industry update

NetBase Live Social Media Conference Recap

November 1, 2018

On October 24th-25th, Heartbeat had the pleasure of participating in two days’ worth of social listening insights hosted by NetBase, one of the largest social listening platform providers in the world. The conference not only highlighted the value of their platform, but the speakers left us with some key takeaways around crisis situations and social storytelling/brand authenticity.

Social Crisis Management

Effective crisis management in social media comes to down to proper identification and planning. Social media crises can move/escalate quickly across mediums and is ultimately a make-or-break moment to respond and protect brand reputation. It can be as simple as something going wrong during a tweet chat or something more serious like an incident offline that connects back to the brand.

Case study 1: Last year, United Airlines faced a crisis involving social media coverage of a doctor being forcibly removed from a plane that was overbooked.

The incident: Dr. Dao refused to give up his seat after being asked to vacate in order to create space for United employees. Videos of Dr. Dao being forcibly removed from the plane and being physically injured garnered millions of views on the internet.

What went wrong: Aside from Dr. Dao’s clear mistreatment by the airline, the response from the CEO on social media was also delayed and tone deaf, which made the situation even worse.

Why it matters: Due to this outrageous incident and the subsequent inadequate response, United’s reputation and business suffered reputational damage.

Case study 2: A second example of a recent social media crisis comes from Adidas.

The incident: Earlier this year, Adidas sent an email to customers after the Boston Marathon with a subject line that read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”

What went wrong: Out of context, the line itself seems harmless, but given the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the outrage in response to the email was swift and widespread on social media.

Why it matters: Adidas released a quick and genuine apology to mitigate the crisis, but the incident continued to impact how the brand was viewed by some customers, as demonstrated by a number of responses on social media following the incident.

Despite the work required to identify and prepare for a social media crisis, engaging with audiences on a daily basis is becoming increasingly important and can really build and protect the identity of a brand.

3 key takeaways: In the face of crises like these, it’s important to have a plan in place that everyone on the social media community management team is aligned to which allows them to handle issues in a timely manner. So how can you plan for these unplanned moments?

1. Review your plan for responding on social, i.e. determine what the immediate action items are, who should be informed, how the situation should be monitored, and define which scenarios require an active response.

2. Devise a practice scenario to train team members in basic responses and challenge your team on how to improve the flow of responses.

3. Establish rules for engagement during the crisis, i.e. determining when to use a non-brand spokesperson or when to make single statements versus responding to individual comments.

Brand Relatability and Audience Engagement on Social

The conference also highlighted the importance of shifting how brands relate to their customers through social media content. Brands have a tendency to forget that their customers are in search of content they can connect with and it shows. In a survey by Survata for Sprout Social, 70% of users were irritated by a brand’s disingenuousness on social and 51% unfollowed the brand as a result. In order to change this, it’s important for brands to focus on what makes their customers human.

For example, in Go Daddy’s new online series the “School of Hustle,” they highlight entrepreneurs of various backgrounds and the lessons they have learned through their ventures. Connecting their audience with real entrepreneurs with relatable experiences is an important aspect of Go Daddy’s content and engagement strategy and is generating more social buzz while redefining their brand.

Another brand that has generated social buzz with an authentic campaign is Reebok. This past year, Reebok relaunched its “#BeMoreHuman” campaign with a focus on female empowerment. The campaign featured artists and athletes such as Ariana Grande, Danai Gurira, and Nathalie Emmanuel, but the brand also vowed to donate profits from limited edition shirts to the Movement Foundation and the Women’s Strength Coalition.

2 key takeaways about storytelling:

1. Authentic storytelling fosters more intimate relationships with audiences, who then derive more meaning from the brand.

2. Designing for engagement with the audience encourages transactions that are mutually beneficial and have a positive feedback cycle that feeds both audience appreciation and brand reputation.

Although pharma faces heavy regulations, it is uniquely positioned to create content that is compelling and resonates with customers who are also patients. By allowing values surrounding health and wellness to come to the forefront, pharma brands are able to build a lasting and meaningful connection with their audience.