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

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#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

Community Management and Content Collation

The Community Management team are responsible for engaging with content posted onto Group, Food, Insurance, Legal and Colleague social channels. Engaging directly with any responses, whether positive or negative, means we have a great insight into what our community is talking about.

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This is why it’s vital we communicate with business units to have notice of what content is going out, giving us the opportunity to input suggestions based on current conversations with the community. Having this collected view of content being posted from all business units also helps us to ensure that we have the right amount of support to cover possible busy hours.

We’ve recently changed the process of content creation with certain BAUs, working with them in idea sessions and meeting regularly to go over upcoming content. These weekly meetings help us to also gain insight into what results the business units want to see. This could range from a post designed for the community to share or direct questions aimed to provoke conversation. Knowing this helps us to manage the conversation effectively and makes sure we have enough time to prepare responses and brief our team.

#NostalgiaFM

We were involved from an early stage during the production of #NostalgiaFM informed on all details that could affect our way of working, from how many posts were being promoted throughout the day, to the tone of voice the team were aiming for. Having this information helped us prepare brand responses that would engage the sophie blog 2community as well as plan possible surprises and delights to send out on the day. Overall this helped us to successfully engage in 700 positive conversations.

At the end of 2015 we improved our content scheduling by using Trello and Outlook Calendar in a more efficient way. Each week we check in on what all BAUs have planned and input this information into a Trello board. Having this integrated with Outlook ensures the team all have the ability to check the weeks’ activity from the diary on their phone. This agile way of working is simple but effective and helps us access the information we need on the go.


Sophie Newton, Social Media Community Manager – @thatssonewt

Engaging content marketing for complex industries

Delivering integrated content marketing campaigns in complex industries such as legal or financial services can often be challenging. You want to produce content which is useful but also engages with the user. Content marketing has seen a drastic change over the last few years where the direct sell is being avoided whilst appealing to your user’s interests and behaviours is key.

We decided to focus our efforts on a campaign around legal myths for Co-op Legal Services. Working with our PR and Social Media teams from the start was essential to deliver a joined up campaign. From commissioning research for the Press, working with the practice areas to answer common questions to defining a target audience for Facebook, all were vital.

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We knew legal misconceptions often divided opinion therefore a quiz felt like the appropriate tool to adopt. Appealing to people’s competitive sides proved to strike a chord as they instantly started sharing their scores on Social Media. Over 5,500 users completed the quiz overall which surpassed previous campaigns. 143,000 impressions were delivered on Facebook with 5,000 users engaging with the post.

A leading Legal IT website featured the quiz on their site as well as bloggers. All of which delivered traffic to the website.

A PDF download of the questions from the quiz with additional examples also achieved strong engagement with 40,000 views on Slideshare.

96% of the traffic from all sources to the campaign were new to the website. Put another way, we were engaging with people who had never visited the website before and we couldn’t think of a better introduction.

This proves that if you do your research, get under the skin of your audience and work collaboratively, you can deliver a results driven campaign. In this instance, the business was also presented to a new audience.

Going Viral for Christmas: #DoorStepChallenge and The Co-op Food TV Ad

#doorstepchallenge

This Christmas we launched our TV advert campaign for Co-op Food to critical acclaim from customers, colleagues and journalists who warmed to the heartfelt message of the simple adto look out for those in need in your community.

As well as ensuring our TV advert was broadcast across the main video social channels – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – social media had a specific part to play in making the content of the TV advert resonate online. Customers across the nation were inspired by the sentiment of our ad and took to their local streets to partake in the so-called #doorstepchallenge, bringing our TV advert’s treatment to life, and to social, in a way we could have only dreamed of! From this, we spied an opportunity to help kickstart the #doorstepchallenge and to help to demonstrate our Group purpose of “championing a better way of doing business, for you and your communities.”

We agreed to fund a set-amount for each of our 850 Community Pioneers, (store colleagues with hours set-aside in their working week to benefit the local community in which their store is based) in Co-op Food products for them to donate to a customer in-need in their store’s local community. In keeping with the spirit of the #doorstepchallenge, Pioneers were asked to deliver the shopping bag (in a Co-op Bag For Life, of course!) to the customers’ doors and take a snap to share on social media, helping inspire others to do the same!

And inspire they did, many Pioneers taking it upon themselves to donate more than was funded, by raising funds in their local stores and by partnering with other community organisations like British Red Cross, British Legion and local community charities.

Doorstep challenge
A simple idea, paired with the incredible enthusiasm and effort of our store colleagues, made for a wonderful contribution to social media conversation this Christmas, and the best way to bridge the gap between our TV ad and social media communities. What’s more, national conversation about #doorstepchallenge was dominated by Co-op above any other grocer, helping us solidify our place as the community focussed retailer among the pack!

#doorstepchallenge
Top mentioned tweeters and hashtags for Dec 2015

Find me on Twitter @jordanjmcdowell

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Social Media Forums for Angel Square colleagues

Hi, I’m Rebecca, the Co-op’s Social Media Campaign Manager. My job is to reach people on social media channels using owned and paid media.

Sharing knowledge and best practice is one of the main focuses of our Social Media team. For the last three years we’ve been holding forums for colleagues who want to keep up with all things social, and it’s great to see that there’s still real interest in these events.

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All content for the forums is produced in-house and we use them to share what’s going on in the world of social at the Co-op as well as updating on new channels, new advertising options and user trends. At previous events we’ve also had guest speakers from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and have hosted a blogger discussion panel with two mummy bloggers.

Latest learnings

Last week we held a forum in our Manchester Support Centre, 1 Angel Square.

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Gail, our Social Media Lead, was up first. She talked about the reintroduction of Google+, Twitter testing new multi-answer polls and Snapchat launching Story Explorer.

Next it was my area, campaigns. Sometimes we focus on individual campaigns, but this time we played a short film, created by Campaign Executive Ben, to showcase the range of activity since the last forum. Check it out below:

We like to revisit previous forum topics to show progress or share results. This time we looked at community management to show what the new team, headed up by Jordan our Senior Community Manager, has been up to since they joined. It was great to be able to share real results and promote the reasons why it’s good to use social media as an engagement tool, not just for broadcast.

Last but not least we had Fiona, our Content and Planning Manager, up to talk about using social media for thought leadership. We like to share valuable skills with the forum attendees so that they can apply these in their own social world. You’ll be pleased to hear that blogging was a key part of this section.

We always try to leave time at the end for a lively questions and answers session. We get asked some interesting questions which shows that people have really listened. This time we had a question around the use of ad blockers and how we think this might affect social media advertising results. We know that Facebook and Twitter users already have the option to hide individual adverts or hide all adverts from brands and that this negative response can be tracked (on Facebook only). We believe that the introduction of ad blocking technology will drive more of a focus on native advertising (in the newsfeed/ timeline) and as advertisers we have to make sure even more than before that our adverts are targeted well and contain relevant content.

So, that concludes a sneaky peak into the work we do on social at the Co-op. The forum is currently only held in our Manchester Support Centre – our goal for 2016 will be to get more of our colleagues involved. So watch this space!

Co-op Insurance Scoops Award

Last night we were crowned Digital Project Team of the Year at the Post magazine’s Data, Analytics & Technology Awards. Why? For delivering a project that made people smile – Nostalgia FM.

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Here in the Insurance Digital Team we love to create content that gives people a different perspective on our business and we have a lot of fun creating it.

Nostalgia FM launched on 14th September with a Twitter promoted trend, a big-bang on Facebook, and a very busy day (and night)! As midnight came we handed over the promoted trend baton to Starbucks and their pumpkin-spiced latte.

But not until we’d had over 1,000 shares and more than 700 conversations (people love to reminisce about their driving playlists – the cheesier the better).

It’s difficult to achieve standout in the crowded insurance market, so Nostalgia FM was created as part of our customer engagement strategy.

We love getting external acknowledgement for our social campaigns, especially as this award follows a recent Twitter case study on our summer #MessyMoments campaign and coverage in E-consultancy’s Best Social Campaigns.

We’ve got loads of stuff in the pipeline that we think you’ll love, so keep an eye on us – you’ll never guess what’s coming next!

You’ll find Nostalgia FM, along with our other fun stuff, at The Hub, Go take a look, you may be surprised at what you discover (bet you didn’t expect to see goats on an insurance site…)

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Chris Twigg – Customer Engagement & SEO Manager