Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Social Media – the importance of a call to action

by Kathryn Richards

“Social Media” is certainly the buzz phrase in business this year. Everyone has heard about it, is pressured to “be on it” and “have a presence”. But even the biggest names can (and do!) get it wrong…

I recently heard from a colleague about a strategic meeting for an online campaign. The quantifiable target of the proposed new online campaign (with a significant investment involved) was to “get more fans on our Facebook fan page than our industry competitors”.

I was pretty shocked for several reasons. Firstly, the Facebook fan page in question was not even an official page managed by the company (a large multinational) –and surprisingly this didn’t seem to be a concern. Secondly, the strategy of the campaign was based entirely on having a presence “because our competitors do”. But what’s more, there was no benchmark of community management, or plan of how these fans would be engaged/ called to action.

This is completely missing the point of Social Media --> interaction and engagement!

Social Media campaigns (whether they be on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc…), just like any other online marketing strategy, need to have a clear goal. This could be to engage users, to inform them about your brand, to encourage them to buy your product, to get click-throughs to your website or to create a “buzz” around a specific product.

Social Media Case Study - Green & Blacks

The campaign “a piece of Green & Blacks” was launched in October, with the supposed aim of recruiting an “assistant taster” for their Head Chocolate Tester. Promotions include a short video advert (shown in cinemas + online), while the campaign is based on their website http://www.pieceofgreenandblacks.co.uk/, strongly linked with their Facebook page and twitter stream.

The campaign offers the job of your dreams - to test chocolate on a daily basis, trying out new flavours and sourcing new ingredients. Whether it is an extreme PR stunt or a genuine HR need is debatable –but this campaign is a brilliant, simple example of consumer engagement.

1. A clear call to action – click through to the website
The video and online advertising have a clear call to action – to click through to their website and apply for the job/ for free chocolate.

2. Obvious incentives to become Facebook fan
We are constantly exposed to brands demanding us to become fans on Facebook. But often lacking is the incentive. What’s in it for us if we become a fan? Here, the incentive is clear – free product samples.

3. Converting passive consumers into active ambassadors of the product
To date, almost 3000 engaged readers have answered the “question of the week”, in the hope to win a box of G&B chocolate. The viral factor (and indeed the automated Facebook status update as below) means that G&B are surely on to a winner here.
However, I was disappointed to find that their youtube channel does not seem to be linked to the campaign. After a little more investigation, I discovered also that there is no “careers” section to their regular website – which suggests that this campaign is indeed a clever PR stunt.

This campaign appeals to us on an emotional level – many of us must have had childhood dreams to become chocolate tasters – and it is successful in creating a buzz around the brand. A long-term, engaged Facebook community? I’m not so sure.

Nevertheless, a call to action remains highly important – just like everywhere else on the net. Next time you see an online campaign based around Social Media, have a think – what are you, the viewer, meant to do? Become a fan on Facebook (if so what is your incentive?), visit a website, buy the product?

Any thoughts? All comments welcome…

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