Monthly Archives: October 2010

Social Media and the World Series

Written by: Digitally Approved
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With tonight’s kick off of the 106th edition of the World Series, Fanscape wanted to take a quick look at how MLB fans and fans of other big events are getting in on the game, via social media. Jon Swartz of USA Today wrote a great piece about this today – talking about how Facebook and Twitter are changing the way fans watch the World Series.

The MLB is doing their part, having launched a mobile application – iPhone, Android and Blackberry – that already has been accessed close to 2 million times a day.  On Facebook, 12 million people are either a fan of the MLB itself or one of the 30 team pages. And, another 3 million fans follow MLB-related posts on twitter, which features up to the minute baseball news and information. In fact, Twitter is so popular between athletes of all sports that website Tweeting-Athletes.com has been created to help fans keep track of it all. These numbers are close to triple of what it was just a year ago.

It should come as no surprise that big sporting and entertainment events are becoming more popular and the conversation surrounding them has extended exponentially due to social media. The Super Bowl for example generated more than 60,000 tweets per hour during the February 7th broadcast and the Oscars, nearly doubled that amount of tweets, with over 100,000 per hour during this year’s awards ceremony. Both events were huge trending topics and both saw huge spikes in ratings over the previous year’s telecast, due in part to social media.

With advancements in social technology and online/mobile social networking, businesses aren’t the only ones seeing the advantages. Sports teams, leagues and professional athletes in particular are seeing the benefits of engaging with fans on this level and are investing more and more resources into it to help ensure a positive image that resonates with their fans.

Whoever you’re rooting for in this series, you will surely find thousands of like-minded fans, just a mouse click or tap of the mobile device away.

Tops in Community Management

Written by: Digitally Approved
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From Starbucks and Virgin America to Virgin America and GameStop, Fanscape has compiled some of the best examples of community management.

Starbucks

This is a company that completely understands the power of social media and the influence its supporters have on their brand. In addition to having one of the biggest followings on Facebook (over 15.1Million Fans to date) and over 1 Million on Twitter, Starbucks has its own idea generator community called My Starbucks Idea. The company also manages a number of other Facebook pages that cater to specific locals such as those in the Philippines, France and Argentina. In each platform the community managers actively engage customers, but also allow the customers to talk freely about their product.

Virgin America

Keeping customers informed about flight delays, special deals and issue resolution are at the top of the list for this airline. But it isn’t all they do to manage their community. The team has created an environment that mirrors the company’s exuberant nature and encourages the same enthusiasm from its fans. The managers seamlessly coordinate their efforts on Facebook, but if you really want the best, become a fan of their @VirginAmerica Twitter handle.

Bose

Community management has a lot of facets and you have to be able to balance them all in order to have a healthy community. One of the most important of these facets is maintaining great customer relations and the Bose community team is spot on. The company that specializes in the niche market of high-end noise cancelling headphones has taken to the Twitterverse (and Facebook) to ensure their customers remain happy. The information that is shared within this community inspires brand loyalty and the transparent nature of the customer communications creates brand evangelists.

GameStop

As referenced in our October Industry Newsletter, GameStop has one of the highest levels of online influence in the retail space. This is because the community manager speaks the language. Whether it’s responding to a poll, discussing the best games, or taking advantage of the daily deals, the GameStop community has become one of the most active in the retail space.  GameStop is one of our clients and we are very proud of the work they are doing.

Sony PlayStation

At Sony PlayStation they not only seek out ways to engage the community they’ve fostered around their brand on multiple platforms (their Facebook page, their regular blog updates, their @Playstation Twitter handle, etc.), but they even introduce new ways to take advantage of the type of communication they see from their audience. Playstation.blog.share, for instance, is an initiative they started to give the PlayStation community a venue to suggest new software features and influence the future direction of the brand. Since launching the site in June, the community has already suggested nearly 5,000 new ideas and seen nearly 1.5 million interactions to date.

Radian6

For a company that gets paid for monitoring the conversations of its clients, Radian6 makes a big impact in taking care of its own community. Headed by Amber Naslund, its set of community managers are at the forefront of thought leadership – discussing such topics as redefining community management, B2B Social Media, Program Execution, Nurturing Leads and everything in-between. Radian6 showcases some of the best in knowing your audience and creating content that is designed specifically for them. In addition to it’s highly-effective blog, Radian6 utilizes its @Radian6 Twitter handle to help distribute the content and to further connect with its community.

Skittles

Much like Virgin America, the community managers at Skittles know their audience. In a relatively short period of time Skittles has gone from a delicious bag of rainbow goodness to a social media powerhouse.  Everything they do is surrounds the “rainbow” of colors the Skittles brand represents. The great thing about their community is that they are not all about pushing marketing messages and they allow for a great deal of fan engagement. One only needs to go as far as the brand’s Facebook page to see that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Content is king and this community encourages as much of it as possible. This approach has endeared the brand to its legions of fans.

Hotels.com

Hotels.com has made quite a splash this year in social media. The online hotel retailer’s community managers have delivered timely and relevant content that not only includes deals and resources, but also encourages feedback through engaging questions and topics and blog posts. The community’s involvement directly effects future content, as the community managers pay close attention to what their fans and followers are saying. This loyal online following is growing because fans see that they are shaping the direction of the community, and that they aren’t being  force-fed information. (Full disclosure: Hotels.com is  Fanscape client)

Fanscape talks about community management

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Responsible for talking directly to your customers online, Community Managers are at the epicenter of your social strategy. We sat down with two Fanscape staffers, James Cobo and Charles Ryan, to talk about community management; guiding principles, challenges and evaluating a successful community.

Fanscape: How would you define Community Management?

James Cobo: Community management can take many forms – social property management, managing a profile on a high-value message board, etc. – but ultimately it all comes down to acting as a liaison between a client and the social sphere they’re looking to reach.

Charles Ryan: I would define community management as the being the voice/mediator/ultimate champion of the brand and its fans all rolled into one. Not only does one have a role in developing the fan base and meeting a company’s goals of fan count, participation, and exposure; but to also foster a community that is excited to be there and organically grow.

Fanscape: What are your guiding principles in great community management?

JC: Always try to side with the community; while client advocacy is obviously the “job” part of community management, the only way to reach people in the social space is to come from the same point of view as them, and with very few exceptions they’re always going to put their own interests ahead of the client’s. In that same vein, always try to contribute to the community when communicating with them; do your best to add to the dialogue rather than simply dropping in the client’s messaging and moving on to the next one.

CR: There are five I live by:

  • Great customer service – prompt, compassionate, and ready to follow up
  • Loyalty – stay true to the brand’s principles
  • Taking chances – reach out to fans/customers who have shown their love for the brand
  • Consistency – in communication schedule and messaging
  • Growth – an interest in growing the community, both population-wise and interactivity

Fanscape: With regard to Community Management, what are some of the things that you do on behalf of our clients?

JC: The primary job duties associated with community management include researching & evaluating communities to identify which ones are most relevant to the client’s goals, then establishing & maintaining a presence on those communities.

Fanscape: What are some of the biggest challenges community managers face?

JC: The primary practical challenge community managers face on a daily basis is easily having to conform to the predefined standards of the community you’re reaching out to. Some communities are aggressively moderated and will edit or delete a post with even the slightest hint of messaging regardless of relevance. Others have stringent rules governing access to board functionality such as quoting other users, hyperlinking, and even permission to post in the first place.

Can you reference other companies and brands that do a great job with community management (based on your principals of great community management)?

JC:  At Sony PlayStation they not only seek out ways to engage the community they’ve fostered around their brand on multiple platforms (their Facebook page, their regular blog updates, their Twitter handle, etc.), but they even introduce new ways to take advantage of the type of communication they see from their audience. Playstation.blog.share, for instance, is an initiative they started to give the PlayStation community a venue to suggest new software features and influence the future direction of the brand. Since launching the site in June, the community has already suggested nearly 5000 new ideas and seen nearly1.5 million interactions to date.

CR: I love what we are doing with GameStop and that has a lot to do with our team and James who serves as the Community Manager. There are a few others that I really like, mainly because of their content and the fact that they have found and embrace their niche community – Skittles and YouTube.

James Cobo is Fanscape’s Manager of Social Media Marketing and Charles Ryan is a Community Manager.