Helping member pioneers and local causes get to grips with social

The Social team has been running online tutorials to help colleagues, new member pioneers and people from local causes use social media to create a community.

You can join our tutorial about Facebook communities on Thursday 6 July from 5pm.

Working together

Part of a member pioneer’s role is to get people talking about what matters most in their local community through meetings and events, and to encourage people to volunteer and co-operate on worthwhile causes.

My role as part of the Social Media team has some similarities. Our team’s purpose is to spread the word and encourage people to engage with their Co-op, but we do it online rather than down the local community centre. It made sense that our team shared some of our online community management skills with the new member pioneers. We wanted to help them promote their work and talk about what being a co-operative means in a wider sense.

Figuring out how we could help

The Social Media team met our member pioneers at their induction day to get a feel for how we could help them. We wanted to speak to them to find out their level of knowledge around social media before we spent time and money on designing training materials we thought they might need.

Photograph of a table with post it notes with notes from member pioneers written on them. Notes include: 'when to use @ handles' 'can we use co-op in the account name' and 'what can we use asset wise on social?'

The things they wanted to know more about were:

  • which social channel is the right one for them or their cause
  • how to set up a new Twitter account
  • how to find people in their community on Twitter and who to follow
  • what ‘trending’ means
  • what type of thing they should tweet
  • what a hashtag is and how to use one
  • how to get started with local PR

Live broadcast tutorials

When we knew where member pioneers needed support, we could put together tutorials to help. We’ve been hosting them on YouTube Live then making them available on YouTube for anyone who missed out.

We broadcast our first tutorial ‘Getting started on Twitter’ a few weeks ago and welcomed around 30 live viewers including colleagues, member pioneers and people from local causes. People could ask us questions in the live chat as we were going along and we’ve had over 400 views of the recording too.

Our second stream was about ‘Creating content to share with your community’. In it, our social media content planning manager, Cat Storey, talked about what makes good content and how to present it.

You can watch these videos on our YouTube playlist and give us feedback to help us improve.

Join our social community of practice

We’d like to keep the conversation about effective ways to engage with people going. We listened to member pioneers and set up a Facebook group where we can chat and share advice and ideas. If you’re a member pioneer or work closely with one of our local causes, join our social community on Facebook. Hear from you soon.

Scott Bennett
Social media community manager

Join our tutorial about Facebook communities on Thursday 6 July from 5pm.

How listening to social media could influence decision making

Social media is an important space for us to learn more about how our online communities feel about us. By listening to, and sometimes joining in with, conversations about the Co-op we can glean valuable insights about what matters most to our members and customers. And that’s really important in a cooperative.

Talking policy

The Social Media team has begun working with our Food Policy team to group online mentions into related topics. The idea behind the collaboration is that we’ll make more informed policy decisions the more we listen.

We’ve started splitting mentions into the different areas of policy. They are:

  • Agriculture – anything to do with farming and how crops and animals are raised and looked after
  • Diet and health – this one’s self-explanatory!
  • Sustainability – mentions about any impact on the environment
  • Ethical trade – things to do with workers’ rights
  • Safety and legislation with Co-op or anyone affiliated with us

Listening in

Using a social media listening tool called Brandwatch, we’re picking up instances when people are talking about Co-op and our grocery competitors. Brandwatch crawls over 80 million sources, including social media and newspaper websites, looking for mentions based on a set of rules we’ve written called a Boolean query.

For example, the query that helps us pick up conversations and content related to ethical trade about Co-op and our competitors, reads like this:

screen grab from Brandwatch. the rules says:

Writing rules similar to this one for each of the policy topics has helped us pick up 56,378 mentions since the new year. That figure includes things about our competitors as well as things about our own grocery business.

We’re listening. Now we can start learning

We’ve begun to analyse the data. During #FairtradeFortnight in March, Co-op announced our commitment to 100% Fairtrade cocoa in all own brand products from May 2017. The announcement was a big deal and we saw it dominate online conversation related to ethical trade during those weeks. In fact, Co-op represented 50% of the conversation while our grocery competitors combined made up the other 50%.

The orange line represents daily conversation about Co-op and ethical trade so far in 2017. The other lines represent conversation about our competitors and ethical trade. This shows that when it comes to mentions related to ethical stuff which is part of our co-op difference, we really dominate.

graph shows Co-op to have generated far more mentions than competitors from around 20 Feb to 13 March.

It’s really useful to know how people are talking about us and when we come up in conversations. It means we can shape our approach to content and even future policy so we can meet our customer and members needs better.

Genuine feels

We’re going to start looking at sentiment on social so we can categorise mentions as being positive, negative or neutral. Sentiment software, including Brandwatch, can struggle to recognise sarcasm or slang and that means a user’s genuine feelings might not be picked up. We’re looking at ways to stop sentiments being categorised incorrectly so we can feel more confident in the results.

Where we’re going with it

We’re also going to be working with the data science team to see if there’s a correlation between membership recruitment or membership card transactions and spikes in conversation across social channels.

The more we listen, the more we’ll learn. The more we learn, the better the decisions we’ll make for our members and customers.

You can follow Co-op Digital on Twitter and add to the conversation. We’re listening!

Sophie Newton
Social media community manager

The importance of online communities in a co-operative

Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day, a day for social media community managers across the world to share our experiences with our community of practice. Today seems like a good day to introduce ourselves and explain what community managers do at the Co-op. Here we are: Catherine Storey, Ian Ferguson, Jordan Mcdowell, Scott Bennett and Sophie Newton.

Head shots of our five community managers: Catherine Storey, Ian Ferguson, Jordan Mcdowell, Scott Bennett and Sophie Newton

Managing Co-op communities

Let’s start with the ‘community’ part. Community is at the heart of Co-op and we talk about it often. Co-op members choose a cause in their local community and we give that chosen cause 1% of whatever a member spends on our own-brand products. We often think of communities as groups of people doing a similar thing or sharing an interest around where we live, but many of us are part of online communities too. If you use Twitter, Instagram, write blog posts or join a Facebook group, you’re engaged in some way in an online community, formed around common interests.

The ‘manager’ part of the role title comes from how we work with online communities. Our communities are generally made up of 3 types of people: colleagues from across the business, members and customers. We’re responsible for finding, nurturing and listening to the online communities that are speaking about Co-op products, services and the ways we work. By asking the right questions, listening to and collating community feedback we inform business decisions.

Talk to us. We’re listening

Listening to online communities is an important thing for all businesses, but, as a co-operative it’s essential that we give our members a voice and they have a say in how we’re run.

Our hashtag #shapeourcoop has been a really useful way of talking and listening to members and customers before feeding back to decision makers. During the AGM in May we took questions from our Twitter community and Richard Pennycook our Chief Executive; Allan Leighton, Chair of the Group Board and Nick Crofts, President of the Members Council answered them in real time.

It’s noisy out there!

In 2016 over 280,500 tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts and other social media posts were sent direct to our social channels. There were over 2 million mentions of our Food business on social media overall. So, there’s a lot of chatter to listen to and engage with.

We’ve created new conversations across social platforms. Our #TwitterTeaParty inspired online communities with ideas for mother’s day celebrations. We trended internationally for 12 hours, had 2010 mentions directed at our channels and made 56 million impressions. We also had a lot of tea and cake.

More recently at Christmas time we were involved in #ReverseAdvent, an existing trend on social media. We provided ‘packs’ (goody bags) to hundreds of people, helping them give back to their local communities. The hashtag was seen on social media over 77 million times during advent.

What we’re working on now

At the moment we’re working out ways we can have meaningful conversations with members and non-members about things that really matter to them. Once we find out, we can figure out if there’s a way that Co-op can help champion them. In the past this has included conversations about Co-op’s Ethical Framework, tackling loneliness and social isolation with British Red Cross and we have lots more coming up.

Don’t just watch this space – get involved!

You can join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and follow The Co-op blogs.

Sophie Newton
Social Media Community Manager

Ian Ferguson – social media community manager

I’m so pleased to welcome Ian to the social media team. Ian’s a Community Manager, responsible for helping our Co-op better understand online social communities, having spent the best part of his early career helping others do the same.

A Picture of Ian Ferguson - social media community manager
Ian Ferguson

Communities are important to Co-op, because we’re co-owned by over 5 million members, who each live in local communities where we operate Food stores and Funeral homes. But, increasingly we’re all forming communities online too, ones that transcend geographical boundaries and instead form around common interests and ideas.

It’s Ian’s job (and Scott’s, Sophie’s and Catherine’s) is to to find relevant online communities, understand them and introduce them to our Co-op, as well as to keep talking and listening to our existing members. The two-way dialogue we can have on social media means we can welcome more and more people, their thoughts and ideas into our Co-op.

Welcome to the team, Ian.

Jordan McDowell
Senior Social Media Manager

New Membership and social media

Just like our Membership contact centre, our social media community management team have been busier than usual with the launch of our new membership. We’ve been helping thousands of members and customers understand more about it since it launched on 21st September.

Our team are based in Manchester at 1 Angel Square and between us work 365 days a year (yes, Christmas day too) and have around 20,000 social conversations with members, customers, and colleagues each month. We’re not alone though, colleagues in our Food and Insurance customer service teams help us out too.

A picture of the social media team

Membership launch day saw our usual social inbox traffic increase by 80%, with members sharing which local cause they’d selected to receive their 1% with us. They were also asking us questions about how it all works.

The main topics of conversation we’ve been having with members, and the answers to their questions, are:

  • How do I nominate an alternate Co-op cause, to receive my 1%?

Our colleagues chose their community’s 3 Co-op causes for launch, but we’ll be asking members for their nominations on our next round of causes, very soon.

  • Where is my card and does my old card work in the interim?

All cards are being posted to members currently and will be with members by mid-October. Old cards work in the interim meaning the 5% and 1% is being earned already.

  • Does the 5% replace the dividend?

The 5% doesn’t replace the ‘divi’, membership points will still be accrued in the usual way on the total spend (not just Co-op branded products and services) and a ‘divi’ will be paid out again once our rebuild projects conclude in a couple of years.

  • How does the 5% and 1% work in independent co-operative society businesses?

The 5% and 1% can’t be earned on transactions with independent co-operative society businesses, but membership points still accrue. If that independent co-operative society makes an annual profit and pays a divi, it’ll be paid to members by us, on the independent society’s behalf.

I’ve been really excited by the level of intrigue among our members on social, members who perhaps hadn’t considered the Co-op as a different way of doing business before.

Members, like our colleagues, recognise something different is happening at the Co-op, and we’re just getting started.

Jordan McDowell
Senior Social Media Community Manager

The art of conversation generation

The art of conversation is a difficult one to master, but as Community Managers at The Co-op, we’re responsible for predicting and evaluating the direction and volume of conversation across social media – in real time. In short, we help turn social conversation around our brand into an asset.

So when it came to Valentine’s Day this year, the objective was clear. Co-op Food were going after breakfast. After all, we are your local convenience store with all you need for the perfect breakfast in bed, from freshly baked croissants to award-winning Prosecco, or even just some (Fairtrade) tea bags for a morning brew! It made sense.

Food Marketing, PR and the commercial teams worked on their above-the-live proposition, looping in the support of Channel 4’s Fred Sirieix from #FirstDates, and we in the Social Media Community Management team set about generating the right conversation, at the right time!

We had two simple objectives: encourage users to share inspiration beforehand and then share in real-time on the big day. We choreographed a strategy in two phases. Firstly we hit key online influencers (who we already know and love) with a surprise through the post – Truly Irresistible croissants, coffee, Valentine’s chocolate and some Hazelnut spread for a truly indulgent breakfast in bed. All this, ahead of the big day, as a taster for them and their audiences. This acted as a catalyst with the influencer community sharing their breakfast ideas in the week running up to Valentine’s Day.

Then we targeted consumers with the next batch ensuring their #LoveAtFirstLight breakfast box arrived on Saturday 13th, just in time for their Sunday morning treat where they gladly shared photos of their breakfast from bed, the beach and with their whole family too!

Co-op's valentine's conversation on 14th February (green) versus the grocery market's campaigns
Co-op’s valentine’s conversation on 14th February (green) versus the grocery market’s campaigns

Together these simple gestures helped Co-op Food become the #1 most talked about Valentine’s campaign within the UK grocery sector on Valentine’s morning. 20% of the day’s conversation was made up of our audiences sharing their breakfast in bed with us too. Our volume peaked at 11am and we then handed over the Valentine’s baton to the likes of Aldi, but our work as your local Co-op was done. We’d served breakfast in bed to the nation and it was delicious.



Find me on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

Or contact me by email

#doorstepchallenge, how we did it

You may have seen the #doorstepchallenge viral campaign that lit up our social feeds over Christmas, spreading a little seasonal warmth and love with the power of paying it forward.

Here at The Co-op, we jumped at the chance to demonstrate our purpose by getting involved in the social conversation whilst highlighting the affinity the challenge had with our Christmas TV advert for The Co-op Food too. Watch the advert here.

Here’s a short video about how we made #doorstepchallenge happen.

 


 

Find me on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

Or contact me by email