More followers can bring more social rage: Virgin Mobile

Telco sees real-time social content as next frontier

Virgin Mobile associate director of digital experience, Alicia Mack.
Virgin Mobile associate director of digital experience, Alicia Mack.

A large number of likes on Facebook doesn’t always equate to a large amount of brand love, according to a marketing official at Virgin Mobile Australia.

“Size is not as important as people think it is,” Virgin Mobile associate director of digital experience, Alicia Mack, said at a social media forum hosted by Oakton. “It is the reach and engagement of your community.”

Followers on social networks won’t all be brand advocates and a large number of them might only be there to vent their grievances, said Mack.

“We don’t want Facebook to be a glut of social complaints,” she said. “We don’t want people who are brand admirers or who might be considering Virgin Mobile and just seeing nothing but complaints about [a] poor network or poor service.”

Virgin Mobile has attempted to redirect complaints about service instead to a Lithium message board, where people can find help from support technicians and other customers, she said.

“We’re very, very happy to accept a smaller Facebook or brand consumer community to be able to siphon a lot of the service consumers elsewhere,” Mack said.

A company like Vodafone Hutchison Australia with a vaster social audience than Virgin has suffered from a flood of complaints on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, she continued. The social noise got the infamous hashtag “Vodafail” trending.

“Consumers got really pissed off at Vodafone and took to social networks to talk about it. That was picked up very, very quickly and still to this day – years later – they’re still trying to overcome that,” Mack claimed.

Virgin Mobile had a PR disaster of its own when it increased international call rates to a few countries, and one affected customer caused a massive headache, Mack explained.

But while there is an element of defence to social, it is also opens opportunities to do big marketing at a fraction of the cost of TV and other traditional advertising. Virgin Mobile has a smaller budget than the big telcos but sees social as a way to “punch above our weight,” Mack said. For example, a recent social-by-design campaign by Virgin featuring Brad Pitt’s brother, Doug Pitt, was a big global success that cost relatively little compared to traditional ad campaigns.

“Even though were outspent 20 to one that year in a media, this activity... reached 5 million people on Facebook,” Mack said. “It increased our awareness by 21 per cent and increased our brand consideration by 25 per cent.”

Providing social content that quickly reacts to current events as the next big opportunity for Virgin Mobile and other brands. But Mack warned it is not without its dangers.

“Content is much more powerful when you’re talking to customers in real-time,” she said. RELATED: Companies still not strategic enough about social media strategy Why CMOs can’t ignore social media governance
How to command conversation: 3 social media command centre examples
Oreo scored a major win when, during a blackout occurring in the Super Bowl, it sent out an image advertising that customers could still dunk their Oreos even in the dark. To make that happen, the cookie maker had dedicated a 15-person team of social marketers to the sporting event.

Read more: Brands must look for emotional connection and shareability, says Buzzfeed

On the other hand, clothing maker, Kenneth Cole, suffered a major PR disaster when it went to Twitter to imply that uprisings in Cairo had something to do with customer interest in its Spring sale, said Mack.

It can be a challenge to get executives behind social marketing initiatives, admitted Mack. “Structurally, what we found to be a challenge a couple years ago when we were trying to introduce a social-by-design mentality is getting marketing directors and CEOs to think beyond a Channel Nine, 8:30 ad campaign…” she said.

But with more examples of success emerging, these business leaders are becoming easer to convince, she said.

“The simplest way is [to] give them an example in dollars and cents on why it works.”

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and wearable computing for CMO and is the author of a dystopian novel about surveillance. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts

What are Chris Riddell's qualifications to talk about technology? What are the awards that Chris Riddell has won? I cannot seem to find ...

Tareq

Digital disruption isn’t disruption anymore: Why it’s time to refocus your business

Read more

Enterprisetalk

Mark

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...

jackson13

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in