Putting Social Thinking at The Heart Of Your Business

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When it comes to communications planning, brands look at social from an executional point of view, with a focus on building and maintaining a presence on specific channels and platforms. But they’re missing a greater opportunity; to put social thinking at the heart of their purpose and ambition as a business.
Individuals enjoy and seek opportunities to be surrounded by friends and share personal experiences. The popularity of social networking sites, and the explosive rate at which they’ve been adopted, clearly demonstrate this fundamental human desire. Brands that can tap into this at a deep business level, creating a unique and unassailable bond, can derive long term business benefits. But to make this happen, you have to start with the ‘why’ and then get to the ‘how’.

Ensure Social Thinking Is At The Core Of Your Purpose And Ambition
Much has been written about the value of purpose-driven leadership–business experts say it is the route to exceptional performance, psychologists describe it as the path to greater well-being. Brands also need to understand the role that social thinking can play in defining and driving them.

The key is to understand the greater role which people now play in building and maintaining successful businesses. Defining company purpose and ambition creates a focus based on why you do things, not what you do. Define this and then find ways to for people to take part. Seeing your brand as part of a wider ecosystem creates a stronger, more motivating context for people to engage with you and to support and advocate what you do.

Define Your Values and Beliefs As An Organization
Many organizations have a dusty document somewhere defining what their values and beliefs are, but very few have made these meaningful and core to how they actually behave. Until this happens, values and beliefs remain internal, and consumers will have no basis for a relationship.

Find Ways to Create a Positive Social Value Exchange
In the social media age, sharing and liking content is a key means by which we define and explore our identity, our sense of belonging and our role in society.

But to put social thinking at the centre of marketing doesn’t mean just creating content and having a presence on Facebook or Twitter; it means developing ideas which involve and add to the interpersonal relationships that people care about, in a way that also adds brand value. This isn’t just limited to spending money; brands can harness assets such as time, effort, ideas, content, influence and distribution among others.

The way to do this is to change the way in which you understand your audience. Look for social insights; human truths based on people are interpersonal rather than just individual motivations. Then use this understanding to generate social ideas that have the power to drive social behaviour.

Hold Social to a Higher Standard
When it comes to social, even business leaders can switch off their business brain. It is important to measure the impact this activity is having on your business.

Social marketing should be held to the same standard as any other marketing channel, particularly as investment in digital marketing continues to grow. Start with a clear expression of business goals, a clear definition of marketing objectives and a robust measurement framework. Measurement should go beyond social media analytics and include areas such as brand equity measurement, web analytics and attribution modelling to closed-loop ROI and media mix modelling.

When budgets can’t accommodate deeper measurement, brands can still focus on a clear expression of goals, objectives and targets and use more readily available metrics.

Be Brave
You don’t necessarily need to change the world, but you should think of how your brand can shake up the status quo. Competitive advantage stems from doing something new – and social is a great way to amplify this. Global brands like Lego champion a disruptive approach to digital and social marketing, with social head Lars Silberbauer stating their strategy is to “be relevant, be brave and do things that others haven’t. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be the best decision you’ll ever make.


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