People are used to seeing product reviews and Questions/Answers when shopping online these days. And the reason is that peer validation drives 1.6 to 3x higher conversion rates – perhaps the single biggest difference in conversion that a retailer can make. This kind of increase doesn't come free or even cheap. There are significant challenges to creating and managing programs to gather, manage, and showcase peer validation content.
Getting enough real, good reviews - People don’t trust just a few reviews, and they also want a variety of reviews for credibility and detail, so you need to furnish both quality and quantify. If you play a simple numbers game where a small portion of customers leave feedback and an even smaller portion of that give good detailed reviews - then it takes a long time to get an impactful number of reviews.
Cost : The main way to get more reviews is to pay for them via incentives like gift cards or coupons. This is a direct investment in increasing your conversion rate , and many brands will pay their technology vendors to help source reviews or run their own programs.
Verification : The next step is verification and moderation. Having too many bad reviews, short reviews, or reviews that just seem fishy can have a negative effect on conversion. Verifying this can be somewhat automated, but it also requires a human element to confirm everything.
Gathering product feedback from your community
The good news is there is a secret weapon that any brand can use to make better customer validation on their sites quickly, cheaply, and credibly. Brands with their own online communities probably have a ton of feedback content to tap into today. As a bonus, community reviews and comments are usually from experienced customers/users who are also motivated to help their peers - not by discounts or to rant about a single bad experience.
Formalizing a review program in a community is a great idea because it addresses all three concerns listed above.
Quantity and Quality : Reviews happen naturally as product feedback in a community - you can see this behavior in one of my favorite sites, Allrecipes.com . Sites like Sephora, Dr. Pierre Ricaud, Leroy Merlin, GoDaddy, and others all use Product Mentions and Associations today to help serve similar community content when people are browsing articles. The same feature exact content and feature is all that is needed to do the same thing on any other digital property.
Cost : Community members don’t need to be paid because the community is already set up to incentivize and recognize their contributions through Khoros’ sophisticated gamification .
Credibility : Removing the need for incentives already eliminates the need for the majority of questionable reviews. The other need is to verify the user. In a community, this is not an issue because the person was validated before they could post a comment as part of joining the community. Finally, product feedback in communities are moderated just like every other piece of content .
BONUS - Interactive content: Not only are community reviews easier and better for all the reasons above, they also get the added bonus of being interactive. This means any other community member can add to their feedback to a post to add details, provide their perspective, or confirm the information in the same review. This engagement helps keep reviews fresh and adds valuable detail. It also makes it easier for future customers to engage.
Now for the How
Now, most communities were built for purposes other than generating product reviews. The good news is that you can still use them for this purpose thanks to the new Community Syndication combined with Product Associations.
How to use Product Mentions and Product Associations.
Product Associations are a way to tag posts with a product ID that can later be used to create syndication code snippets to automatically grab those tagged posts to syndicate to any page you want. And this can be done by generating one snippet that can be used for thousands of products using a variable product ID.
How to Add Community Syndication
It’s that easy!
About Message List Syndication
Whether you're serving 10 or 10,000 or 100,000 products, with Community Syndication you can set a single, simple snippet of code to pull the right UGC about a specific product onto the right page so that you're always providing the correct window into your Community.
The challenging part is doing this across a community where you didn’t have associations set up before deciding to syndicate. This requires some manual effort to find and tag. One idea is to enlist the community to help with this by creating a contest around who can tag the most posts with good product content!
The ROI of Community Syndication for eCommerce
ROI can be tricky to measure in the best of times, and crossing between communities that usually focus on support to the domain of shopping cart or website conversion deep inside marketing departments makes it even harder.
However, the general idea is that it falls into 3 buckets:
Savings on gathering content . This is time savings if you are going to be creating campaigns to solicit feedback content from your customers, or it is direct savings from not having to send out coupons or discounts to your customers to encourage feedback.
Savings on a content platform . This is savings from not paying a vendor specifically for review or Q&A capabilities. This can sometimes also involve focus group activities as well.
Savings on moderating content . These are perhaps less impressive because moderation must still occur, but Khoros’ community moderation tools are more sophisticated and effective than others.
Conclusion and Discussion Question
The best part of this - Syndication is now live for EVERY KHOROS CUSTOMER. Contact us for a demo or reach out to your Customer Success team for an update.
QUESTION: It would actually be very interesting to get a better understanding of how much these programs cost? Many times, they are run as part of Loyalty or Customer Research departments, so they likely never even interact with brand community programs. Have you ever talked to someone at your company about broader customer feedback and research to help get product feedback?
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I have been reading a ton of interesting articles about how fast the world is changing and how companies should adapt. One of the most interesting was “ Adapting Customer Experience in the time of Coronavirus ” by McKinsey &Co. In it, they give 4 actions that brands should take to prepare for the world that is coming. Three of them really stood out to me as opportunities for communities to play a bigger role in the future:
Focus on care and concern .
Meet your customers where they are
Build agile capabilities for fluid times
Communities are naturally good at delivering care and concern, and they are probably the most agile resource a company can have, but they can sometimes be hidden from where most customers can find them. Most customers ARE active on some social networks though, so it is a perfect time for brands to think about how they can connect with this broader audience. With this in mind, we wrote a quick guide to be more agile and meet customers where they are by using social listening in tandem with their community.
First, there are many ways to combine a social listening platform like Intelligence and Community to achieve higher engagement. In general, they follow this outline. We will provide a couple of examples in a moment:
Understand what is current and relevant to your audience by using Intelligence to discover the trending social conversations people are having today. This is where you use the Intelligence product - will show you examples below.
Foster engagement on your community by creating content or discussions around the relevant topics discovered.
Publish your community content back to your social media audiences in the same areas you researched earlier to increase community engagement. For this it would be ideal to use the Khoros Marketing Experiences product, but regular social posting can work as well.
Example 1: Expert Event
You may already have a community of active experts, but do you have all the key players in your space? In a time of crisis, and in the future, key conversations on topics you care about could be happening anywhere.
In order to join in an authentic way, you should first know who is saying what. For this example, we looked at financial services.
Discover Influencers: First, you need to find your key audience. As a bonus, you can leverage filters such as Author Bio, and Max # of Followers
a. Twitter Search > Use preferred terms (ex. “Shelter in place”) and search for the word “Community” in their twitter Bio.
Leverage Share of Voice to identify topics influencers are interested in learning more about
Most Active Influencers
Most active influencers
b. Next, search within those results for your brand name or specific mentions/topics
2. Engage Influencers: Enlist influencers to assist in launching a dedicated group focused or a specific Event in the community.
Identify the best time of day
Promote to attract New Members: Promote the event within your community, through various marketing channels, and with the influencers to drive new registration and traffic to community.
Promote the outcomes of the event as well
Improve SEO Results: The real-time nature of the event improves SEO results and boosts organic traffic to community
Curate New Content: Post-event, you now own the content which can be used to form TKB articles or blog articles that permanently raise SEO results and help further the conversation.
Close the loop - cultivate superusers: These influencers feel recognized and empowered by the brand. The influencers get a closer relationship with a new audience to them, and the brand gets a stronger tie to a thought leader in the space. This is also a great first step in engaging them to become superusers and more involved community members.
Example 2: Level up your blogging
Blogs are great tools for sharing ideas, thought leadership, use cases, and best practices, but nobody gets value from them if nobody can find them.
Post Blog Content: Post your most current blog article on your community. These blog posts then have easy buttons to share on social - so you should, and encourage your community to do so as well. You could even incentivize social sharing through recognition and gamification.
Track social sharing of the blog: Using Intelligence, you can track the URLs of your blog posts being reposted on social. Not only can you get an idea for the impressions your blog may be getting from social re-share, but you can also gauge the sentiment and reception of your blog content via the messages users write along with the blog link. Here is an example using a blog from Amazon about COVID-19.
Tracking how an Amazon blog was shared
3. Use social reception to inform future Blog posts: Based on the sentiment/reception you are seeing on your blog, you can use that information to inform future blog content. You can also leverage tips from above to build a network of social influencers who follow and share your blog content, scan their profile or posts for data that could further enhance your future blogs.
Hopefully, you can see how useful it is to combine Khoros Intelligence with your community. Connecting your dedicated brand community with the broader online social networks is a great way not only to engage new people but to expand the ways that you can inform and help a bigger part of the world.
What are some of the ways that you are combining your brand community with broader social network communities?
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