Call us non-traditionalists, but we like January: full of promise for the year ahead, a little more daylight with each passing day, and Community Manager Appreciation Day—which just happens to be today. Why do we love CMAD so much? Because we love community managers so much. They're the movers and shakers of their brands, and so much more than the sum of their roles. They inspire conversation, set the bar for collaboration, and lead with compassion.
Here's a look at Lithium-powered communities by the numbers in the last 12 months:
3.8 billion page views
25% of which (905 million) were driven by 712 thousand solutions
1.39 billion unique visitors
29.1 million kudos
27.4 million posts with 18.6 million replies
These are some amazing numbers that are driven by you, our customers, and the community managers that run these pillars of our digital experience.
We'd also be remiss not to thank our own community manager, @AndyK , as well for handling our own corner of the world, Lithosphere!
Of the 7,800 posts across Lithosphere in 2018, 5,200 were customer-generated. In addition, 439 out of 552 solutions came from customers. When looking at community management analytics, remember that customer-generated content is an even stronger indicator of success, as it shows that customers genuinely appreciate your community and want to contribute to it. Factor in another 6,000 kudos given by customers and 2,000 badges given to customers, and well...you should feel great about the past year’s successes.
Community management isn’t easy. It wouldn’t be a sincere thank-you without acknowledging the challenges you overcome every day. As you know, customers in your community don’t always get along. You put out the fires and redirect conversations to benefit everyone. Oftentimes, you are the first to respond when customers have a problem. Your work retains customers and saves marketing the expense of trying to acquire new customers to replace unsatisfied ones. To top it all off, you rise to the occasion of extremely tough response speed demands.
From everyone at Lithium + Spredfast, we thank you so much for making your community great. As a result of the tireless work of community managers like you, the world is a little bit more awesome.
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You already know the strategies and tactics that you use day in day out to guide your marketing and brand building efforts in the digital space. You also know how to take care of your customers and you know what’s on your to-do list for a given day, week, and even month. But occasionally, it can be helpful to remember to step further back: to pull yourself out of the projects that drive your day’s schedule and replace them with a serious shot of inspiration. SmartSocial Summit attendees had a chance to do just that during our second day of programming.
Below we’ve gathered three of our favorite inspiring moments from SmartSocial Summit Day 2 to help guide your brand’s long-term planning, your team’s creativity, and your organization’s values. Threaded throughout this year's programming was purpose—how brands and the people who build them can find it, live it, and nurture it.
Live Your Brand’s Purpose
Roy Spence, Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute and Chairman of GSD&M, offered a delightful and inspiring keynote about purpose. “Where your talents and the needs of the world intersect, therein lies your purpose,” explained Spence, quoting Aristotle. “We all know what millennials and Gen Z wants: they want purpose,” he added. “They’re purpose-seekers. I would like to suggest that you in the digital community here and around the world ladder your title up to Chief Purpose Officer.” Because, said Spence, we can market to these consumers, we can hook them in, but the organizations that are going to win long-term are the organizations with a purpose other than making money. Your purpose needs to be genuine, Spence said. It needs to be deeper than simply doing charity: your organization needs to ask itself why the company exists.
Your organization needs to ask itself why the company exists.
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To illustrate, Spence used Southwest Airlines as an example. Spence, who’s worked with Southwest Airlines for many years, told a story about executives wanting to change the airline’s policy so that checked baggage would no longer be free. Doing so, Spence said, would earn Southwest $350 million more a year. “I told them, you can do that, but it’ll violate the purpose of the company,” Spence told the Summit audience. “I finally said, we’re not in the airline industry. This company went to the Supreme Court to democratize the skies because you wanted ordinary people to be able to fly like rich people. You’re not in the airline business, you’re in the freedom business.” And, said Spence, Southwest Airlines executives listened. It remains free to check bags.
Living your brand’s purpose can pay off in real ways. “We drove $1.2 billion in revenue by not charging for bags,” said Spence. “We took business from the competition because consumers said, you’re living for your purpose.”
Do One Thing at Time to Find Your Individual Purpose
Also this morning, author, podcast creator, and all-around technology guru Manoush Zomorodi shared her strategies for unplugging to boost output and creativity. Though at first blush Zomorodi’s methods might seem antithetical to the realities of our work lives, in fact, she explained, it’s only when we take a breath to re-center that we can reclaim our inner lives, our creativity, and our productivity.
Among the many important truth bombs that Zomorodi dropped on Summit attendees was the fact that 80% of people she surveyed recently said they continue swiping and clicking on their phones even when they know they’re overloaded. The reasons why varied, but the assessment was the same: “There are only a certain number of decisions you can make before you deplete the brain’s capacity for making good decisions,” said Zomorodi, quoting neuroscientist Daniel Levitin.
80% of people continue swiping and clicking on their phones even when they know they’re overloaded.
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Instead of overstuffing ourselves with information, we should instead do one thing at at time, Zomorodi explained, and by doing so, we can find our individual purpose, as people and as digital marketers. “By choosing information more purposefully, synthesizing it, interpreting it, and reflecting on it, we can all have a little bit more of a productive life—and actually do things that have meaning to us,” Zomorodi said.
Align Your Purpose with Your Brand’s DNA
Jennifer Saenz, Chief Marketing Officer at Frito-Lay, explained the importance of aligning purpose to your brand’s values. Saenz used a recent campaign with Stacy’s Pita Chips, a brand under the Frito-Lay umbrella, as an example. Frito-Lay, explained Saenz, has done a lot of work to support women’s empowerment. Stacy’s Pita Chips was founded by a female entrepreneur named Stacy Madison, so it was a natural decision for Frito-Lay to celebrate International Women’s Day with special-edition Stacy’s Pita Chip bags:
“Stand for something. Standing for something is so very important,” said Saenz, adding, “but it has to be consistent and incredibly authentic to your brand’s DNA.” Consumers, said Saenz, will figure it out very quickly if your message is inauthentic, or not in line with your brand’s values.
As Summit attendees, and those who’ve been following along at home, head back into the daily trials of digital marketing, we hope you’ll take these larger lessons of purpose to heart. Finding and living your brand’s purpose—and your own—is what will resonate with today’s consumers. Missed an inspiring keynote? Click through to watch livestream recordings from the main stage at ACL Live.
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The first phase of social media—in which brands first showed up, oriented themselves, and dived in among ordinary citizens—is long gone. So too is the second phase, where brands shifted from focusing largely on the one-to-many relationships of traditional social media marketing toward more direct, one-to-one conversations with their customers (social and digital customer service). In kicking off today’s Smart Social Summit, Spredfast VP of Strategy Spike Jones explained that In the next phase of social, brands will need to carry all of the lessons learned from the first two phases with them. And, he said, that next phase will be entirely about building and maintaining trust.
We’ve collected three specific strategies your brand can take to build and maintain trust with your audience, so that you can stay ahead of the next phase of social and digital customer engagement. Read on to get inspired, then put their tips to work for your team:
#1: Stand for something—and mean it
In an opening video address, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg implored marketers and digital experts in the room to use the social platforms they already have for good. “I have no doubt,” Sandberg said, “that you’ll meet that challenge and make the world a kinder, more connected place.” By living their values, brands have the opportunity to create real change where it matters.
By living their values, brands have the opportunity to create real change where it matters.
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One example of social responsibility by brands that made its way to our main stage? Nike’s recent ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick. The ad highlights Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. Kaepernick’s protest has, so far, cost him his football career—he has not been signed to a team since. The ad itself says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
That kind of hand-raising for causes that mean something to your brand can result in serious attention—our keynote, Common, explained that in his travels to places as far as South Africa, people were wearing Kaepernick jerseys and asking about him. “People and brands that stand for something are really resonating right now,” Common said. “By losing his job, Kaepernick created something bigger than him.” And, he added, “Now, because they took a stand, supporting Nike is like a movement. The people behind that brand have shown they care, and they’ve shown they care not just about themselves.”
Common echoed Sandberg’s plea that brands raise their hands in support of their beliefs and use social for good: “Brands could be a lot more courageous with that.” He said brands should ask themselves, "what else do we truly stand for—and will we show that to the world?"
"I'm appreciating starting to see that more in brands, and hope more people in leadership lead their brands that way," Common said. "Because real leaders serve the people and brands have an opportunity to serve the people who are their consumers."
#2: Unite your marketing and customer care efforts
Another surefire way to breed trust in your audience? Present them a unified experience. Spredfast + Lithium CEO Pete Hess spoke this morning about the importance of breaking down silos in the interest of the customer experience. The bottom line? Customers just aren’t concerned with how your teams are aligned internally. Instead, they care about the experience they receive from your brand as a whole—no matter who they’re interacting with.
Customers just aren't concerned with how your teams are aligned internally.
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Not only can uncoordinated teams cause unnecessary hassle for their customers, they can actually do real damage to their relationship with their customer. Hess shared a personal story: after he sought customer care from its manufacturer, inquiring about replacing the glass only. However, before he received a response from the care team, the marketing team served him with at least three campaigns. “When brands want to sell you something before they’ve solved your problem—and they don’t even know you have a problem—it can do damage to the relationship,” said Hess, adding, “Until you solve my problem, I’m offended you would try to sell me something.”
Until you solve a customer’s problem, they’ll be offended if you try to sell them something.
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#3) Find the intersection of your audience’s needs and your brand’s needs
Marketing campaigns to date have largely been about getting information out to people—one way marketing—and that’s worked really well so far, explained Anurag Abinashi, Director of Strategy at Spredfast + Lithium. “But marketing is changing as we speak,” said Abinashi. Consumers today are looking for more than just facts and information—they’re looking for content that appeals to their emotional or personal beliefs. “Sometimes the content your audience needs is different than what you want to create,” said Abinashi.
“There is a sweet spot when you’re creating content and when you’re publishing it. Your brand has a voice, your brand has a message, and there is information you want to get out to your customers.” But the fact of the matter is, the way your customers want to consume content is often at odds with the information you as a brand want to share. So, it’s crucial to find the intersection of the two—your brand’s goals and your audience’s needs—and really nail that down with your content.
If you missed any keynotes and want to catch up, be sure to check out the livestream recordings.
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