CMO, social activation

Perspectives

Where do you start with social activation?

The market is full of products to measure social engagement, listening, sentiment, and other metrics. Your teams likely have a handful of them in their toolbox. But social activation isn’t really about the tools. It’s about how you use them to achieve your business goals. Here’s a quick and easy framework to follow to make sure you’re starting your social activation strategy on the right foot.

Step 1: Define your business goals.
These are business objectives that are measurable, paired with metrics attributable to your efforts. Maybe that’s increasing the number of leads or sales, boosting your voice on a strategic topic, or reducing call volume to your call center. Avoid the temptation to overload initial efforts across too many desired outcomes. There will be opportunities to extend the reach and effect of campaigns, but initially you should opt for focused results.

Step 2: Establish your baseline.
Now that you have a destination, you should find where your company is in the minds of consumers. Who are the loudest online audiences? How do consumers talk about you online? What’s their biggest complaint? What are the major conversation themes? Conduct research to answer these questions before you implement a social marketing strategy. Similar to focus groups and ethnographies, social media analytics can inform you about the behaviors, trends, and knowledge of your audience.

Step 3: Structure an ongoing social activation program.
Once the charter for your social activation is clear, keep your focus on the following areas to help you maintain a strong social activation program:

  • Audience–gather insight. Your program should include a process to constantly learn about existing communities, channels, and content. Community insight involves understanding the various relevant constituencies within regions and groups, as well as the influencers and their relationships across the market. Channel intelligence measures the impact that programs make across various digital platforms and sites. Content reviews look to understand the health of social assets and how aligned they are to community and channel preferences.

    Remember, counting Facebook “likes” or how many tweets contained positive words such as “good” or “happy” only skim the surface. Instead, try to engage in a perception study and let today’s conversations inform how you, your competitors, and your partners are perceived. Perception involves uncovering what conversations are taking place, where they’re happening, and how people really think and feel about the company or product. You will likely uncover some negative perceptions to deal with, learn how to amplify positives, and design strategies to seed and grow your aspirational perceptions.

    The insights you gather from ongoing audience monitoring can help you create plans to motivate and shape perceptions. With this knowledge, you can begin building influential campaigns—including the build-out of content supply chains to manage, govern, and enhance digital content worldwide.
  • Campaign–influence perception. Focus on the ideation, creation, execution, and monitoring of social experiences that engage audiences and strategically shape perceptions. These may be tied to external events such as seasons and holidays, conference schedules, or industry milestones. Or they may be linked to internal happenings such as product launches, new content releases, or media events. Content, promotions, games, mobile applications, and microsites that embrace the power of social media to achieve business objectives are possible tools. Either way, look to create natural links to e-commerce platforms—allowing activation to actually influence sales.

    As your social activation program grows, you can begin to launch hyper-targeted ambassador or consumer VIP programs, fostering a community of passionate and connected users to help drive messaging, promotions, and perhaps even product innovation.
  • Analytics–measure impact. To help determine the success of your social activation strategy, look back to your original business objectives and metrics. Like any marketing strategy, make adjustments along the way. Funnel your team’s effort into the activities that work the best. Monitor the conversation to make sure people are talking accurately about your brand. If there are any issues or misconceptions, try to clear them up in a helpful manner.

The power of social activation can be unleashed when others advocate an organization’s message in their own words to their network. While channels are fractured these days, you can still be in control, activating your audiences to drive your message outward. With patience and a strong process, you can learn how to get them to advocate for you—in ways more powerful than you can imagine.

For more information, check out Deloitte’s 2014 Tech Trends article: "Social activation." 

Published on August 17, 2015.

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