The first post about what I’m actually interested in. So here we go :
Brands see you as a number.
They count how many times you visit a web site, they count how many times you’ve clicked ‘Like’ on their Facebook page. At the end of the day, you’re just a number. When a brand seems to be reaching out to you to help you with your query or to tell you how to do something, they don’t actually care about you. They’re just bolstering another number, a number they call ‘engagement’. So it’s all just a numbers game. In the grand scheme of the universe, who cares?
Except you should care. You invested your money into that brand. You’re supporting them and you clicked on the ‘Like’ button. They should give a damn about you because at the end of the day, you’re paying the bills for that fancy new building downtown. So why don’t brands see you for what you are? Why are you just a number and not a human being?
It’s something I like to call the growth dilution. When a company is small, it sees its customers as very important. It will put in a lot of effort to maintain good relationships with it’s clients because it is looking to grow. However, the downside of this growth is that customers that used to enjoy a lot of attention will find that the attention is being spread to other customers. Eventually systems will be put in place to manage expectations and client conversations. That, ladies and gentlemen, is where the proverbial shit hits the fan. Systems are amazing in that they cater for a general populations needs, but a system will never cater for an individuals personal needs. And so, the little company-that-could becomes the soulless corporate.
Along comes social media. Social media allows brands to begin having those conversations with clients again. To allow the customer to experience the ‘personal touch’. But there are three huge problems :
1. Most brands don’t understand social media, mistaking it for just another channel to push product.
2. Most brands are so bogged down in process and bean-counting that their customers are not seen as human beings.
3. Most brands are unwilling or unable to understand the basic principles of human relationships.
Brands believe they are experiencing great results in social media because ‘the numbers are up’, but very often this is the result of poorly targeted media which has driven people to ‘like’ a page based on false pretenses. Other brands believe they are doing well because ‘engagement’ is through the roof, but once again, engagement is a poor measure of how effective a social media community is.
So what are we supposed to measure?
We’re supposed to measure the contextual quality of the people we are bringing to our pages. We need to answer the question : Do I have the right fans?
I’ll go into detail on how to measure the right fans some other time, but for today I want to talk to you about DCS (Dynamic Conversation System). Most brands will ask a social media consultant for a ‘conversation plan’ or a ‘theme plan’. This is basically a list of themes that will be explored for a certain time period. This is a rather rigid approach to generating conversation and ‘engagement’ so it is probably best to avoid doing this.
The alternative approach is creating a DCS. A DCS is not a list of rigid themes. Instead it is a fully fledged brand personality chart.
What is a personality chart?
Every novel writer knows what a character sheet is. When writing a book, a good place to start is with a character sheet. The character sheet details a characters history, personality traits, interests, quirks and emotional states. Once the novelist has created character sheets for all the principle characters, the novelist can then think up situations to put his characters in. Using character sheets he/she can guess what the characters reactions will be and how they will adapt to their new situations.
That is exactly how a DCS works. A brands personality is mapped out and once that is done, it is no longer necessary to come up with themed conversations. The brand can react to its community in an organic fashion. It can react to news and ideas in an organic fashion. Conversations are no longer contrived. Best of all, the brands persona remains absolutely spot on character no matter what is happening in the community or the outside world. A DCS means better conversations with the community, better documentation for the community manager and a stronger brand identity.
So how do we build a DCS? What information do we need to do this? Keep your eyes here.