Skip to main content

Strategy and Transformation

The Four Objectives of Social

Here is a bold statement: I bet everyone reading this post has had a client, a colleague, or a line of business say to them in the last 10 days that they wanted this or that initiative to be more “Social”. They probably said something along the lines of “I like that idea, but how can we make it more social?” or “I would love to be able to add in some social elements to this,” or perhaps it was as simple as the last line of an email that read, “and make it social.” Sound familiar? I thought so.
I bring this up not to cause a wince or nod of commiseration, but because I have some great advice to give you as you follow up on that email: ask for the stakeholder to declare an objective. Simply put, social for social’s sake is a waste of time and money. Just because something has social links, or a bright red “share” button, doesn’t make it social. Everything that’s truly social has to have a reason for being, a quantifiable result. Yes, it needs to be clever and engaging, but at the end of the campaign, or once the project launches and is live for a few weeks, there is going to be a need to produce some numbers to show that whatever effort and budget was put into the initiative, something productive or measurable has to come out of it.
Therefore, the effort is going to need an objective, so you can track the effect of the effort and improve upon it over time.
There are four primary objectives which I believe are natural in the social space, each one with their own unique qualities – and all of them dependent on strong creative direction, design, and execution. Here are the four, with some examples of brands or organizations who’ve used them to great effect.

Objective #1: Awareness

Everyone and their mother (literally) is on social media now. It’s 20% of everyone’s time on the web, and as Facebook, and Twitter, and Google+ (yes, really) are growing and expanding their user-base, traditional websites, portals, and content channels are competing for attention – and losing. If you or your clients are launching a product, spreading the word about a worthy cause, or just trying to remind the world that the brand is still going strong, unleashing a campaign that spreads through social media and word of mouth like wildfire, is exactly what most brands are hoping for from their latest social media efforts.
A great example of turning something most everyone would have little or no interest in hearing more about – like, let’s say, prostrate cancer – into a hip social champion is Movember. It’s catchy, it’s cool, it’s incredibly social and it worked to the tune of $130 million dollars raised in 2012.

Objective #2: Engagement

Perficient: Digital Strategy Experts
The Future is Digital

Becoming digital is the surest way for you to understand your customers' needs and meet their expectations. Learn how Perficient can help anticipate what's ahead for you and your customer with a digital strategy centered around empathy, alignment, and agility.

Watch Now: Digital Strategy Experts

A couple of years ago Philadelphia Cream Cheese had published just about every recipe that they could develop to include cream cheese, in an effort to break out of the bagel and cheesecake categories that they owned. The brand needed to move into other meals and usage occasions to grow their business, but the average consumer could see through any effort to expand beyond the core as coming straight from the brand’s own self interest. Based on the insight that women take most of their recommendation and advice from other women – friends and family – more than any other source, Philadelphia created a video contest called The Real Women of Philadelphia and invited, you guessed it, real women to submit. The signed on with Paula Deen to be the resident tutor, cheerleader, and judge, leveraged Deen’s existing web-based community, and solicited submissions in multiple non-breakfast recipe categories. Long story short, they expected to get about 100 videos and they got over 5,000. In the two quarters after the campaign launched across all their social media channels, their national sales totals rose by 5%.

Objective #3: Acquisition

The reason what everyone is asking for social to be part of every initiative is because of the amount of time web and mobile users are spending in all of the various channels. The idea is to “fish where the fish are” and create attractive experiences in each of these channels, drawing users into the brand. The trick is to avoid being the noisy fisherman with the outboard motor screaming into the bay. Brands that can create experiences that work with the channel, have the best opportunities to thrive. A great example of a fairly staid brand working within an emerging channel is GE and their GE Inspired ME content on Instagram and Pintrest. It’s a fairly simple contest, collecting images of GE-like Innovation with tags like #moving, #building, #curing and #powering, and awarding prizes for the best photos. The lesson here is to figure out the essence of the channel (photography), and craft your channel experience to work like a fish-whisperer.

Objective #4: Retention

Having a baby is a life changing event, obviously. New parents are in need of information on every detail of the experience, and increasingly they are turning online for support, resources and advice. For a brand like Johnson & Johnson, a editorial community like BabyCenter is the perfect fit. One of the best features on BabyCenter is their subscription emails, which when tied to the projected due-date of the oncoming baby, allows BabyCenter to send out weekly informational emails that are extremely valuable, and tailored to the exact stage of development of your child. A second theme, that is a whole post in and of itself, is the savvy use of the soft-sell. While BabyCenter is owned by Johnson & Johnson, which has products for all stages of childbirth and early childhood, J&J maintains very high editorial standards, and the brand lift of the association (and the loyalty and retention that results) comes far more from the sites ability to address parental needs, rather than a constant stream of brand messaging. They strike a great balance to the benefit of both parents and brands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Saren Sakurai

More from this Author

Follow Us