October 14, 2011
We’ve taken the three most engaged Facebook pages and for the past week we’ve been watching to see just how much emotion plays a part in their community management. In Part I of this series we laid out our measurement criteria; in Part II we put it to the test.
According to SocialBaker’s latest report, the three UK Facebook pages with the highest engagement levels are Kérastase UK, Lagavulin and Park Bench. Over the space of a week we’ve analysed the level of Emotional Intelligence displayed in their online community management, based on three of the key factors in Goleman’s theory. Here’s what we found:
#1 Kérastase UK
Hair care community
This is the most engaged Facebook page in SocialBaker’s report, despite having the lowest number of fans in the top three; an indication, perhaps, that social media success is not always a numbers game. The community thrives on its own, providing the manager gives it a stimulus – and that stimulus is typically a prompting question to talk about themselves. Beyond starting conversations, however, the community management remains largely withdrawn emotionally, particularly when the community demonstrates any level of frustration.
On average, the community manager posted on the wall every couple of days and did not respond to comments. When prompted by a simple question or poll the community became highly motivated to ‘Like’ and comment, left unprompted, the community fell into blanket silence.
The community manager had the opportunity to step in and diplomatically engage with frustrated members, but instead chose to keep out of the conversation, which felt like a missed opportunity to a) forge a stronger relationship with the community and b) use the platform as a means of customer care.
The community clearly enjoyed being asked questions about themselves and the community manager pandered to this and in this respect showed a clear empathy towards the group. When a practical solution could be offered, the community manager was quick to step in and offer this, but when all that was needed was a sympathetic response to frustrations that had no real solution, the community manager held back.
This community displayed a high level of emotion and a great passion for the brand. The community manager used personalised and evocative questions to further fuel the community’s passion and the manager also showed a good level of empathy towards the community when responding to its frustrations.
Lagavulin posted less frequently than Kérastase, leaving several days between posts, though the community manager did respond when prompted and the community kept the wall active without being prompted. Simple wall posts such as, “if you were asked to describe Lagavulin to a fellow whisky fan who had not yet sampled it, how would you describe it to them,” elicited a visibly emotional response from the community.
When a member of the community complained that they couldn’t find the brand in their local supermarket, the community manager was quick to act in a diplomatic fashion, apologising and offering an explanation in a friendly and understanding way.
This is a community that wants to talk whisky and the community manager gives them exactly what they want. A prompt to answer the question, “the best place to enjoy Lagavulin is, “________”, generated just under 700 comments and over 800 Likes.
#3 Park Bench
The Park Bench community displayed the most emotion of the three, with the community manager tapping into the shared love and sentimentality surrounding animals, which the community clearly thrives on.
The Park Bench community manager was the most motivated of all three, posting several times a day and always responding to comments. The community needed a stimulus to start talking, but the community manager never failed to provide it.
Fantastic levels of diplomacy are shown here. The regular ‘Ask A Vet’ slot encourages members to visit the event Wall with questions for the vet, though many members leave their questions as comments on the page which they have been asked not to do; nonetheless the community manager cooly and calmly puts members on the right track.
The community manager is highly empathetic to the community, responding to its love of sentimentality with Wall posts that play perfectly into this. Regular posts offering advice also offer the community reassurance and encourage trust.
These are pages that see high levels of engagement from their communities, but it’s interesting to see that the emotion and the engagement come more from the communities than their managers. If Emotional Intelligence is as much about expressing emotion as understanding the emotions of others then the role of a branded online community seems to be reading, igniting and empathising with the emotions of the community rather than injecting any emotion of its own.