We’re thrilled to announce significant new enhancements to our industry-leading online community solution Khoros Communities . All Khoros customers now have access to the following features:
Community syndication to amplify community content throughout search, purchase, and support in a simple, scalable way.
Early access to Group Hubs help users connect with people that share their interests and empower them to improve the community.
Improved search results and analytics to help users find the right content right away.
Modern content editing tools to simplify creation for richer, more engaging content through pictures, videos, emojis, and more.
Community integration capabilities through API and mobile SDK to embed trusted peer content into core products and applications.
Online communities are already hotbeds for engagement , and these new capabilities increase the breadth and depth of that engagement by amplifying peer conversations throughout the customer journey, including search, purchase, and support interactions. Let’s take a look at each in detail to see the lasting value these features bring to your brand.
Community syndication extends the reach of your online community by embedding it into your brand’s portfolio of marketing and/or support tools. This allows customers to experience your community wherever their search takes them, whether that’s within your brand’s .com site, product catalog, commerce site, or elsewhere in the customer journey.
This feature makes it possible for users to become a part of your community even if they’ve never been to your online community. Additionally, featuring user generated content on your product pages, such as product discussions, lends credibility and builds trust with your brand.
The Group Hubs feature is currently in early access. This feature allows users and administrators to organize their content into topics based on common themes or purpose — simplifying the administration and management of online communities that cover a lot of broad topics. The end result is that users can more easily interact with the content they find most valuable.
Many communities today have grown to the point that users have organized into subgroups around special interests. Empowering users to manage those groups themselves, and giving them flexibility to create Open, Closed, or Hidden groups just means that Communities can be more engaging. More engaging communities foster more power users, who then encourage more engagement from other users.
When you organize it, they will come.
Improved search results and analytics
This feature includes search performance enhancements, such as the ability to leverage synonyms, as well as improved analytics for administrators to monitor and improve the performance of promoted search results.
User generated content is incredibly powerful from a search perspective because people trust it, it is getting constantly updated, and it covers the “long tail” of SEO that is hard for brands to capture at scale with traditional content strategies. Even the largest internal content team would struggle to write individual posts about every niche topic covered in an online community, and even if they could, it wouldn’t be an efficient use of resources. With an online community that has improved search results and analytics, you get users to the right content faster, so they spend less time frustrated and more time engaging.
Modern Content Editor
With these updates, users can now drag and drop attachments into community posts as well as copy and paste from Word documents very easily. This feature also allows administrators to add various tags or elements to posts after creation, to help better organize and leverage content. Whether it’s an employee, customer, or prospect using your brand’s community, it’s important for them to have a seamless, stress-free experience while posting.
Broader emoji support
Drag and drop attachments
Import from document editing software
This feature includes mobile app, CRM, and platform integration capabilities for embedded community content and experiences directly into brands applications. The most powerful experiences happen when people don’t have to hunt them out, so embedding a community into the core application increases the likelihood that a user will interact with the community and gain all the amazing benefits to customer satisfaction, retention, and growth that communities provide. Examples include the Samsung Members App that was part of the S10 launch and the Quickbooks and TurboTax apps for Intuit.
How to get started
To learn how you can put these new features into action, simply connect with your account executive. They’ll be happy to show you how you can use community syndication, Group Hubs, improved search results and analytics, Modern Content Editor, and platform-level integration. If you are not currently a Khoros Communities customer, request a demo to get in on the action.
Also, for more information, please attend our Community Everywhere webinar on September 26th !
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Editor’s note: Part one can be found here .
Khoros Engage 2019 focused on innovative approaches to the biggest issues facing digital leaders today: solving the connection crisis, managing worst case viral scenarios, and of course: which color notebook will you take home? Chartreuse seemed to be especially popular.
These issues require unique solutions (except for the notebook — you’ve just got to choose). Listening to how brands are addressing their challenges revealed a universal truth: You can’t solve today’s problems, let alone tomorrow’s, using tools and tips from the past. In part two of our event recap, we’ll take a look at the platform, procedures, and philosophy that can help your brand to reach new levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Khoros customers are more empowered than ever — and more is on the way
Representatives from Khoros Marketing, Care, Communities, and Strategic Services outlined everything users can now leverage — along with what they can look forward to, in an extensive product roadmap session. Each of the upcoming innovations serve the same purpose of helping brands bridge the connection crisis to deliver a unified customer experience. Some of the upcoming solution features are shown below:
Expanded paid planning measurement
Custom calculations to align analytics to the business
Deeper governance and compliance capabilities
Tribal Knowledge Base and blog workflow
Moderation and spam management
Expanded omni-channel CSAT and NPS surveys
Deep messaging analytics
While it’s always great to understand the technical features of a product, it’s also important to understand how they are valuable to you. Right now, Khoros customers can leverage the platform to deliver a fully connected customer journey.
In the example given during the roadmap, the solution representatives discussed a fictionalized customer named Naomi who reached out to an also fictionalized company called EcoAir via messaging. Since EcoAir uses Khoros, their care representative is able to pause the conversation to fit around Naomi’s busy life. The agent also gives her links to learn more on the brand’s online community. After she sees the amazing trips EcoAir community members had, the marketing department sends her a coupon for a discounted trip and she books her vacation. With Khoros, brands are empowered to achieve desirable outcomes like these.
If you would like to take your use of Khoros to the next level, the Strategic Services Team is available to help — simply talk with your account representative to learn more.
Social media excellence is achieved through internal education and execution
General Motor’s Global Head of Customer Engagement Rebecca L. Harris, PH. D sat down with Khoros’ SVP of Customer Success Dianne Borges to discuss how GM’s Social Media Center of Expertise (CoE) was built from the ground up. Although GM’s Social Media CoE is now a poster child for internal alignment, it was founded to bring calm to the chaos GM experienced after moving into social media. In those days, there were only a few people managing social media at GM and they were caught in a crossfire of different departments wanting to use social media to achieve their conflicting goals.
By creating the Social Media CoE, educating each department about the best business uses for social media, and securing buy-in for those strategies, Rebecca formed a world-class structure. She and her team have brought down the number of tools the Social Media CoE uses from 125 to six and achieved results including going from 36K monthly social media mentions to 142K. When their social media team reached scale, they needed to unify the team within one platform that would allow for better governance and analytics. In partnership with Khoros, GM onboarded 800+ users across the globe in less than 30 days. To see the full story, watch our case study .
Brands must balance the art and science of anticipating customer needs
You’d be hard-pressed to find a millennial or Gen Z member who hasn’t heard of Bumble, the popular relationship-building app empowering women to make the first move in dating, friend-making, and networking. Bumble’s VP of Strategy Priti Joshi showed how the brand quickly gained a following and how they continue to expand it with innovative approaches to their product features, brand messaging, and target markets.
The main message in Priti’s keynote was that brands must balance the often conflicting approaches to run a business based on data and based on what you feel is right for your brand. As Priti said, “user feedback is integral to driving overall growth, but you need to choose what to incorporate based on your company’s North Star.”
This message rings true for all brands, as there is so much noise out there in the world of social media. By having the courage to do what’s right for your brand, you can stand out and achieve greater results than you could following every trend or datapoint. Focus on the data that aligns with your brand’s purpose and quickly pivot your strategies to take that into account.
Khoros Engage 2019 brought together digital leaders to discuss the topics that will continue to have real business impact throughout 2019 and beyond. We couldn’t have had such insightful conversations without all of our incredible attendees. Our host, Khoros SVP of Strategic Services Spike Jones, said it best in his closing remarks: “For us at Khoros, Engage is a source of pride. We thank you for joining us.”
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“It’s no secret that Khoros Engage is not just a conference,” said Spike Jones, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services at Khoros in his opening remarks. So, what caused 500+ busy executives and managers from brands including USAA, Google, and Facebook to fly into Austin? I wouldn’t fault you for thinking it was for the breakfast tacos; they are mighty good. But the truth is, Khoros Engage truly is “a family reunion.” Everyone came to discuss the state of the union for digital customer experience today.
Although many topics were discussed at Engage, this article dives into some key takeaways that can benefit all digital customer engagement professionals in their effort to create customers for life.
Brands win by leading in digital customer engagement
Khoros CEO Jack Blaha and CMO Katherine Calvert discussed the extremely high expectations of modern customers, in a new normal where brands are either “loved, or left.” This is true for every brand, across every industry, around the world. Whether you are a B2C or B2B brand, it’s vital to recognize that your customers have moved on from the days of being impressed by the best product. We’ve moved on to a new frontier: the relationship age . Today people buy from the brands that create and maintain a strong relationship with them.
So how can your brand stand out in the areas your customers care about? It starts with taking a hard look at where you’ve fallen short. For example, 88% of brands think they are engaging with customers at every point of need, but only 15% of customers say they regularly see brands engaging with them. To learn the most common divides between brands and customers, read our recent report created in partnership with the Forrester Consulting Group.
But being a digital leader doesn’t just mean adapting how your brand operates, it means adapting your own mindset. #1 New York Times Bestselling author Erik Qualman shared several great habits that will come in handy for every digital customer engagement professional looking to improve in their role. One of the most important ways is to develop a “not-to-do list”, or at least, a “not-to-do-yet list”. As Erik asked the crowd: “What’s the one thing that, if you do it well, will make everything else easier or unnecessary?” By determining that one thing, you can know what to attack first and control your urge to multi-task (which, real talk, often causes you to be unproductive).
Paid and organic social media are better together
Some things are just better together, like Spredfast and Lithium (shameless plug: check). Although organic and paid social media can seem to be at odds with each other, the truth is they are both equally important — and together can bring better results than they could individually.
Paid social media is vital for getting your products in front of your prospects and customers today. As National Instruments Social Media Strategist and Global Program Manager Danielle Stapleton put it, “we work in a pay-to-play world.” At the same time, today’s social media users still actively seek out knowledge from others and likely always will, as “social media’s roots are in community.” The organic value of people reading peer comments about your products and seeing how you value customers will never go away. These two types of social media aren’t complicated, and they are both here to stay, as Danielle illustrated with one of her favorite tweets:
Another great takeaway came from Cigna’s Global Social Media Manager Kristel Vite, who showed that organic content can be effectively repurposed for paid ads. Citing Cigna’s Body-Mind Connection campaign , Kristel described how the brand created a video with the help of Queen Latifah, Nick Jonas, and Ted Danson, which all three stars shared on their social media channels. This strategy netted the brand 5.4M+ earned views across owned and talent social media channels. Then, Cigna put money behind personalized content related to the campaign for their prospects. With creative approaches like this, brands can raise awareness and influence acquisition to a greater extent.
Proving the ROI of customer engagement is possible
Is there any social media manager out there who’s never had a mini panic attack when asked to show the business results of their work? In a room packed wall-to-wall, digital leaders from Synchrony and SAP shared exactly how they prove ROI, with numbers. Yes, numbers. And not the vanity kind.
Note that proving ROI will look different for every brand as they each have unique goals for social media. But in doing so, more investment can be secured in the channel. Here are some of the exact KPIs the panelists use in their organization to prove ROI.
How Synchrony’s VP of Social Media Nicole Johnson proves ROI:
Greater awareness for what the brand is and what they do in third-party studies
Positive share of voice
Relevant share of voice
Faster average time to acquire customers
How SAP’s Senior Director of Product Marketing Kosta Triantafillou proves ROI:
Positive brand sentiment shown in survey results, including NPS
Lower cost per acquisition
Shorter path to acquisition
Becoming a digital leader doesn’t happen overnight, and once it’s achieved, brands must continue to find and execute new ways to deliver a better experience for their customers, in order to meet their ever-growing expectations. As Samsung’s Senior Vice President of Customer Care Michael Lawder said, “the world is changing, and today, customer expectations are not set by competitors, but by every interaction that customers have with the brand they like most.”
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How well does your business leverage social media to provide a great customer service experience? A Smart Insights study found that 80% of companies believethey deliver exceptional customer service on social media, yet only 8% of customers seemed to agree. Sure enough, the same study found one in three customer complaints are completely ignored.
Keeping up with the growing number of social media users isn’t easy for businesses. According to Brandwatch , about 3.5 billion people actively use social media and that number is increasing every day.
When used efficiently, social media offers the ability to provide exceptional customer service and increase brand loyalty. The challenge, however, is that many companies don’t understand a core element of using social media: the difference between social media monitoring and social media listening. For companies that do understand both of these concepts, many are only utilizing one when they should be incorporating both for a well-rounded social media strategy.
In this post, we're going to dive deep into the differences between social media monitoring and social media listening. By understanding each concept, your business can improve customer interactions on social media and better understand which issues matter to your audience. If you’d like a refresher on customer expectations and care best practices before reading on, check out our Digital Customer Care Playbook .
What is social media monitoring?
Think of social media monitoring as a brand’s customer support over social media. With social media monitoring, a customer care representative monitors the social media platforms your business engages on and responds to customer posts. Businesses should also monitor mentions where a tag isn’t used, as some customers will name the business without linking.
Generally, there are three types of posts people in charge of social media monitoring are responsible for responding to:
Let’s say you run an airline, and a customer tags your brand name on social media to find out the cost of extra luggage. A business utilizing good social media monitoring practices will quickly reach out to that customer with relevant pricing data and other information. The customer may have follow-up questions, so the representative should stick around and ask if there’s anything else they can assist with.
2. Issues or complaints
In the same example, imagine the customer is later upset because the plane did not offer free in-flight wifi. In today’s connected world, airlines must learn how to address issues quickly to defend their brand . Leaving issues unattended is like choosing not to pick up the phone at a customer support center, except this is worse because other users will see that your business ignores customers. To avoid this, businesses use social media monitoring to quickly respond to customer complaints. The response and action vary by business and situation, but it’s important to remain calm and polite even in cases where the customer is at fault.
The airline in this situation could respond to the upset customer by telling them the wifi cost was listed on the flight’s page. However, this could generate backlash from users on that social media platform who perceive the response as rude. Instead, the airline could better handle the situation by apologizing that the information was not clearly communicated and tell the customer what steps they’ll take to prevent this issue from happening again. Depending on the severity of the situation, a business may also offer discounts or vouchers as a last resort to help reconcile with the upset customer.
3. Positive feedback
Keep an eye out for the positive comments people post about your business as well! Too often these posts are ignored because businesses don’t see a reason to act, but not replying is like hanging up on a thankful customer without saying anything. Best social media monitoring practices say you should promptly respond to the customer with some variation of: “We’re happy to have helped; please let us know if there’s anything else we can do to further assist you...”
For example, the image below shows how an apartment complex responded to someone who posted a positive review after visiting the property. The message is timely, personalized, and genuinely expresses gratitude towards the reviewer for sharing their feedback. These thank you messages will leave your customer with a positive experience that ultimately helps strengthen brand loyalty.
What is social media listening?
Social media listening involves pulling data from all social media platforms to see how customers are interacting with your business . This process is much more complex and time-consuming than social media monitoring, which is why few businesses are properly utilizing social media listening to better understand their audience.
Although there are several facets to social media listening, the three most important things to do are:
1. Track social mentions
Social media monitoring is a part of social media listening, so track the mentions you get while responding to customer inquiries and incorporate the data into an audience report. Tracking mentions where the business isn’t tagged is especially important with social media listening, as the data is still relevant even if a response isn’t required. In fact, you may want to look at mentions to your competitors and industry as a whole, even if your business isn’t named.
The point is to gather information about your audience, such as:
Which platforms are used most by your audience?
How frequently is your brand mentioned?
Which competitors get the most mentions?
Is your industry actively discussed?
With this information, you can generate insights that will help you better understand your audience and the state of the market as a whole.
2. Read conversations and content
Don’t just tally mentions, see what people are actually saying. Read conversations and content related to your brand and industry so you can know what your audience cares about. For example, look to see if your audience is consistently talking about something your business does.
If the feedback is positive, look at how you might be able to replicate what’s helping it do well in other areas of your business. In the case of negative feedback, acknowledge the issue and apologize for the inconvenience, take note that this issue is important to your audience, and think about what your company could do to improve. Negative feedback is challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to help someone in need and create loyalty. To learn more, read our blog post .
Look at what people are saying about your competitors as well, as this could help you capitalize on an area they struggle with, or see what people like about them and build upon their success with further improvements. Look at conversation threads on social media and blogs across the web to get a well-rounded perspective of how people are discussing your industry.
3. Implement changes based on feedback
After doing the research, it’s time to take action. The insights you find are only valuable if you’re actually going to take the time to implement changes that will better serve your audience.
For example, consistently answering the same question from different customers means there is a clear information gap that should be addressed. You could use social media monitoring to provide a short term solution by responding to these inquiries individually, but a better solution would be utilizing social media listening to recognize the issue and suggest adding the question to the FAQ section of your company’s website or online community .
So, what’s the difference between social media monitoring and listening?
Many businesses engage in some form of social media monitoring, but few take the next step by using social media listening to better serve customers through the implementation of changes based on audience insights.
Social media monitoring is a short-term solution by reacting to what your audience is saying, such as responding to a customer complaint. Social media listening is a proactive process that aims to create a long-term solution by making changes derived from audience insights, such as fixing an issue people complained about so more people don’t have the same problem.
Research from MarketingSherpa shows 95% of 18 to 34-year-olds follow brands on social media, so having a well rounded social media strategy is essential for businesses looking to connect with audiences. Don’t miss out on opportunities to engage with your audience and strengthen brand loyalty.
See how Khoros helps the world’s leading brands to excel on social media with our advanced and easy-to-use Customer Engagement Platform . And if you’d like to learn more about delivering exceptional support, read our whitepaper: Digital Customer Care Playbook .
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We are Khoros . Fifteen years ago our legacy companies, Spredfast and Lithium, both grew their roots in Austin, TX, and we’ve grown quite a bit since. Our city is world-famous for its live music and BBQ — but September 9 -11, digital leaders are taking over. Let us introduce you to Khoros Engage .
Khoros Engage will bring together digital customer engagement professionals for three days of networking, keynotes, workshops, and, expanded due to popular demand — product training sessions. Our mission is to help you be all-ways connected with your customers — to know who they are, what they want, and how you can meet them wherever and whenever they want to connect. At the Fairmont Austin Hotel, we’ll be joined by the industry’s most innovative minds including Bumble’s Chief Brand Officer Alex Williamson and #1 Bestselling Author of Digital Leader, Erik Qualman.
We know this is going to be a great event, but don’t just take our word for it:
“There are some conferences that just aren't worth sending my team to. This isn't one of them." — Douglas Craig, Fandango’s VP Content Strategy & Programming
I n case you (or your boss) aren't convinced yet, here are the top three reasons why you should attend:
1. Understand the industry
Welcome to the fastest-growing tech city in America. Spend your time here chatting with industry leaders after hearing how our fellow-Austin based company, Bumble, built a digital community and brand affinity. Keynote speaker Alex Williamson (who was named to Brand Innovators’ “Women to Watch” in 2018) will address how Bumble communicates its vision and voice through content, social media, and customer service.
You can also expect fresh insights from author Erik Qualman, who will show you the strategic mindset you need to be a better digital leader. For a preview of Erik’s keynote, read our Q&A blog post about him here . Throughout the weekend you’ll get the chance to see the tech industry through different lenses, especially during breakout sessions, where companies will present several case studies relevant to customer engagement.
2. Make connections
Khoros customers and employees live all over the world — from San Francisco to NYC to London to Bangalore. While video chats are great, we are thrilled to get to talk in person. With more than 700 attendees from more than 300 brands making their way to Austin, Khoros Engage is an excellent opportunity to expand your network. Speak with a wide range of digital customer engagement professionals, from practitioners to executives, in every industry.
Although the scale of this event is large, our focus on small groups means you’re sure to make personal connections with attendees who are looking to network and share insights. With representatives from industry leaders like Google, Adobe, AAA, Fidelity, and eBay in the crowd, the opportunities for collaboration are endless (we can attest that great work can be produced over breakfast tacos).
3. Become a power user
We’ve loved hearing your excitement for our new Khoros customer engagement platform. More powerful than ever before, the Khoros platform offers you expanded capabilities not possible with Spredfast or Lithium alone. We realize that with new features and capabilities comes a learning curve.
At Khoros Engage , Khoros customers can sign up for one of our three product training sessions , held on Monday, September 9. Each training session will be led by the Khoros product enablement team and centered on our three solutions: Care, Marketing, and Community. Customers who attend Community training will also gain Community Manager Certification II.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to join roundtable discussions in our workshops and our case study breakout sessions. Workshops will provide you with the opportunity to discuss best practices with peers and breakout sessions will offer an in-depth look at successful case studies from companies in attendance.
We could keep going, but we think you see what we’re getting at.
We are excited for Khoros Engage and we are more excited to see you there. Learn more about all things Khoros Engage on the event website where specifics about the agenda, product trainings, pricing, logistics, and keynote speakers are available. Keep up with us on social media by following @KhorosLLC and using #KhorosEngage .
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