Socialbakers recently released its Q4 results for the best and worst performing brands on social media, defined by a brand’s level of attentiveness to its community.


I was immediately struck by giffgaff’s position at number four in the worst offenders list.



This is a brand that prides itself on working “in collaboration with its members”. Surely a business with such a social proposition should be thriving instead of diving down the social league tables?

And then I remembered a chat I had with Heather Taylor, giffgaff’s former Social Media and PR Manager, back in 2011.

We were discussing her views on creating thriving online communities and one of her strongest beliefs was that, while a good community manager should be entirely immersed in their community, the best communities work not on a One-To-Many, but on a One-To-One-To-Many structure.

In other words, the community will not truly thrive until super users rise up and take moderation into their own hands. The community manager is more of a host, there to facilitate the venue and introductions and throw conversation prompts in when required, but also there to take a step back and keep a subtle, but all-seeing eye over events.

That giffgaff has a seemingly low response rate (8.48%) may be less of an indictment and more of a hat-tip to a self-moderating community.

That said, and while collaborative communities administering self-moderating customer service might sound like social Nirvana, it seems not all brands have quite reached this elevated status, with many failing to deliver on the basics.

In a recent experiment by Research Advice, only 14% of a total of 280 customer service tweets directed at 14 different global brands received any response.

Garnering a community of super users ready to assist, defend and advocate, might be the social idyll, but it will never be achieved until brands get the basic hygiene of social customer service right.




Charts courtesy of socialbakers, The Best and Worst UK Brands in Social Customer Service

Infographic courtesy of Ashley Verrill, The Great Social Customer Service Race, supermedia

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