If your train is wrecked, you need to fix the train

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

Train wrecks

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 Sparebank 1 loves mistakes!

“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. 

How to create a greenhouse for trolls

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.

So simple, yet so genious

Cecilie TS

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.

Personal relation

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.