Social Goes International at Irish Internet Association Conference
Last week I had the pleasure of chairing a session on International Social Media as one of the breakout sessions at the Irish Internet Association Conference. Social Media by default is international so the session was really designed to raise awareness of the implications of deliberately targeting an international audience using social media and the structures needed.
The three speakers were Ciaran Doherty, e-marketing manager, Tourism Ireland, Colm Hanratty, editor and content manager, Hostel World and Blathnaid Healy, Content Manager, WorldIrish.com.
The Tourism Ireland experience with social media is a really good template for larger organizations looking to expand their international presence. They stuck to the main platforms with a particular focus on Facebook where they have in excess of 20 separate pages and now have over 750,000 likes. This is really impressive growth over 3 years and with that comes the structures needed to handle that volume of content generation in multi languages and engagement. In the centre of the Tourism Ireland customer engagement world is their enormous database and CRM, with email, website and contact centre forming the next radius. Social forms the next layer with less controlled platforms such a Trip Advisor forming the outside layer. With this in mind it makes perfect sense to utilise their call/contact centre to help manage the engagement and social outreach in conjunction with local offices. The local offices are crucial in ensuring the local context and the example used was that German audiences really like sheep to the point of dressing up as sheep for the St Patricks Day parade. ‘Industrialising the conversation’ is one term that Ciaran used to describe managing the scale of content needed. Lots of KPIs and measures are in place to test the quality of interactions and language used by the call centre staff to ensure quality but also to achieve a level of personal interaction. On app development, the organisation generally builds one app for deployment and localization for all markets. Their early experience has taught them to avoid Like-gating, where extra layers/barriers are put in front of the customer before they get to use the app, due to the high drop off rates. As expected there are processes and guides for all theses interacting with social media and content is seen as a process with full editorial calendars developed in advance. As Tourism Ireland do not have direct access to the final parts of the sales funnel – ie they promote Ireland as a destination but don’t sell products, measurement is tricker. Historically they have used likes/interaction as a measure but are now trying to pioneer SEAV (Search Engine Advertising Equivalent) which is a hybrid version of advertising equivalent that is sometimes attached to PR/media activity. Tricky thing to do. Ciaran gave lots of practical tips at the end of the presentation which should be visible below but I particularly liked the terms and approach to ‘Interaction Management’ covering ways to handle community responses from discussion ending comments called ‘Dee-Dum’ to ‘Focus’ where they bring conversation back to the main point. They also break interactions down into various headings and appropriate actions from comments/develop or respond to off topic spam/delete. Great to see a well thought out approach and lots to be learnt from them.
Ciaran presentation is on here on prezi. I missed the beginning of his talk but you can get a reasonable narrative with the audio below.