Social and Successful by Design

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

During the panel session: When Integrated Marketing Met Social: Love at First Like, Brad Keown of Facebook introduced the idea of Social by Design.  We, as humans, are social by design and therefore, we expect our online experiences to be as well.  If the 65% of the 750 million Facebook users who log in daily are any indication of our desire to connect, then businesses should be taking this whole social media thing seriously.

Social by Design is the idea that adding a Like button to your homepage is not enough.  You have to strategically design all of your communication points (website, email campaigns, text messages, etc.) to be social. There are four guiding principles:

Build from the ground up

When writing your social business case, make sure the questions what can we give people that they will want to share? and what would make someone want to engage with us? are at the top of the list.  You have to understand your audience and know what they like.  Facebook’s data can give you insights into this and using a third party tool, like Techlightenment by Experian, can help you leverage this data.

Once you understand who your audience is and what they like, you need to figure out how they consume information.  Take some time to listen to conversations happening on social media.  Where are they taking place?  What are they talking about?  What is the sentiment of the conversation?  All of this will help when deciding how to make your website and other marketing communications more social.

People are at the center

Your audience, or people, should be at the center of your strategy.  Regina Gray, of CheetahMail by Experian, described 2010 as the year of the follow, but 2011 is the year of the relationship.  You may already have a Facebook or Twitter presence, and you may already have thousands of followers.  Now it’s time to start listening to what they saying and using data to segment your communication with them.  A great example Regina provided was a survey for Sears.  They asked people what they purchase from Sears and one option, among many, was clothing and another was none of the above.  Using data from Facebook, they could see people who purchase clothing from Sears Like Katy Perry, whereas people who do not purchase anything Like Lady Gaga.  If the marketing team at Sears is looking for a spokesperson for a back to school clothing campaign, they know they should look into Katy Perry and not Lady Gaga.  By listening to consumers and taking a deeper look into their interests, you can be more strategic and successful with your marketing communication.

Part of putting people at the center is labeling your key influencers.  Charlie Lee, of Techlightenment by Experian, discussed the software’s ability to create a leaderboard of key influencers on social media in relation to your brand,  product or keyword.  Take Joe Shmoe as an example.  Your CRM system may show that his purchasing history is not too impressive, so he is not showing up on any extra-special-gold-VIP list when he calls the support line.  But if you look at his influence on social media, he may have 2,500 followers on Twitter and mention your brand more than anyone else.  Regardless of whether he is buying your products regularly, he is influencing others who are considering your products.  Shouldn’t Joe be added to your extra-special list?

Lay in the social plumbing

Now it’s time to add social plugins to your site so you can track and monitor who is talking and what they are saying.  Facebook makes this very, as Brad Keown phrased it, simple.  For my fellow laymen, essentially Facebook provides a couple lines of code for your tech department to add to your website.  The addition of this code gives you the ability to track shares and see demographic information on those who visit your website and are simultaneously logged into Facebook.  If your target audience is teenagers, who spend 79% of their online time on social networks, you can probably collect some pretty useful information.

Make it easy and scalable

Amy Gibby, VP of Marketing for Redbox, discussed how they have made connecting with them on social media simple for consumers.  Part of this strategy, Amy describes, is understanding that social media can be practical, engaging and emotional.  Redbox connects with users on all three levels. By thinking of social media as an inherent part of what they do in marketing, it has easily been integrated into their communications.  She attributes their social media success to being strategic and lucky, but as Adweek’s third most social company, I have to think it’s a lot more strategy.

Technology is constantly advancing and, as marketers, we need to keep up.  The CEO of Netflix recently pointed out that companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.  Keeping up with, understanding and embracing social media has become an essential part of having a successful marketing strategy.  Is your business social, and therefore, successful by design?

Kerry Sugrue

Social Media Specialist,


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