Engage London 2014: A Day of Insights & Smarter Social Marketing (Part 2)

In the shortest, but arguably most important section of the day, two brands with radically different social media teams explain how they have mastered social customer care.

Engage London 2014: A Day of Insights & Smarter Social Marketing (Part 2)

“Sales go up and down. Service Stays.”

KLM Social Media Hub Manager Robertjan Groeneveld has based the airline’s entire social strategy around this truism. At Engage London 2014, he emphasized just how serious brands need to be about backing those words up with action.

KLM Social Media Hub Manager Robertjan Groeneveld
KLM Social Media Hub Manager Robertjan Groeneveld

KLM is a major airline, with around 130 staff members on their social care team. That means that they are capable of backing up their gaudy guarantee: that they will respond to all customer inquiries within 60 minutes. The only problem, said Groeneveld, is that fast never seems to be fast enough.

They first transitioned their customer care efforts to social to handle the huge influx of incoming queries that came when Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano, erupted in 2010. But that effort was so successful that KLM remained active on social. In the almost four years since, they have extended their operations to include in-air Twitter service, as well as their famous Twitter service countdown clock. This doesn’t even account for their Facebook page, where 75% of customer inquiries originate.

KLM also offers deep social integration. Customers can log in to their website via their social profiles, and can even pay for their tickets on social. The whole essence of their operation – making service an immediately accessible, easy part of customers’ lives – drives their innovative choices. Back in 2010, customers were thrilled with KLM’s surprising response to their questions on social. Now, customers demand and expect immediate help.

So how does a social team without KLM’s substantial human capital respond?

Woolworth’s Rises Up

Sam Wilson, Woolworths

Sam Wilson, Digital Editor at Woolworths, was the day’s second-most cheered speaker on the CheerMeter.

Woolworths Digital Editor, Sam Wilson
Woolworths Digital Editor, Sam Wilson

And rightfully so. Wilson was personable throughout, exemplifying how brands need to remember that they are built by, and for, human beings (although brands themselves are not human, she later added, importantly). She began her presentation with the mandate she was given upon being hired – “do the things people like you do.” So, what did that mean?

For Wilson, that at least partly meant playing around. She instituted an “i <3 you more than…” campaign before Valentine’s Day, for instance, leveraging people’s tendency to engage with content that a) is relevant to a national discourse, and** b)** begs for them to take part, somehow. She also indulged in #badpunwednesdays on Twitter, that yielded such gems as “I Love You From My Head Tomatoes.” This both mentioned a Woolworths product (fresh produce) and showed that the interactive face of the brand was, indubitably, a person with just as corny a sense of humor as any given user.

Remember Sam Wilson’s Social Media Commandments! A marketing team is only as good as its creed.
Remember Sam Wilson’s Social Media Commandments! A marketing team is only as good as its creed.

But the most important lesson of the day was to remember not to try and control the conversation, even if your brand began it. Often, it is better to just remain a positive contributor or facilitator, rather than constantly try to redirect a conversation that has gone away from your original message. In a heartfelt moment that had attendees holding back tears, Wilson shared her company’s timeless example: when Nelson Mandela died, the choir Woolworth’s had contracted to surprise shoppers and sing “I Feel Good” flash-mob style instead sang Asimbonanga, a Mandela tribute written when the leader was jailed in 1987.

By acting as facilitators to a conversation, Wilson’s Woolworths team is able to remain socially devoted – even though they have 126 people fewer to staff their social feeds than Groeneveld’s social team does!

More Highlights Coming Soon!

Stay tuned to this blog for more coverage, video content, and highlights from Engage London 2014, including the last of the three sessions: Promote – the Advertising.

Engage London 2014 was by far our biggest event yet – and we’re thrilled to get such a warm and enthusiastic response to our speakers, product announcements, and the insights we helped deliver. A big thanks is due to all in attendance, and to our esteemed panel of speakers.

Social Media Analyst

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