No matter how much your current community is underperforming, the idea of migrating to a new vendor feels daunting, right? We know it does. That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to give you the details about just how easy and fast it is to migrate your community to a Lithium platform.
In fact, there are key benefits to doing so:
Lithium communities outperform the competition by generating high traffic and high-value content
Monthly automatic updates take less than 5 minutes and cost you nothing
A superior set of design tools and APIs to ensure you have freedom to create a unique digital customer experience that showcases your brand
We work with you every step of the way to ensure that your community management, design process, and technical needs are all met simultaneously so that we can get you migrated within our typical 14 weeks.
Worried you’ll lose SEO during the process? We’ve got you covered. Need your new community to be an exact design copy of your existing one? Done. Want to integrate your community with your CRM instance before a public launch? We can do that too.
Download the free guide to find out how easy it is to switch to Lithium.
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It’s been a long journey, but after many nights working to get beta customers up-and-running to announcing Profile Plus at LiNC, I’m excited to announce that with the release of Community/LIA version 16.6, Profile Plus has now officially GA’d!
With Profile Plus, users can now experience a personalized community tailored to their interests, expertise and preferences, similar to how they experience Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Discovering useful and compelling content, particularly on mobile devices, is now that much closer to what people expect of a contemporary product experience. All of this is powered with Klout’s proprietary algorithms and data that create an unmatched community personalization engine.
How does Profile Plus benefit consumers?
Registered community members get a personalized experience that shows content that is relevant to them and motivates them to contribute more content.
Registered community members get tailored recognition based on topical expertise and influence
Casual and anonymous users discover better content when they visit
How does Profile Plus benefit brands?
Increased Engagement: Consumers find higher quality answers faster, resulting in faster resolution rates and higher customer satisfaction
Engaging more people with personalized content increases satisfaction and loyalty
More granular customer insights
Easily identify top experts and influencers by topic
Easily identify top interests and expertise of connected members
Leverage data to provide more personalized service and marketing
This complex initiative could not have been possible without the contributions of people across multiple teams. I’m super proud of what we’ve done and I’d like to give a huge shout out especially to GiffGaff, Webroot, Alteryx and all the customers that provided invaluable feedback during the beta process that helped shaped the product into what it is today. We could not have done this without you. THANK YOU!
Contact your Customer Success Manager to enable Profile Plus today. After Profile Plus has been enabled, refer to the 16.6 release notes to configure it.
Check out what Webroot and GiffGaff had to say about Profile Plus at LiNC.
Join me in thanking these folks and in celebrating this major Lithium product milestone! Kudos to all!
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It comes as no surprise that customer expectations just keep pushing forward. Now is the time to reevaluate your community to assess where changes may need to be made to keep up with those expectations and to take your community experience to the next level.
Here are three key areas you need to incorporate in order to stay competitive and keep your community members engaged and coming back:
1) Responsive design. Our smartphones and tablets are where we turn first to go online, check out a brand, shop and find answers to our questions. With increasing mobile device usage, customers expect to interact with brands across all of their devices and have a consistent experience. Moving to a responsive design helps you create that consistent experience, amplifies search engine optimization (SEO), simplifies analytics, creates more engaged visitors, lowers the total cost of ownership for community and increases community vibrancy as people find it easier to participate. If you’re dragging your heels on moving to responsive design or trying to convince your boss that it’s time, the business case is there for why now is the time to make the leap. Check out Google’s responsive designed community.
2) Rich media experience. Visual content is hot and here to stay. In their everyday lives, your community members are not only using words to express their feelings and share their passion for their favorite brands, but are increasingly using images. So the more you can incorporate rich media into your community, the better. It will increase engagement and traffic, improve SEO, create a more visually engaging experience for community members, and increase trust by allowing users to showcase brand/products. Check out how giffgaff incorporated media into their community.
3) Value Analytics. While it’s important to increase engagement in your community, it’s just as important to measure the impact of your community experience not only on your business, but also on your customers. By adding analytics in the form of a customer survey, you can collect data on why customers visited the community, whether they found what they are looking for, what actions they would have taken if they hadn’t found it, how satisfied they are and how likely they are to recommend the community. Collecting and tracking this data provides a baseline to determine how the changes you make to your community impact the customer experience and call deflection. Check out how MicroStrategy used value analytics to measure customer satisfaction.
The more engaging experience your community members have in your community, the more likely you are to experience community’s full value for your brand. Be sure you are staying on top of what is emerging as expectations for your community and take full advantage of how community can empower your business.
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Traffic is the lifeblood of websites. It’s what fuels conversions, sales and brand awareness. It’s what eventually fuels marketing’s ultimate goal – engagement-to-conversion. But how do marketers effectively continue to drive traffic? Is it via search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC)?
Both take a significant portion of the marketing budget. According to Forrester, over the next five years paid search and organic optimization will top $45 billion by 2019. But, at the same time, PPC and SEO are known as a dilemma on the minds of many marketers who look to balance their budgets in order to crack the code of engagement-to-conversion.
What is often overlooked is the power community plays in driving that traffic. In fact, community can be your key to putting the turbo in your SEO strategy.
The Value of SEO + User Generated Content
The user generated content (UGC) in your community is pure gold for SEO. The UGC in your community is long-tail content that continually “self-updates” and is highly relevant for what your customer (or potential customer) is looking for because it’s written by real people for real people. The UGC in your community also uses natural language and real terms that people would type in a search engine. Not marketing jargon. Community is the online destination where customers and prospects talk about your products/services and where they can find real answers quickly, which, in turn, benefits your SEO efforts.
The Lure of PPC
In the pressure to reach customers or present a better offer before competitors and to meet acquisition targets, taking time can seem too risky. PPC offers a quick cure for those brands who want to jump to the head of the line and reach customers where they are immediately. This can be great for short-term campaigns. However, marketers should be aware that a recent Lithium survey found that one third of Americans said they don’t trust advertising to give them information about a product or service they are interested in buying.
PPC is no doubt a big investment because marketers see it as one of the only search tactics to create unique content. However, now with Community UGC and the organic traffic it produces, PPC should not be seen as the only option.
The power of Community
In a sample of Lithium’s retail customers, we compared community traffic from SEO with website traffic from SEO. The results are telling: the average percent of community traffic from SEO was 62%, while the average percent of website traffic from SEO was 37%. This means that the community SEO sourced traffic was 68% better than that of the websites.
This is why a study by webmarketing 1|2|3 says both B2B and B2C customers believe that SEO is twice as effective as PPC or Social Media Marketing (SMM) for lead generation. Don’t get us wrong, PPC has its place and will always be a part of the marketing mix. But what we have seen is that organic SEO can be extended and amplified by having a thriving online community with UGC. So marketers can reach a greater amount of customers at a lower average acquisition cost via organic SEO from websites and communities and then use PPC to scale.
SEO is also less costly than PPC in the long run and it makes sense to maximize its full value by using community as a fertile source of content.
It requires time, but the investment is worth it. Communities can indeed put the turbo in SEO.
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Are you considering moving your online community to a responsive design? Google reports that more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers now, and Mary Meeker indicates in her Mobile Internet Trends report that people spend more time per day on their mobile device than they do on desktop/laptops or any other device. Our smartphones and tablets are where we turn first to go online, check out a brand, shop and find answers to our questions. With increasing mobile device usage, we therefore expect to interact with brands across all of our electronic devices and have a consistent experience. How often have you typed in a URL on your smartphone or tablet only to have the desktop version of the site come up with that teeny tiny font and content that is nearly impossible to navigate? Did you stay? No, we didn’t either.
Which brings us to your online community. This is a place where you want people highly engaged, you want them contributing, you want them to have an exceptional customer experience that they will get across every touchpoint with your brand. If they try to access your community on a mobile device and your desktop version comes up, or the mobile version feels static or cumbersome to interact with, guess what? You are going to lose people. We don’t want that to happen either.
Google is a great example of a brand acting fast as they were one of the first to adapt the new Lithium Responsive feature. Loree Draude, Head of Communities and Social Engagement, Global Customer Experience at Google said, “The goal of our new Google Advertiser community is to help customers better understand and utilize our growing list of new product features. To do this, we have created a fantastic new user experience in our Lithium Community – revamping the overall look and feel (particularly for mobile) using Lithium’s responsive design, and bringing in valuable content from various sources that is easily discoverable.”
If you’re still not convinced of the advantages, here are five reasons to go responsive:
Consistent brand and user experience across all devices. This is, by far, the number one reason, because customers simply expect consistency and they are more device-agnostic than ever – meaning they no longer differentiate what they can do by device, but expect to be able to do the same tasks on all devices. Mobile has become a way of life and is therefore table-stakes.
Better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and simplified analytics. Google favors responsive design and penalizes content that is replicated across versions. A responsive design makes your content easier to find and enhances the SEO power that Lithium already incorporates in our design. It’s also easier to track analytics on responsive, as you no longer have to track various sites separately enabling simpler monitoring and analysis.
More engaged visitors. With people more likely to interact with your community on mobile, a responsive design makes engaging easier, it also allows people to interact with you wherever they are, meaning they can be in-store and search for info on your community and get the answer they need. Wherever they are in the moment, they can engage in your community.
Lower total cost of ownership, as you no longer have to design, develop and maintain multiple community sites for different devices. In the long term, responsive will save you money, time and resources not only in technology investment, but in the maintenance and upkeep of different sites as it reduces redundancy.
Increased vibrancy as visitors find it easier to participate. Let’s face it, if it’s easy to access, view and participate in, people will not hesitate to participate in your community via their mobile devices. The easier it is to participate, the more engagement you receive and therefore the more vibrant your community is. Higher NPS scores will result.
Lithium offers a Responsive design of our community platform which will enable you to provide a seamless customer experience across all devices with a flexible layout that automatically adjusts to the optimized viewing and navigational experience best suited for the device.
If you are an existing Lithium customer interested in learning more about Responsive, contact your Customer Success Manager.
Lithium CX Files: Claudius Henrichs (Skype)
The Next Community Experience: The Three Things Your Community Must Have in 2016
Community Puts the Turbo in Your SEO
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Visual content is hot and here to stay. In their everyday lives, your community members are not only using words to express their feelings and share their passion for their favorite brands, but are increasingly using images. So the more you can incorporate rich media into your community, the better. Lithium’s Media Experience enables communities to support rich media experiences for users. Here are 4 key ways incorporating rich media will help your community thrive:
1. Increase engagement and traffic . People are more likely to respond to visual content, which therefore will drive traffic to your community. By empowering people to upload and share images more easily, you can drive engagement and capture and facilitate a richer experience. Media Experience allows you to surface photos that users are sharing in the community and organize them on any page by portable widgets we call Photo Engagement Components, such as “top photo contributors,” “latest photos,” “latest photos per node,” “top kudoed photos,” “in this topic” and “my photos.” Media Experience also tracks media views in Lithium Social Intelligence, so you’ll be able to track the amount of engagement images are driving.
2. Improve SEO . Well-tagged visual content can help improve your community’s SEO since it surfaces images in online searches.
3. Create a more visually engaging Community experience. The Masonry View in Media Experience elevates visual content, improving discovery and engagement and can be applied selectively to boards where visual content is central. The improved uploader function makes it incredibly simple to upload multiple photos at once, drag-and-drop files, reorder images and add captions. Lithium customer giffgaff uses this view in their community to help users find content that inspires them to respond and share.
4. Increase trust by allowing users to showcase brand/products . Pinterest has set the bar for visual content sharing and brands know that when customers share images of products in use in real life it has far more credibility than any paid ad. By emphasizing user-generated photo content in your community, you help users build trust with your brand. Media Experience includes a lightbox which lets users magnify the image they want and find similar images, further driving engagement.
See? Easy! And the rewards are great. The more engaging experience your community members have in your community, the more likely you are to experience community’s full value for your brand.
To learn how to turn this feature on in your community, please refer to the 15.10 release notes.
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In an age of extreme customer expectations, consumers demand better experiences. If brands don’t deliver on those expectations, those consumers will quickly move on and find another experience that better meets their needs. We are excited to launch a series of new products and enhancements to our Community platform that help brands quickly adapt to consumers’ demanding expectations by delivering powerful new options that drive a better consumer experience.
Last month, we launched Responsive, which improved the user experience across devices, and this month, we are continuing to improve the user experience by providing the ability for users to share and receive rich media more easily, better ways to discover content, and more ways to share their opinions and advice with peers.
A fully Responsive design that provides a consistent user experience (UX) across devices and incorporates Lithium’s 14 years of expertise, retaining the most flexible, extensible UX in the industry. Check out Google’s Advertiser Community now live on Responsive.
A more modern Media Experience featuring new layouts and image capabilities helps consumers move beyond text and easily share rich media within a community, just as they do on other parts of the social web. Check out the media centric view on the GiffGaff Community.
SEO enhancements make the right content more easily discoverable and shareable from your community and across other digital and social channels.
Ratings & Reviews enhancements empower consumers to share their ideas, opinions, and content in multiple ways. Enhancements include the addition of multidimensional reviews and associated reporting in Lithium Social Intelligence (LSI).
We hope that you are as excited about these new products and enhancements as we are! All of these products and enhancements are GA immediately. Read more about this fall's Community product launch in this press release. For more detailed technical information, please review the 15.9 and 15.10 release notes.
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We live in a hyper-connected digital world where with just a few simple clicks, millions of products can be delivered to you within hours. Digital retail has pushed the edge of convenience and instant gratification to the point that some argue we are isolating ourselves so that leaving our homes is no longer required to meet our basic human needs. Okay, that may be a stretch, but you get the idea. It therefore begs the question: will brick-and-mortar retail locations eventually cease to exist?
Turns out though, we’re not that willing to give up our need for human connection. And that’s a good thing for retailers. People still want to come into your store, interact with friendly, helpful, knowledgeable associates and experience your products for themselves in a shopping experience that leaves them feeling better than when they entered your store. Yes, where retail locations used to be mostly transactional, they are now sought out for the experiences they provide. Customers view their online and offline interactions with you as one brand experience so a consistent omni-channel experience no matter where they stop and shop is expected.
Sephora is a leading beauty retailer that has figured this out. Their online BeautyTalk community as well as retail locations allow shoppers to learn about and explore products before (and while) they come in to the store to try beauty products with experts. The experience of selecting and buying beauty products is not just about tossing some make-up items into your hand basket at the drug store and paying for it at the counter. Instead, Sephora creates human connection and intimacy with its customers both online and offline, where customers discover their own beauty and see themselves in new ways that they wouldn’t otherwise if they did not try out the products and receive guidance from experts and people like them in a fun and supportive environment.
The majority of reasons we shop are not to meet basic survival needs, but to fulfill a need to express ourselves, learn about ourselves, reinvent ourselves, connect with people that are like us and make choices that make us feel unique and special.
It’s about the feeling we get, not the transaction or even the product itself.
And this is where a Total Community approach can help you bridge the digital and in store experiences together to create a customer experience that makes people feel good.
So what is Total Community? It’s an approach that leverages every person in your brand’s total community, i.e. whoever is connected to your company – whether it is customers, internal experts, or external influencers – to provide the advice, answers and solutions that customers need right when they need it. For example, suppose that Kristina finds a product she’s interested in buying online while perusing your website or community and has a question. She can search the community Q&As or if she doesn’t readily find an answer there, she can either sign up for the community and ask the community for advice or contact your customer service. (But who really wants to call customer service? That’s a last resort.) If she asks in the community and peers do not respond, your brand’s community manager would step in and respond, pointing her either to user-generated content within the community that addresses her question OR notify an internal expert or influencer that has the expertise to respond. By asking in the community, Kristina’s question is answered either by peers, the brand’s community manager or an expert. The Total Community came to help Kristina.
So, Kristina gets her question answered promptly, is introduced to the vast wealth of information and peers in your brand’s community and is impressed that someone within your company would take the time to answer her question. She leaves this interaction feeling cared for.
But let’s say Kristina is in your store, she has the product in her hand and needs her question answered. Chances are before she tracks down a store associate, she’ll go online to look for an answer, and if you have a thriving community that is pulling great SEO responses in search engines (communities are great at that!), chances are she’ll find an article from an expert in your community. If she can’t find an answer online, she’ll find an associate to ask and expect that the associate will have the solution.
This is where it becomes critical that you empower your frontline employees with the expertise they need or access to the experts within the company who can provide answers fast. We’ve all had the experience of asking an associate a question, only to have him or her go to the company website and find the same information (but not more!) than what we found ourselves. We mutter “well, I could have done that” under our polite “thank you for your help”. This is not enough to create the experience the customer expects. Total Community connects your employees to the internal experts so that they have the power to create a great experience for your customers both in-store and online.
Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
By marrying all the elements of your channels via Total Community, you create a memorable omni-channel experience for the customer. Your store associates and community managers become curators of great experiences, backed by the insight, advice and expertise of other customers, internal experts, and influencers bridging the in-store and digital experiences. At the end of the day, customers interact with you not only for great products, but because of the feeling you leave them with through your experience.
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If you didn’t have a chance to attend our recent webinar, we invite you to watch the replay here.
In the webinar, we discuss the results of a study conducted by Millward Brown Digital, on how using a branded on-domain customer community is a successful tool to drive social e-commerce sales, attract more shoppers and increase conversion rates.
In fact, the study shows that branded on-domain communities drive significant increases in customer loyalty, trust, satisfaction and amount and frequency of purchases. Why? Because branded on-domain communities create a sense of relationship with the brand that is unequalled by other social channels. They are natural generators of trust.
How can this help your business?
Watch the webinar
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In today’s social marketing world, proving the ROI and impact of social marketing can be challenging.
Marketers are asking: Is my investment in community driving sales? Is it improving critical branding objectives like NPS (Net Promoter Score) as well as purchase intent? Which types of branded community should I be investing in? How can I optimize on social media communities, such as Facebook and Twitter and branded on-domain communities like Lithium?
According to a study conducted by Millward Brown Digital, branded on-domain communities are a successful tool for driving social e-commerce sales, attracting more shoppers and increasing conversion rates.
In fact, the study shows that branded on-domain communities also drive significant increases in customer loyalty, trust, satisfaction and amount and frequency of purchases. Why? Because branded on-domain communities create a sense of relationship with the brand that is unequalled by other social channels. Community members report that they feel the number one attribute of the brand is “trustworthy and honest” based on their interaction with the brand and other members in the community.
Want to learn more about the power of a branded, on-domain community and how it can help you empower your sales?
Join Lithium and Millward Brown Digital to learn more about the results of the study, in particular how your brand can use branded communities to:
Drive incremental sales
Increase NPS scores
Drive trust & loyalty from consumers
Register here for the webcast on Thursday, September 25 at 11:00 a.m. PT.
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