240 countries/regions who speak more than 42 languages. With a small team of 14, (located in New York, London, and Singapore) responsible for all online and offline marketing, content, email, community, campaigns, events, support, and projects, scaleable tactics are required. Tools that work across languages and cultures and facilitate the ability for users to connect with each other are critical to success. We utilize global social channels, a single community instance, an online Help Center, a website, an admin site, and an email system to support our users.
What are the benefits of having both a community and a social media management platform for your organization? How does it improve your digital customer experience strategy?
Our community platform, powered by Lithium, is a key tool in our user engagement strategy. With the Google Translate widget embedded on every page in our site, it allows us to support a global community with a small team without having to duplicate instances or content. While all languages are welcome across our site, we also have in-language boards available on the site for those most comfortable communicating in their native tongue.
Together, with our volunteer moderators, we are able to provide focused support in a centralized location on a platform we own. The “AddThis” widget makes every post, reply, or article shareable on a myriad of social platforms so that our users can amplify our content in the places that make sense for them - without us having to have an owned presence and strategy for every platform that pops up. The stories we are able to collect from our community can be used in social media, email, videos, and more, helping tell the story of our program’s impact both internally and externally.
Our digital CX results and outcomes
We have found that users engaged in our community contribute 4x as much content as users in our program who are not participating in the community platform. LocalGuidesConnect.com enables us to connect our users to each other regardless of language or location, facilitating a true feeling of unity amongst participants. We are also better able to provide educational support to new members at scale while recognizing and engaging with our top Local Guides. With no marketing or awareness campaigns, we grew our community to 200k members within 6 months of launch.
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