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MSL China Executive Whitepaper

MSLCould
China
Whitepaper 1
Anyone
Be Executive
Your Brand Ambassador

Anyone Could Be Your

Brand Ambassador
By Stephy Liu, Enson Hu, Phoebe Li and Catherine Cao

About MSL China

About the research

Following the union with Eastwei MSL, MSL China is

Marketing and PR experts acknowledge the

now a top 5 international strategic communications

importance of social media in creating a positive

agency in Mainland China. With 200 colleagues

brand image. Based on recent statistics, the total

across 4 offices, MSL China brings together over

number of Chinese internet users just surpassed

20 senior consultants with more than 12 years

500 million. According to a 2011 social media report

of strategic communications experience in this

released by marketing management company InSites

key global market. Part of MSLGROUP Greater

Consulting, over 50% of Chinese internet users are

China, the largest PR & social media network in

registered on social media platforms and over 70%

the region today, MSL China provides knowledge

of those users follow brands, and 39% of Chinese

driven, integrated campaigns and advisory services

social media users connect via mobile phone.

spanning nearly every industry and communications

With trends suggesting increased social and mobile

discipline. MSL China has received recognition from

media growth, many companies are doing more with

the International Business Awards, The Holmes

social media networks. Many company-run brand

Reports PR Agency of the Year, the China

pages and weibos are thriving in this new marketing

International PR Association and Chinas New Media

environment and are attracting a strong following.

Festival for its creativity and effectiveness in strategic

But there are also pages which remain desolate, and

communications and industry-leading social media

have failed to gain the support of users. So what is

offering.

the secret to building a successful, attractive brand

www.mslchina.com.cn

page for social media platforms?


In August 2011, Chinas largest domestic social

About MSLGROUP

networking services (SNS) platform Renren

MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupes PR, speciality

platform would be free of cost and companies

communications and engagement group, advisors

flocked to the site to build their own brand pages.

in all aspects of communication strategy: from

In consideration of the sudden influx of brand

consumer PR to employee communications, from

pages, MSL Chinas social media experts teamed

public affairs to reputation management and from

up with Renren to conduct a joint research project to

crisis communications to event management.

understand the most effective practices for operating

With more than 2,900 people, its offices span 22

SNS brand pages. The objective of this guide is to

countries. Adding affiliates and partners into the

provide you with effective brand page management

equation, MSLGROUPs reach increases to 4,000

models, as well as a basic understanding of how

employees in 83 countries. Today the largest PR

online word-of-mouth can work for your company.

network in Greater China and India, the group offers

This paper is organized by a series of practical

strategic planning and counsel, insight-guided

descriptions and suggestions, such as The Value

thinking and big, compelling ideas followed by

of Social Media, Operating Your Brand Page, and

thorough execution. Learn more about us at: www.

Measuring Results from Your Brand Page. We

mslgroup.com+ http://blog.mslgroup.com+ Twitter+

provide case studies and examples of how to best

YouTube

manage, leverage, and measure the impact of your

announced that establishing brand pages on its

social media marketing programs.

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

The Value of Social Media

If your customers are not already on social media,


then they are on their way
P5
P5
P7
P7
P7

Social media and the different types of social media platforms


Incorporating social media into your marketing strategy
The value of brand fans
A simple and effective marketing model for SNS
Brand pages

Preparing Your Brand Page

Your companys corporate management model


and social media strategy should be complementary
P8 Brands and brand pages
P8 The steps in building a brand page
P10 Setting up multiple brand pages for companies with several brands or product lines

Operating Your Brand Page

Finding the brand and consumer social media heartbeat


P12
P12
P13
P14
P16

Brand page managers, and the duties and qualifications of the operations team
What brand fans care about
Ensuring that brand pages maintain a personality and achieve your business goals
Responding to fan comments
Responding to negative feedback and communicating with brand fans during a crisis

Promoting Your Brand Page

Attracting fans from the brand page to your store


P17
P18
P19
P20

Quickly gain brand fans


Integrating online and offline activities
Finding and engaging opinion leaders
Using your brand page to increase sales

Measuring the Results of Your Brand Page


The input-output measures of social media marketing
P21 Measuring return on investment (ROI)

The Value of Social Media


If your customers are not already
on social media,
then they are on their way

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

Social media and


the different types
of social media
platforms

Social media refers to web-based and mobile


technologies that enable people to write, share,
discuss, and communicate with others. SNS and
microblogs (called weibo in China) are the two
most common types of social media platforms,
designed to accommodate different user needs.
SNS are online communities centered on reallife relationships and are a powerful tool to build
connections; they include sites like Renren and
Facebook. On the other hand, microblogs are
topic or subject matter focused, and are oriented
toward information sharing rather than building and

Incorporating social
media into your
marketing strategy
The popularity of social media is a global
phenomenon, but there are few markets where
it is as prevalent as China. According to InSites
Consultings 2011 market report on global social
media trends:

15% of people worldwide are connected to at least


one social media, but the figure for China is 44%;
62% of all Chinese social media users follow
brands and 90% believe that information about
brands on social media is reliable;
In China, 39% of social media traffic is via mobile
phone; 78% of mobile users follow brands, and 12%
of them use LBS (location based service) to share
their location with friends when posting content.

SNS
relationship circle

Microblog
information circle
Strangers

Common
interests

Famous
people
Friends

Family
Friends
Me
Schoolmates
Friends
Classmates
Friends
Close Friends
Colleagues
Public
Pages

Relationships
guide interaction

Celebrities

Public Pages

Information
guides interaction

Renren.com, is Chinas leading real-name SNS that is


highly engaged by university students and young white
collar professionals across the country. Renren provides
powerful, feature-rich products including News Feeds,
Blog, Album, Status Updates, Sharing, Music, Xiaozhan,
LBS, Social Games, and Social Commerce to meet the
communication, entertainment and shopping needs
from over 220 million registered users.

maintaining relationships. Sina Weibo and Twitter


are two popular microblog platforms.

Studies show that social media has a clear


correlation with consumer purchases. Based on the
AISAS marketing model, the process consumers
use in deciding to make a purchase can be closely
associated to social media. Companies looking to
reach a larger target audience should infuse social
media into their marketing strategies.

Consumer decision making process


(Each step incorporates social media)

ATTENTION

INTEREST

SEARCH

ACTION

SHARE

information,
advertising,
community,
marketplace,
word of mouth,
experience

information,
advertising,
community,
marketplace,
word of mouth,
experience

comments,
web search,
reviews, trial

e-store,
marketplace

community,
word-ofmouth,
sharing

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

The value of brand


fans

Nielsen conducted an online survey designed


to measure the value of brand fans in social
advertising on Renren. In the report, Nielsen
quantified the value of fans for 50 brands in the
automotive, fast moving consumer goods, financial
and IT industries. The report shows that:
Brand fans have a clear impact on business.
Research has shown that brand fans are more likely
to purchase from a brand they follow. This tendency
is attributed to brand perception, preference and
previous ownership.
Interaction with the brand on a social media is
shown to influence future purchases by brand fans;
moreover, brand fans for each industry are more
likely to spend more on brand purchases than nonfans. For example, fans of a certain computer brand
are more likely to make future brand purchases
compared to non-fans and on average spend

A simple and
effective marketing
model for
SNS

Brand fan estimated


future spending
(compared with nonfans)
Banks: 4,424RMB
more

IT (mobile phone,
computer, appliances):
384RMB, 1,206RMB
and 1,163RMB more
respectively

Automobile:
24,000RMB more

Fast consumption:
180RMB more

RMB 1,206 more on the brand. This is true for


other industries as well, with bank fans spending
RMB 4,424 more, automobile fans spending RMB
24,000 more, mobile phone fans spending RMB
384 more, and fast moving consumer goods brand
fans spending RMB 180 more.
Because of their increased loyalty and
opportunities to sell to them, brands should
continually interact and build closer relationships
with their fans.

of-mouth marketing online. Many companies


have successfully adopted the following simple
and effective social network marketing model: 1)
Build up a brand page, 2) Advertise to increase
connections, 3) Publish via their network.
2: Place Social-ads, build connections
with consumers, gather Brand Fans

1: Establish a brand page

Social media provides


companies with a platform
to connect with consumers.
On a SNS platform, anyone
could become your brand
ambassador. One of the
secrets to a successful SNS
platform is being able to
effectively stimulate word-

Brand pages

A brand page is an official public page belonging


to a company, organization or celebrity on a social
networking site. Companies use brand pages to

3: Use the News feed to send out brand info. and stimulate Word-of-Mouth

attract users interested in their brand and add


them as brand fans. Brand fans have access to
brand updates (news, product information, events)
and interact with the brand and other fans at their
convenience.

Preparing Your Brand Page


Your companys corporate management
model and social media strategy should be
complementary

Brands and Brand


Pages

Brand pages arent exclusively for large brands. Small


and medium-sized companies can also set up a brand
page as a way to connect with consumers. The brand page
enables companies to identify opinion leaders, initiate
dialogue and develop online word-of-mouth.
But first, before setting up an account, it is important to
consider the following:

The Steps in Building


a Brand Page

After one of our clients decides to set up a social media


account, MSL China will prepare a Company Social
Media Execution Guide for the brand and company. This
guide includes: behavior models for typical
fans, a social media map, KPI (key performance
indicator) management, and guidelines on
tone of voice, style and interactive techniques.
This manual can help companies and their
PR agencies to improve the effectiveness of

Is your target audience using social media?


Is your brand or client currently dealing with bad
press? If so, you may want to temporarily delay setting
up a brand page or create a dedicated page to deal
with the issue.
Does your brand have enough content to discuss?
Social media are based on daily, high-frequency
communication.
Do you have someone capable of managing the brand
page? It needs at least 1-2 dedicated individuals to maintain.

communication so as to ensure that the brands message


reaches its target audience. Before launching your brand
page, we suggest taking the following steps.
Determine the brands social personality
The brand page provides the brand with a direct, fast and
effective social media platform for daily communication
with target consumers. But to create a meaningful
and effective communications channel,
the company must determine the
brands social personality:
human traits

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

based on existing brand characteristics. For example,


IKEAs social personality is based on a 30 year old
traditional Swedish woman: simple, honest, and familyoriented. These personality traits reflect IKEAs business
goals and target audience. MSL China will develop a
customized brand social guide book for each client,
which contains a variety of useful tips to help the company
effectively establish and maintain a social personality for
its brand.

Social media marketing depends on engaging and


guiding fans to create individualized brand material. It is
important to include interactive components, including
discussion boards, voting, games and events. Often
times, brand engagement inspires users to effectively and
positively spread the brand by word-of-mouth. However,
the design and preparation of successful interactive
events requires intensive planning and coordination.
Understand fans specific networking habits

Determine the brands style, tone and content


On a social media site, the brand takes the form of
a person, and frequently interacts with others. So in
addition to the brands overall social personality, it is
necessary to determine the brands tone and style.
For example, the Singapore Tourism Board uses the
personality of a young, mature, stylish, multi-cultural,
enthusiastic and positive white-collar woman. Obviously,
an immature or overly energetic tone of voice would not
be consistent with this brands social personality.
Developing social content is another major challenge
for companies. For effective daily interaction, brand
page content needs to be rich, interesting and sharable.
Do not post traditional press releases on a social
media! Press releases have little or no impact on an
SNS site; to the contrary, users may feel that the brand
is dry and outdated. Instead, companies should create
a social media matrix. The social media matrix is a daily
operations guide that is designed to ensure content
is consistent and coherent, and tracks what kind of
content most effectively connects with users. It
also shows which brand properties are most
effectively conveyed, while illustrating
how the brand is presented to
fans through quantitative
statistics.

The brand should adopt different communication


strategies for different social media, such as Sina Weibo
and Renren. This is because Renren and Sina Weibo have
different characteristics that meet different user needs.
Sina Weibo caters to a more information-centric audience,
while Renren focuses on real-life connections.
Standardize interaction and site management
In social media marketing customer relationship
management (CRM) is critical. Appropriately responding
to positive, neutral and negative comments is a technical
art form; there are smart and creative ways of dealing
with negative feedback and turning them into positive
opportunities to promote your brand, but this sometimes
requires help from the companys customer support
professionals.
Staffing
Since social media marketing
is time and labor intensive, a
brand page needs a dedicated team to maintain
it. Depending on each companys individual needs,
companies can either use an in-house team or employ a
PR agency to operate the brand pages.

Setting up multiple brand pages


for companies with several
brands or product lines
According to Social Business Forecast: 2011 The Year of Integration, social media
expert Jeremiah Owyang describes 5 social marketing strategy models. Any of these
might be the right fit for your organization depending on your operations and objectives.

Five strategy models for social marketing


by

Centralized

Decentralized

1) One department
controls all efforts
2) Consistent
3) Less authentic
4) e.g. Ford

1) Organic growth
2) Authentic
3) Experimental
4) e.g. Sun

Hub and
spoke

Multiple hub
and spoke

1) One hub
sets rules and
procedures
2) Business units
undertake own
efforts
3) Spreads
widely across the
organization
4) Time intensive
5) e.g. Red Cross

1) Similar to hub
and spoke, but
across multiple
brands and units
2) e.g. HP

Jeremiah Owyang

Holistic
1) Each employee is
empowered
2) Employees are
organized
3) e.g. Zappos

Public Page: Samsung IT


World
Type: Electronics and
Digital
Fans: 181,985
Public Page: Samsung
Television
Type: Electronics and
Digital
Fans: 99,311
Public Page: Samsung
Mobile
Type: Electronics and
Digital
Fans: 81,565
Public Page: Samsung
Appliance House
Type: Electronics and
Digital
Fans: 18,207

Public Page: Samsung


Video and Photography
Type: Electronics and
Digital
Fans: 29,732

Similarly, Nike has Just Do It


and Nike Sportswear sub-brand
pages, as well as product pages for
running, female, extreme sports
and basketball series.

Nike Sisters
Apparel
20,368 Fans

Nike Running
Athletics
25,071 Fans

Centralized: Orders come from top down and tasks are assigned;
Decentralized: Decentralized organization, in a developing state;
Hub and spoke: A centralized unit decides and coordinates, while other units work
independently;
Multiple hub and spoke: One unit coordinates several brands or sub-companies;
Holistic: Each employee has their own privileges and responsibilities;
Companies need to incorporate their own internal management organization when
determining which model to use. Once the company has implemented a suitable model,
each social media platform can be coordinated together to ensure maximum efficiency.
Companies who have many brands or product lines often use a multiple hub and spoke
system on SNS. One department is responsible for coordinating many sub-brands or
product lines and operates multiple brand pages.
For example: Samsung has set up different brand pages for its IT, television, mobile,
digital and home appliance brands on Renren.

Just Do It
Apparel
53,073 Fans

Nike Sportswear
Athletics
150,365 Fans

Nike Skateboarding
Athletics
6,499 Fans

Nike Basketball
Athletics
76,976 Fans

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

As of August 2011, brand pages can be created for no cost


In this free version, Renren is preparing to open up an
App Store. Renren and third parties will design apps that
companies can use as free and effective marketing tools.

Special features: video, voting, forum, rating, friends'


album, Renren like (a third party application that allows
users to share and recommend items on their news feed and
allow them to become the public pages fans with one click).
Renren App Store custom features:

Creating a Renren brand page is simple


- Personalized tools: welcome tab, wallpapers, flash wallpapers;

If you do not have a Renren account: you can directly register


a brand page account and go from there.
If you already have a Renren account: Log in, apply for a
brand page, select a brand page name, add a profile picture
and description (Note: these will appear in the news feed,
and your friends will see it. Use this to start gathering your
brand fans), then apply for a URL (page.renren.com/your_
brand_name) and you are set. Afterwards, you can add
various apps, customized themes and content to attract
fans.
Renren brand page allows the use of API for third parties
Renrens application programming interface (API) allows
third parties to read and write network resources with
permission from Renren by logging into their network
accounts. Your companys technical support staff can visit
wiki.dev.renren.com for additional information.
The main components of a Renren brand page
The brand page is built similarly to a personal page;
however the brand page possesses several features that
encourage fan interaction. A number of apps are also
available to meet different marketing needs.
Basic features: news feed, comments, personal detail,
status updates, album, blog, share, private message,
mailbox, gift box, music, friends and related pages.

- Multimedia tools: video add-ons (Youku, Tudou), maps, LBS information


sharing, customized themes;
- Applied marketing tools: digital store, coupon downloads, product
Q&A, online market research, group purchasing, grab-a-deal, brand member
registration, auctions.

Custom themes stimulate fan interaction


Companies can post videos, music, animated GIFs, and
other multimedia features on their brand page. The brand
page can also use flash and iframe features to increase
interactivity with fans.

11

Operating Your Brand Page


Finding the brand
and consumer social media heartbeat

Brand page managers,


and the duties and
qualifications of the
operations team
In order to begin operations, the company needs a
dedicated team of up to 2 or 3 people. For effective daily
management, the brand pages staff needs to:

Track and analyze feedback: Companies can leverage


user comments and messages to understand fans
opinions about the brand. As the number of fans increase,
it may be necessary for the site to manage several
thousand messages per day and conduct analyses on
consumers perception of the brand. Using this feedback,
the company can then make any necessary adjustments
to the brand page.
Release content: The brand page strategically and
systematically releases fresh and interesting content
for fans, including albums, blog and status updates. As
the brand page develops, the company will strengthen
the brands influence on consumers. Designing and
organizing events that attract users to close the gap
between the company and consumers and maintaining
fan activity is an important daily task. Events require
intensive planning, from wording and image selection to
award design and management.
React rapidly: During daily operations, the brand will
run into problems such as user complaints, as well as
trolls users who post inflammatory, extraneous or off-

topic messages that may be sent by competitors and need


a quick and strategic response. Social media is gradually
evolving into a catalyst for major news events. As every
marketer knows, if these latent disasters or developing
crises are not effectively dealt with in early stages, the
consequences could be dire.
Pay attention to competitors: While maintaining your
page, you should take note of competitor pages and
analyze their interactions with fans. You can learn a lot by
how they act as well.
Operating a brand page requires in-depth knowledge and
ongoing effort; it demands strong content production
capabilities, market awareness, social communication
skills and crisis management experience. PR agencies
have experience managing multiple brand pages and
can set up a completely new brand page in a relatively
short time. PR agencies can also make quick and accurate
strategy adjustments as new situations emerge. If the
brand needs to simultaneously manage two or more
brand pages or needs to coordinate with another social
media platform, professional PR agencies often have the
collective resources to coordinate them more effectively.

What brand fans care


about

Maintaining brand fans is like keeping in touch with reallife friends. Consumers will want to know about the latest
brand updates, share the opinions of other consumers,
and be informed of upcoming promotions, events and
new product releases.

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

Ensuring that brand


Create a friendly
pages maintain a
relationship with target
personality and
consumers
achieve your business
goals
Plan posting frequency to prevent negative feedback
from oversaturation;

Find the Social media heartbeat of your brand and


target consumers

Social media marketing differs greatly from traditional


media marketing. For example, consumers tend to
be skeptical of sales promotions, but in social media
marketing, users often enjoy promotions and are eager
to participate. The key is finding the brands social media
heartbeat. After a company determines consumer needs,
wants and desires, it becomes easy to know what topics
and content will deliver the best results. The company can
use this content as a resonating point for both sides and
ultimately form the companys social media heartbeat.

Finding social heartbeat

Case study: Watsons


brand page product
classification
Watsons brand page separately classifies content
using special tags. Classifications include
informational tags about products, promotions and
events. Fans can comment or share information on
these tags and generate word-of-mouth.

Write material from the viewpoint of fans, posting


information in a friendly and open style;

Monitor and collect feedback, and make changes to the


brand page accordingly.

However, when
posting this type
of information, it is
important to note:

Promotions on a brand page work differently than in


traditional marketing. Consumers tend to initially be
skeptical when encountering a store promotion. However,
when information is shared between friends, the level of
trust is substantially higher. Social media provides brands
with the opportunity to form a direct link to consumers in
the form of a friend-to-friend relationship. Of course, this
friendship requires long-term maintenance. Below are a
few techniques to ensure that this relationship can take
shape:
Daily greetings;
Timely responses;
Regular and interesting updates;
Helping fans resolve issues;
Seasonal and holiday greetings;

Watsons uses Sina Weibo to advertise in-store promotions,


using tags for each category. Above, Watsons Sharing
Beauty tag informs fans about a Labor Day promotion for
club members.

Discussions on common topics;


Following social hot topics, and appropriately
participating in discussion.

13

Responding to fan
comments

Responding to fans requires tact. Below are a few


techniques that will help you better interact with fans:
Regular responses: It is important to respond to
fan comments in a timely manner, especially in the
early stages of developing a brand page. We suggest
maintaining a high ratio between fan comments and
responses; even if it is a simple greeting, each reply
cements the relationship with your consumer.
Respond within a set timeframe: brand page responses
should be conducted against a set deadline. This
cultivates fan habits of regularly checking responses from
the brand page, and will avoid negative feedback due to
late responses. Brand pages generally do not update on
a daily basis, so we believe this is an opportunity to do
better than the competition and suggest that at the end of
the work day the brand page responds to user comments
to ensure that they keep visiting the page.
Develop opinion leaders: Each brand page should have
its own loyal fans. In the early stages of operations, the
brand page should regularly comment on user status
updates, and maintain communication with more active
fans. Through daily interaction, these users will eventually
develop into the brand pages opinion leaders.
Carefully resolve crises: When fans post complaints
or negative feedback, be careful how you deal with
such comments. Try to avoid deleting comments. It is
also unacceptable to publically attack or directly refute
commentators. Instead, you may be able to deal with
these situations by:
- Responding to complaints or negative feedback with positive
responses.
- Leaving a response, and then if appropriate deleting the original
comment after gaining the acknowledgement of the poster.
- Using the brand pages mailbox to actively keep in touch with
fans, gaining the acknowledgement of those fans and then deleting the
comment.
Although it is not necessary to delete all negative comments, you do
need to delete excessively negative comments by trolls, spammers
or other destructive users.

Case study: Li-Ning


one journal entry leads
to a comment war

One of Li-Nings sub-brand pages published a


journal entry entitled Summer Youth Dreams: MCC
tide of new summer products. Li-Ning had no
idea that the entry would result in a comment war
between fans. The day after the entry was posted a
fan asked a question regarding the market position
of Li-Ning in a completely neutral tone. Another
user responded and said that there was no way that
Li-Ning could boast the second largest share of
the global market compared to other brands. This
post was followed by a third user comment that LiNing boasts a large share of the Chinese domestic
market and it is already good enough that China has
a large domestic athletic brand that can support
itself.
On the morning of the third day, Li-Ning responded
to the three users respectively in a polite and open
manner to express its appreciation. Afterwards,
the first fan responded that he hopes for Li-Nings
continued growth and believes the brand can make
Chinese consumers proud.

Li-Ning responds to each fan. Li-Ning notes a fans concerns and promises to consider their feedback to
improve their product and brand. Li-Ning thanks the fan for their input.

In social media, brands will receive fan support and


affection, and at the same time can be targeted with
criticism and doubt. Brands should react quickly
and use a positive tone to influence negative voices
and work to convert them into potential brand
ambassadors. Through this case, Li-Ning was
able to turn negative feedback into positive brand
support.
Li-Nings brand page operations team responds to
each and every comment on a daily basis. Li-Ning
responds to product purchase inquiries, product

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

design suggestions, brand advertisement views and


product quality complaints. Some fans will even
talk with Li-Ning about personal matters, including
marriage announcements. Of course, Li-Ning will
congratulate the fan, just like a friend would.

Responding to a fan commenting that they prefer the companys previous logo, Li-Ning explains the
reasoning for adopting the new logo and its background.

A fan asks about Li-Nings newest product line, wondering if they carry a womans size. Li-Ning then
points out which shoes are for men and women in the new line.

A fan is curious if Li-Ning will sign on tennis players for future promotions. Li-Ning responds that
they already have deals with international and Chinese tennis players and lists them.

A fan makes an inquiry on sponsorship for an activity that fits with Li-Nings positioning. Li-Ning gives
the fan an email address to send their plan to Li-Ning. Li-Ning thanks the fan for their support and says
they will consider their plan.

Case study:
Lufthansa responds
to questions and
requests

Lufthansa Airlines recently changed their Renren page


name to Lufthansa Flight Clan with the goal of attracting
Chinese users who are interested in, or live in, Europe.
On Renren, Lufthansa provides fans with information on
European tourism, study abroad, and other related topics.
Fans can participate in monthly prize contests and
promotions, and use the site to learn more about
Lufthansas China operations. Lufthansa responds
patiently to each user question and comment, from
inquiries on special price tickets, flight routes, and
luggage, to frequent flier programs.
On the morning of the third day, Li-Ning responded
to the three users respectively in a polite and open
manner to express its appreciation. Afterwards,
the first fan responded that he hopes for Li-Nings
continued growth and believes the brand can make
Chinese consumers proud.

Lufthansa provides the link for frequent flier membership for a fan inquiry.

A fan asks for student itinerary for a roundtrip flight between Shanghai and Edinburgh, Lufthansa
redirects the fan to a page listing price and times for flights.
A fan makes a complaint about the sizing and shape of Li-Ning shoes. Li-Ning responds by asking
the fan to provide details on the problem and will redirect them to the sales department to resolve
the issue.

A fan asks about luggage weight costs for a flight from France to China. Lufthansa responds saying
that student tickets generally allow up to 30kg of luggage, but the program is not available France.
Lufthansa then makes an apology.
As mentioned, some fans will share their personal life with Li-Ning. One fan makes a wedding
announcement on the Li-Ning brand page, and Li-Ning gives them a big congratulations!

A fan is having problems with their frequent flier card and their miles are not being counted. Lufthansa
responds saying that the miles can be added on and provides the fan with a link to customer service.

A fan suggests adding a new direct flight between Nanjing and Dusseldorf, in addition to the Frankfurt
route. Lufthansa patiently responds saying that it would regretfully not be possible due to a lack of
infrastructure.

15

Responding to
negative feedback and
communicating with
brand fans during a
crisis

During a crisis, companies should take a calm approach


and avoid panicking or lashing out. While interacting with
fans, praise and criticism are two sides of the same coin.
Once negative feedback or a latent crisis emerges, the
brand should actively respond with positive feedback as
best as it can, listen to fans opinions, and then works to
resolve the crisis in a timely manner. Below is the general
procedure for resolving social media crises.

A general guide to dialogue flow in resolving an issue/crisis


Take reasonable
actions to fix the issue
and let customer know
Positive
No

No Response

Do you want to
respond?

Negative
Assess the
message

Yes

Yes

Yes

Evaluate the
purpose

Unhappy
customer?

Does customer need


more information?

Yes

Are the facts


correct?

No

Yes

Are the facts


correct?

No

Appropriately and
carefully correct the
facts

No
Yes

Can you add


value?

No

Dedicated
complainer?
No

Leave a wellthought
response

Thank the
person

Seeking
attention?
Yes

Yes
Is the problem
being fixed?

Yes

Explain what is being


done to correct the
issue

No
Ignore and monitor
complaint

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

Promoting Your Brand Page


Attracting fans
from the brand page to your store

Quickly gain brand fans


Social Ads: Social ads provide exposure and clicks,
but more importantly they enable users to spread the
advertisement themselves. Creative advertisements
and user interactive features (sharing, liking, voting,
downloading, attending, one-click purchase, etc.) can act as
a trigger for word-of-mouth marketing.
The brand page and
advertisements should
include sharing functions
for fans, such as the
like button, to enhance
promotion. Sharing
features provide greater
exposure for your brand.
The more fans the
company has, the more
advertisement exposure
increases and the higher
the ROI. Also, Flash Box
allows users to directly interact in advertisements and post
flash content in the news feed.

Application encoding: Renren offers users with a number


of social game apps and provides space for ad placements
in each game. Companies can make use of the popularity of

certain apps to guide fans to their brand page. Your company


can use the free game app and infuse advertisements into
the game. Dell placed an advertisement into the popular
Renren Restaurant app, and within four days attracted
104,398 new fans with 38,893 joining in one day alone.

Integrate with other digital communication channels: You


can use Renren brand page to post information from other
platforms such as Sina Weibo. Conversely, you can use other
platforms to advertise your Renren brand page, for example
by adding a button on your company website.

Using offline communication channels: You can provide


the address for your companys Renren brand page on other
promotional items such as coupons, brand publications and
printed advertisements, and invite them to follow the brand
on Renren.
Search engine optimization (SEO): Brand Page search
engine optimization is similar to having a good URL;
choosing a good name, description and keywords are
essential for the success of the page.

17

Integrating online and offline activities


Closing the gap: let fans take the lead in offline events

Case study: Li-Ning


is more than just an
online friend

Social media provides a way to maintain


connections for users and brands, but relations
should not be limited to the internet. Social media
gives brands and fans an opportunity to meet in
person and build real relationships. Li-Ning invited
brand page fans to attend an offline rebranding
event. Attendees were given a voucher for limited
edition Full-String line running shoes, met with
the designers of Li-Nings Cross-Border line,
and interacted with Play designer Rei Kawakubo
and illustrator Filip Pagowski. Brand fans were
able to witness Li-Nings brand in action, and
many attendees also had their own personal
experiences with Li-Ning. One member of the LiNing sponsored Tsinghua University shooting team
was in attendance and shared his experience with
the brand. Li-Ning also selected a few attendees
and had them share experiences that changed their
lives. Videos of their stories were posted on LiNings website and SNS site for the companys 20th
anniversary celebration.

Renren LBS motivates fans to shop


In November 2010, Renren released Renren LBS, a
location based service for mobile phone users. Using its
large number of mobile users, Renren LBS is a powerful
tool for social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) technology.

Case study: Master


Kong Daily C checkin and win a drink
In June 2011, Master Kong Daily C used Renren
LBS and Sina Weibos LBS service in 16 cities for
a new beverage promotion. Mobile phone users
could log on to the LBS service at any of the 39
drink sample locations in China and instantly
receive event information and coupons. Once a
user successfully checked-in, the system would
send a news feed post to their friends. Within 12
days, over 10,000 users checked-in and over 90%
of participants exchanged their coupons for drinks;
60% of users checked-in via Renren.
Tip: If you want to use Renren LBS to attract
customers to the store or an event, dont forget to
also promote it on the brand page. The brand page
provides a forum for users to meet before going to
the event.

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

Finding and engaging


opinion leaders

Finding and engaging opinion leaders is key in developing


a brand page. Opinion leaders provide reliable brand
testimonials, and are often more effective at interacting
with other fans than the company itself. There is a number
of effective methods to discover and foster opinion
leaders.
Use daily observations and analysis to find the most
active fans
It is easy to find that there are a few particularly active
fans on the brand page when you conduct your daily
maintenance or use analytical tools. The company should
pay attention to this group of fans and learn their interests
and behavior. It is important to give these fans extra
encouragement because they are likely to influence other
fans. By doing so, you will help build brand loyalty and
these fans will gradually develop into opinion leaders.
Develop opinion leaders based on marketing goals
Spontaneously developed opinion leaders have their
own personalities. However, if the company wants to
have some opinion leaders precisely convey corporate
information, it can actively cultivate these types of
fans. Employees, for example, often have the greatest
understanding of company ideals and goals. By having
real employees convey company viewpoints and
communicating with others through a personal social
media account, content becomes more credible for other
fans.
Use celebrities or grassroots figures who have a tone
consistent with the company message
Celebrities have an obvious and powerful effect in media.
The company can invite a celebrity with an image and
persona similar to the brand to participate in an online
event. With continued celebrity support, the levels of
fans will increase and negative comments tend to drop as
spokespeople lend credibility through endorsement.

Case study:
Watsons strategy
for developing
opinion leaders

During early stages, the brand page should set


up a strategy to develop opinion leaders. Watsons
monitored and evaluated fan participation levels,
and developed evaluation standards as the
number of fans increased. Based on data analysis,
Watsons discovered which fans were opinion
leaders for the brand. These fans had relatively
similar characteristics: as a group, they were active,
possessed a high understanding of personal care
and Watsons products, and were willing to help
other fans by posting and responding to comments.
Watsons fostered dialogue and designed special
interactive events for these active users, including a
competition to determine the best commentator
on its brand page. Through material and verbal
encouragement, these loyal and active fans
became opinion leaders for Watsons.

19

Using your brand page


to increase sales
Renren provides brands with a platform for communication
with fans, and in this self-defined space companies can
post physical store information or promotion activities on
the brand page. The key is figuring out how to generate fan
interest and transform it into sales.

Case study: How


Dell sells PCs on
Renren

To facilitate sales, Dell moved its entire flagship


store onto its Renren brand page. Currently, Dell
maintains daily interaction with over 730,000 fans.
Keeping close ties with fans has generated real
sales.

enter each ambassadors personal page. On the


page, users can make inquiries, interact, and make
appointments.
Exclusive offers for fans
After amassing
fans through its
representativeled activities,
Dell initiated
a series of
exclusive
offer events through the companys brand page.
In December, 2010, Dell launched a Christmas
promotion combining an interactive game on their
brand page with a coupon promotion, marking the
first time coupons and an interactive event were
combined on Renren. The event attracted many
first-time fans to the page. Users played onsite
games and earned points. Fans then converted
their points into coupons for Dell products.

Building a flagship store


Turning relationships into sales
In order to
encourage fans
to interact with
the Dell brand
page, Dell set
up a flagship
store on its
brand page.
Fans can use coupons to buy products from the
online flagship store, gather product information or
talk with sales associates.
Building up a network
Accompanying
the flagship
store, Dell
also set up an
online campus
ambassador
page. Dell
posted
company agent information directly on the brand
page which allows users to click on an icon and

In April 2011,
Dell launched
the Dell
Money Jar
program. The
event took
advantage of
Renrens reallife user relationships and converted them into
actual sales. Dell Money Jar encouraged fans to
use Renren to earn points and buy Dell products.
Fans could complete tasks and gain the support of
others to earn credits and then convert them into
coupons. After 15 weeks, Dell gathered 125,179
new fans and successfully sold 3,887 computers,
generating over $US2.88 million. Most surprising
is that over 300 of the computers sold through the
event were high-end gaming laptopsthis reflects
the purchasing power and brand recognition of
social media users.

MSL China Executive Whitepaper


Anyone Could Be Your Brand Ambassador

Measuring the Results of


Your Brand Page
The input-output measures
of social media marketing

Measuring return on
investment (ROI)

Many companies still use traditional methods of measuring


ROI by using cost per mile (CPM) and cost per click (CPC)
in social media. Actually, the value of social media should
not be strictly limited to counting the number of clicks and
views; there are also hidden values such as word-of-mouth
exchanges and the inherent value of fans.
Measuring the value of social media
In November, 2010 Renren released Renren Effect Standard Metrics for SNS Social Advertising as a way to
measure the values of Paid, Free and Owned Media.
This model quantifies word-of-mouth exposure and view
totals as a factor in ROI. Renren Effect shows that in social
networking site real relationships are able to develop
into a unique social advertising and communications
mechanism and enables each fan to become a potential
ambassador for the brand. Companies can pay for
advertisement placement, establish free word-of-mouth
exchanges through fans, and also use their brand page as
a standalone advertising entity.
The value of an Internet Advertising can no longer be

measured by simply adding impressions and clicks. This


standard for Social Advertising must take into account the
secondary transmission effects of users disseminating
brand messages, as well as the new fans earned across Paid,
Earned and Owned meida.
Brand recognition, preference, pre-orders and
recommendations
Nielsen examined the results of several brands
advertisement placements on Renren and noticed that the
exposure and page views originating from word-of-mouth
had a key influence on the brand and sales. Word-of-mouth
has an obvious impact on brand recognition, consumer
preference, pre-orders and recommendations that surpasses
paid advertisement placements.
The value of brand fans
Apart from word-of-mouth, companies are particularly
interested in the value of brand fans. Nielsen released a
report on the consumer value of 50 companies brand fans
to help companies precisely estimate the value of each fan.
Synchronizing Renrens brand page statistical report system
with Nielsens findings allows companies to more effectively
gauge the value of fans and better operate their Renren
brand page.

Enhanced effects for different social-ads

Ad recollection Ad content
recollection
Based on 10 brands on Renren

Brand
recognition

Brand
preference

Brand preorders

Brand
recommendations

21

MSL China regularly publishes Executive Whitepapers with insights


and comments on trends, the industry and society as a whole.
To get information from MSL China or to subscribe to future
whitepapers, as well as to contact us for any other matter, please send
us an e-mail on greaterchina@mslgroup.com
or call us +86 21 5169 9311 (SH) or +86 10 8573 0688 (BJ).
MSL China Executive Whitepaper
April 2012
Copyright MSL China