Customers seldom attack the company regarding their social strategy. They complain about your bad trains, bad customer service or your meanness in general. Social Media amplifies the customer’s voice.
– Arnt Christian Scheele
Digital productions used to be an add-on to the general campaign, ending up not exploiting the strengths of digital media, but as a half product. Though this is changing, the same trend is present for social media: 5 % of the budget is used to create the social media product – at the end of the digital production.
NSB had enormous problems with their local trains, and therefore also got a tsunami of complaints on their Facebook page – about their bad trains – not about their social strategy. If you are evil, creating a Facebook page won’t make you less evil (NSB is not evil).
Conclusion: If your train is wrecked, you need to fix the train.
“Why not tell that we also make mistakes? I love negative news! Whenever one of our 6 000 employees does something wrong, I rejoice. It shows that there are people behind the logo. People don’t care about Sparebank 1 – but they care about people.
Christian Brosstad, Information Director, Sparebank 1
Negative is positive
“A few years ago, we dreaded telling about the many phishing mails. Now we proactively tell the users about these threats before they manifest in full.
Banks are no longer only a bank, but a media house. Big newspapers like VG read our blogs to get information for their articles. The old communication strategy is dead.”
The younger employees work totally different from most of the old work force, that hold unto the accumulated knowledge. The new generation love to share their knowledge. Give them freedom to share. They are royal. Treat them thus.
Ask the customer for help
Thank you for engaging, thank you for participating. Instead of denying the employees access to the social dialogue, we establish guidelines for how and what to talk with the users about.
Why Sparebank 1 is the best bank
What is the difference between Sparebank 1 and all the other banks? Nada. The difference is in the people and how they relate to the customers, which again concludes with the same as Elin Lind in NAV and Cecilie TS: It’s about people.
This is one of the articles published directly during each of the 20 minute speeches that are held during Social Arctic 2013 in Tromsø.
Elin Lind at NAV owns the first governmental Facebook page that has ever had success. During Social Arctic 2013 she shared the recipe on how to create a greenhouse for trolls and how to become the most popular Facebook page in the country.
In 2009, NAV tried to establish a Facebook page with the strategy “let’s just jump into it”. It became a green house for trolls. I believe the success of our current social strategy lies in the difference between the old and the new Facebook page. – Elin Lind, NAV
Elin started from scratch, this time with a strategy, and created a page for paternity pay, which was by far the most discussed topic in social media. Everyone who has children – you’ll understand.
We use most time to give answer requests. We don’t really push information. Without any hidden agenda, we simply provide service.
The plan is everything
Since the first approach of “fingers crossed” did not work, Elin established a social strategy for the paternity pay page, containing some of the following keywords:
- Language policy
- When and how to delete posts
- Dialogue vs Information:
Talk with, not to the user.
Niche vs the monster organization
We have almost three million customers. Creating one Facebook page for this amount of users is very hard. Therefore we decided to focus the attention on paternity pay. Internet is all about niche. Don’t believe me? Read Copyblogger on niches.
It’s all about people
As Cecilie TS said, let the user have speak with people that can talk with the user from their heart, rather than letting the communication advisor own the dialogue.
Four years ago, Cecilie TS had never touched Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. No wonder, really. Since Instagram didn’t exist then. She uses four keywords to tell her tale on how to relate digitally: text, timing, presence and time.
We are all humans (right?) Customers are people too. They want to speak to someone human, genuine. When texting on G+, Facebook or what more social services to be born, let your communication be genuine, not synthetic, dyed in your strategy, rather than copy-pasted from a document.
Why do people follow my Facebook page? Likes are good, but we want to know about your backstage life. Even if people follow your company’s logo over time, they really want to know who you are, how you think, what you drink and perhaps the color of your eyes.
Humor engages. Let it be – yeah you guessed it – genuine, not put on. If you are a funny-bunny by birth, use the humor to draw attention. If not, don’t try. People will realize you’ve been bluffing when they meet you in real life.
People want to be seen. If they’re not visible in your eyes, they won’t believe you. Building relations take time. Build relations rather than spewing out information.
You will fail
Sooner or later, things will go wrong. You will end up hurting or disappointing one or another. One of your employees will post something one late Saturday night – that should not have been posted. No wonder. You are human, right? Ask for forgiveness, that’s human.
How to succeed in social medias
People who succeed in social medias are people who see other people, as humans.
Disclaimer: This is my personal interpretation of the speech. I might have intentionally or unintentionally left out parts or details.
However, one day I faced reality. Met a light, so to speak. I read an article by a very wise guy, that basically said: We make websites to help the customer do their thing better. Now to validate in W3C. I was, like, WHAT?! I thought W3C validator was for the customer, and not the developer. I came to realize, however, that everything comes at a price. XHTML is by nature strict. X stands for XML, so to have valid XML, everything must be validatable. So without validation pass, XHTML made no sense.
I also got in contact with reality when I started validating big sites like google, microsoft and – hold your horses – the validator itself. And they all turned out invalid. Surprising, eh? I sent a mail to the developers of the validator, where they replied something like this: “eh, hehe, hihi. didn’t see that coming – oh the irony”.
The motivation of the validator is to make sure the sites follow W3C’s recipe for HTML5, XHTML, HTML 4.01 etc. The thing though is that many times it’s impossible to validate and do cool things at the same time. Many plugins and cross browser compatibility fixes actually break the validation.
Another fun motivation for validation is SEO and semantics. Semantics is a word that describes the addition of meaning to content, so that search engines, screen readers and other tools without (well functioning) human eyes can understand the meaning and importance of the content. However, it turns out that search engines don’t really care about validation. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about semantics, but not validation. Read this article to gain more insight. This topic is however religion. And you will find many SEO expert calling this heresy.
So, to conclude this essay: Validation is mostly never relevant to user experience. I will run the validator and fix relevant errors, but I will not make the site validate.
Some sites that do not validate:
Well, in fact, to me, debugging PHP has been an ugly mess. I know this probably is because I just think I know how to program PHP. Really good programmers interpret the feeling of the server by holding their hand over the screen and analyzing the heat pattern that emits from the irritated pixels.
But to us normal, deadly developers, we need help. Help is found at www.phperror.net, a simple class that outputs beautiful error messages. Not only beautiful, but also very, very informative. Play the video, download the class, and become a happy debugger!
I am of variable height, but I really want to be centered on the screen. Can you do it?
Jørgen Winsnes is one of the brightest designes I know. He recently asked me to make him some fancy hover effects that he wanted to make a standard on EVERY project (so he said). Specifically, he wanted the underline on a link to grow from left to right and then disappear to the right when hovering.