Social Evolution: Moving Beyond Likes and Posts

Based on recent headlines about social media, change seems to be the only true constant. Innovations are released and the number of active users continues to grow exponentially.

As these platforms mature, there are increasing opportunities for brands to fully harness the power of social media.

One such way is the new Facebook metric, “Talking About This.” For many brands, it’s still an arms race to see how many “Likes” their Page can collect. At the same time, this new qualitative metric reflects the number of conversations and activities happening during the last seven days. Truly, it’s an engagement score with numerous implications. For an in depth overview of this metric, see the Search Engine Land article by Greg Finn.

According to Facebook, “It’s a good gauge of the content Pages are putting up and how to generate more conversations around a Page.” Why does a qualitative score about the quality of content matter?

On Facebook, each story (formerly called a “post”) that results in limited fan activity (Likes, comments, etc.), can negatively influence the page’s EdgeRank score. EdgeRank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine who will see future posts. Although your brand might have 20,000 fans or “Likes”, a much smaller number is likely being served your content, especially if you have a track record of contributing stories that generate limited interaction.

If you think about your station’s Facebook Page and this all sounds familiar, don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, in an effort to help our industry better define their presence in social media, we have again partnered with Arbitron on a session during the 2011 Client Conference coming up in December.

The title of the presentation is Let’s Get Engaged – The Surprising Parallels Between Ratings and Social Media Success and it will focus on how stations can both strengthen and employ listener relationships to fuel social media and ratings success.

In the meantime, the Harvard Business Review has published an article that focuses on why some corporate social strategies work better than others. The findings provide a variety of insights.

First, simply trying to continue your digital strategy in social media by continuing to broadcast your messages is the first mistake many companies make. According to Harvard Business School associate professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, “Customers reject such overtures because their main goal on the platforms is to connect with other people, not with companies.”

Instead, companies with the most successful social strategies enable people to connect with one another. Jan Piskorski continues, “These work because they’re consistent with users’ expectations and behavior on social platforms.”

What’s In It for Me?

If successful brands merely facilitate conversations between people, what’s the point of investing time and resources in social? That’s where having a comprehensive strategy comes into play. The research indicates that brands aren’t simply allowing people to have conversations, they could be having elsewhere.

The Harvard Business Review article shows there are four different types of social strategies firms can pursue:

– Reduce costs by helping people meet
– Increase willingness to pay by helping people meet
– Reduce costs by helping people strengthen relationships
– Increase willingness to pay by helping people strengthen relationships

According to Jan Piskorski, “the work people do on a company’s behalf can include customer acquisition, supplying inputs such as R&D and web content, and selling the company’s products or services.”

The challenge is to identify unmet social needs and then develop a strategy that allows your business goals to be achieved. It’s a completely different approach from simply trying to figure out what to say and how often to say it.

Social media offers stations yet another powerful way to deliver enjoyment to the audience, while fulfilling various unmet social needs and facilitating personal relationships. By doing so, there is a tremendous opportunity to grow ratings and revenue.

To learn more about how dmr can help develop your social strategy and connect it to your larger marketing efforts, contact Andrew Curran for more information.

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