Community Management – exciting, hard work, dedication, enjoyment & fun!

Hi! My name is Jerry and three weeks ago I started as a Community Manager at Headstream. It has been an exciting three weeks for me so far, having worked in Sales & Marketing for the majority of my career it has definitely changed my way of thinking about the Marketing industry. Joining such an exciting team has allowed me to share my ideas, enthusiasm and passion. However, more importantly what the team has taught me over this 3 week period is getting me more and more excited about being a Community Manager.
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iab blog: Was #StormSWT the making of rail operator’s social customer care?

South West Trains used Twitter to keep its community well informed and even better engaged during the recent storm that hit the UK.

My post about how it all went down has gone live on the IAB blog.

SWT Signal Down #StormSWT

Image source: @SW_Trains

P&O Cruises unfurls social media campaign to share celebration of 175 years of heritage

P&O Cruises celebrates 175 years of heritage today with The Grand Event. For the first time, all seven ships in the P&O Cruises fleet will sail from their home port of Southampton.

To mark The Grand Event, we’ve created two social media applications for the P&O Cruises website and Facebook page to allow fans on ship, on shore, and at home to take part in the celebrations and share their shipboard memories and dreams.

P&O Cruises Postcard Memories’ has been created for the longstanding P&O Cruises community. Fans can upload their cruise ship memories to a dedicated timeline, creating a place to celebrate all that they love about P&O Cruises. Anyone can browse the timeline, filtering the postcards by ship and year.  The timeline runs as far back as each ship’s lifetime.

P&O Cruises Photo Mosaic’ is aimed at a broader audience and invites people to upload a picture of themselves to become part of a large anniversary photo mosaic. This allows people who may not have yet travelled with P&O Cruises to get involved in the celebrations.

We’ve also built a social media dashboard to sit on the dedicated 175th Anniversary website.  The dashboard will pull in all social media mentions of the #GrandEvent – from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in real-time; allowing people to follow from their computer, tablet or mobile.

P&O Cruises head of digital marketing Claire Hazle said, “P&O Cruises has such a fascinating heritage with a truly engaged passenger community. Celebrating 175 years of heritage is as special for them as it is for us. The team at Headstream has created something that really celebrates this community feeling and allows our fans across the world to get involved in the celebrations.”

“Engaging our community through social as well as traditional channels is vital for us. It is a key part of our marketing and customer engagement activity, helping us to increase brand awareness and build valuable relationships with our current and future customers.

The social media activity will peak in line with Tuesday’s Grand Event, but the postcards will become part of P&O Cruises extensive digital archive.

Social Brands 100 Q&A: Muddy Boots

Muddy Boots Real Foods is a beef burger brand owned by self-confessed ‘countrypreneurs’ Miranda and Roland Ballard.  Stocked by a growing number of UK supermarkets and sold online, the owners put a very personal stamp on their brand. Miranda talked to us about the Muddy Boots approach to social and the fine line that can be tread between the individual and brand voice.

Ranking: 53

Panel Score: 79
Data Score: 113
Social Brand Score: 192

1. What do you think makes yours a social brand?

Roland might say it’s because I talk too much…and I’d agree! I don’t think it’s just me that’s chatty, I hope it’s our brand. We’re open and honest and love to have conversations with anyone that wants to talk to us.

We’re selling beef so it’s one of the most important lines in the food industry to be able to guarantee top quality, ethical farming, and fair business. If our shoppers know that we’re social, they’ll feel happy to talk to us and these conversations are either wonderful compliments or ways to help us improve our company.

2. Can you tell us a little about how social fits into your communications mix?

I would say it’s half of our communications and networking. Facebook, Twitter and our Youtube Channel are the best lines for us so far. As well as daily updates and direct conversations with other users, we also post our press releases and ‘Moosletters’ to them as well.

I said in a talk recently that I thought social networks were like a giant global pinboard on which you pin your business card. It’s as vital for our communications that people can find us as much as we can introduce ourselves to great PR and food industry contacts.

3. What are you most proud of achieving in social media over the last year?

I posted an invitation on Facebook and Twitter for anyone to give us a quote about our burgers and we’ve now chosen four to be printed on testimonial stickers that have just gone onto the front of our Waitrose and Budgens packaging. We thought that having customer testimonials was a bit classier than celebrity testimonials and we really hope that the shoppers will like the idea too. Social networking made this idea happen so easily – it was literally an idea that we had sitting at home one weekend and I just posted it and people replied!

4. What’s changed for you over the last year in social media?

We’ve definitely noticed more people contacting us for the first time than we’ve ever had before. In fact, about an 80% increase in first contacts and (wonderfully) all 80% saying that they’d bought our burgers and they liked them – phew! It’s a great way for us to try and work out how and where our brand is going. We’ll often ask them from which store they bought our burgers and then it’s lovely to be able to picture customers all over the country.

5. What do you see changing over the next 12 months?

I’ve no idea what will happen to social networking. I think Twitter will move more towards business communications and Facebook towards personal but I’m afraid I’m absolutely no help with predicting this as I seem to change my mind daily too. I do believe that augmented reality is the future of technical communications and the first brand or provider to really nail this association with social networking is going to fly.

6. Any last thoughts?

I think it’s important for brands to be social as their brand, and not blur the line between themselves/their opinions and their brands. I’m sorry to be horribly sexist here but I’ve found that it’s often the girls that cross over these lines and I’m starting to understand how important it is for the brand’s followers not to be confused by this. Just one of my ponderings and something I try really hard to keep in mind. It’s a wonderful drug for the ego but only by invitation from oneself, not usually from the demand of others.

Social Brands 100 Case Study: Schuh

Schuh: Maintaining the human touch
This article originally appeared in the Social Brands 100.

Ranking: 40

Panel Score: 71
Data Score: 129
Social Brand Score: 200

  • No. 1 brand for responses to user posts on Facebook
  • No. 2 Retail brand

Chatting about holiday plans and crushes; all in a day’s work for the team at fashion footwear retailer Schuh.  Their aim is to give people something to laugh about and ‘a good chinwag’ according to Schuh’s Jen Rankine.  “Last time we checked, we are human and we don’t try to be anything but that; our customers would see right through it,” she says.

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Social Brands 100 – the final ranking

After nine months of planning, and five months of nominating, analysing and judging the Social Brands 100 ranking is live! The full findings are now available to download at We would love to know what you think of this year’s roll call of social brand leaders.

Congratulations to every brand listed, you prevailed over another  200 brands that were put forward at the nomination stage. To be included in the 100 shortlist is an achievement in itself, and the range and quality of brands present this year is superb. The popularity of the crowd-sourced nominations has inevitably resulted in many ‘new entrants’ into the list, and a subsequent reshuffle of brand positions from 2011.

The highest ranking brand this year is Innocent, of smoothies fame, a worthy winner that proves year-in year-out an ability to maintain a personal and human connection with its fans. While there are other household names in the top ten, Cadbury, Starbucks, ASOS, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Cancer Research UK, there are also some less obvious names; The Met Office, ARKive, British Red Cross and giffgaff. This is something Social Brands 100 is proud of.

As outlined in earlier posts to use a methodology that ranks brands from different sectors, and of different sizes, as fairly as possible is our primary concern.

To do this we evolved our 2012 methodology from 2011 in two ways. Firstly, we increased the number of platforms, and metrics from those platforms, collected and analysed. In total we selected nineteen metrics from eight different platforms and carefully ascribed weightings to them that reflect where consumers are (fish where the fish are!), and how platforms are used. This gave us what we call our ‘Data Score’ for each brand (full details are on pages 11 and 43-46 of the Social Brands 100 publication). Secondly, we increased the weighting of the Data Score in relation to our ‘Panel Score’, which is derived from our expert panel of judges scoring each brand. This reflects the increased scope of the Data Score to assess metrics such as effectiveness and value of content posted by brands in social spaces.

Of course, you may well  have your own opinion on the strengths or weaknesses of this methodology to judge your particular brand’s social performance, and consider that certain platforms or weightings could be changed. It is possible to ‘bespoke’ social performance measurement through our subsequent brand specific research. However, the intention of the Social Brands 100 methodology is to find a common ground that indicates whether the fundamental social principles of win-win relationships, active listening and appropriate behaviour are being adopted.

Amongst the insights and highlights from this year’s ranking and analysis are:

  • The highest ranked brands create genuine one-to-one connections with individuals on a consistent basis
  • Charity brands emerge as the best performing sector with three charities in the Top Ten, and over 25% of the top twenty.
  • Google+ made its mark as a new entrant with 49 of the 100 brands adopting the platform
  • foursquare remains a niche platform for the Social Brands 100 with 18% adoption compared to 22% in 2011′s ranking

The top ranked brands by industry sector were;

  • Automotive – Ford
  • Charity – Cancer Research UK
  • Entertainment – The Ellen de Generes Show
  • Fashion and Beauty – Lush
  • Financial Services – Wonga
  • FMCG – Innocent
  • Manufactured goods – Gibson
  • Media – Guinness World Records
  • Retail – ASOS
  • Services – Met Office
  • Technology – HTC
  • Telecom – giffgaff
  • Travel & Leisure – Starbucks

Many of these brands will be joining us at an event to celebrate the Social Brands 100 at 4PM (GMT) today (May 29th). To follow the conversation go to @socialbrands100, and track the #sb100 hashtag. We will be taking questions from Twitter as well as the audience, so please feel free to get involved.

There is a host of additional information, detailed analysis and case studies in the full publication that is available for download, here. What do you think of  the Social Brands 100 ranking this year? We’d love to know!

LEGO’s Social Media Strategy

This is an old video but a good one and worth highlighting again as it is a fascinating insight into LEGO’s social media strategy from one of the guys who was at the centre of the company’s cultural shift that ultimately dragged them out of a very dark time. Jake McKee was LEGO’s Global Community Relations Specialist and in this talk he takes us through how the company undertook a bold social media strategy that put their community at the heart. The video is 30 minutes long but is worth the time investment.

Jason makes three key points that anyone can learn from:

  1. Look beyond your target customers
  2. Support existing fans
  3. Find what works and replicate

Source: DigitalBuzz

Understanding Online Communities: De-Centralised, Centralised and Transient

Here at Headstream we view online communities in three ways; de-centralised, centralised and transient. This presentation outlines our thinking, defining the three types, how they behave and how you can work with them.

If you have any further thoughts, view things differently or have any questions please do let us know in the comments below.

We have also split the presentation into the three sections for easier viewing and sharing:




Understanding Online Communities (part 1): De-Centralised

Types of Online Communities: De-Centralised

View more presentations from Headstream
In this presentation we outline the first of the three different ways that we look at online communities; de-centralised.
Over the following two weeks we will also outline centralised and transient communities.