Over the years, Thermomix® has developed into a genuine “love brand” that radiates a strong appeal and has assumed an important role in the everyday lives of many of our customers. That is also tangible on our social media channels – regardless of whether on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube or in our Recipe World, on which we chalk up some eight million visitors a month. To an outsider, community management at Thermomix® may look like it’s simply fan support and thus a sure-fire success. But it’s not. My colleagues and I make a constant effort to take the topic of community management one step further. In the process, we have gained five insights into successfully setting up a community, which I would like to share with you.
As community managers, we are, of course, the outward embodiment of our employer. Our communication should befit the positioning of our company. However, the fans of your brand can tell immediately if you are merely playing back general, preformulated, empty marketing clichés. So, it’s important to listen or read closely to find out what the user’s concern is. You should respond to the latter in the same language and thus at eye level. Only then will users feel that you are taking them seriously and coming to meet them.
One of the most important duties for me as a community manager is motivation. Here, moderation is handled by a team that belongs to customer service – and can also help with questions about individual products better than my colleague and I can. Our job is to motivate users to take an active role and post interesting stories with the Thermomix®. What forms can this motivation assume? Here in Germany, for example, three years ago we introduced “Give a Gift Day”, a day exactly six months before Christmas on which we presented suggestions for small culinary presents, to which, of course, our fans can add their own ideas.
A recurring event like “Give a Gift Day” is just one example of how to generate content from the community. Another example from our community is the recipe contests that we hold periodically. It’s important to pick up on the users’ ideas and make valuable contributions of your own. Let’s not kid ourselves: the love between fan and brand is an egotistical relationship. A brand that fails to offer genuine added value in the community will quickly lose its “love brand” status again or never even attain it in the first place. Our experience at Thermomix® has shown: it helps to ask the community straight out about their favorite content – and then make them happy with corresponding posts.
Of course, as community managers, we are very preoccupied with the subject of “brand ambassadors” or the question of how to integrate loyal fans even more strongly. The result at Thermomix®: an exclusive community for our Thermomix® “superfans”, the “community stars”. The pilot program, which currently has 30 members and will continue to accept applications in the future, kicked off last October in Germany. The idea is to give something back to the dedicated fan community and loyal customers and reward their loyalty. They receive exclusive content and little presents from us and are invited to events. This very personal interaction reinforces the bond to our product, the brand, and the company and generates trust in our work, whereby I have arrived at the final and sometimes most important point:
Community stars were already present at the launch date of the new Thermomix TM6, which is a positive development in my view. Our fans notice that we take their suggestions seriously, share them with the company, and are thus able to make things happen. Already after the relaunch of the Cookidoo® platform, which entailed many changes, they provided us some suggestions that we were able to transmit directly to our technical department and which were partially adopted. The other way around, as community managers, our colleagues ask us with increasing frequency whether we can quickly get the opinion of our “superusers”. While we are unable to provide our colleagues with valid market research, we are definitely able to point out trends. Companies shouldn’t underestimate this added value!
has been working at Vorwerk since 2004 and switched to Thermomix Social Media & Community Management in 2009. Her main projects there are currently the Thermomix Recipe World, the Thermomix Pinterest page, and community building.