Where, How & Why We Care to Share

You may have seen a link to Spredfast”™s newly-released Social Engagement Index Benchmark report over the weekend in the WOMMA Research Digest.  It is a great baseline for the activity, org structure, and engagement returns of a wide swatch of actual corporate social programs.   But what does all this data mean for the Word of Mouth Marketing practitioner in particular?

With my WOMM practitioner hat in place, I took another pass through the Engagement & Interaction section of the report and pulled out the most relevant lessons on sparking WOM.  (Please note, the data below will discuss engagement as responses to social stimuli, not spontaneous organic mentions of your brand).

The More, the More Efficient ““ the graphic above shows the dramatic increase in engagement that brands in the most highly orchestrated “Proliferating” cohort received.  Proliferating companies had 5x the activity of Expanding companies, but stimulate 31x more engagement.  While we don”™t know the root cause (and the extent of the impact of Facebook algorithms), this is in keeping with Duncan Watts”™ Twitter work asserting that the path to efficient WOM sharing is arming a large audience with an experience in hopes that some subset of them will share vs. trying to predict who in a given circumstance might be an influencer.

Listen for Talkable Patterns ““ Brands are focusing the majority of their publishing activity on Twitter, yet Facebook leads response.  While much of this is explained by platform dynamics – the number of ways to respond on Facebook and the way content bubbles up in the newsfeed ““ look for signal in that response noise.  Post-level engagement offers compelling lessons on the type of interactions audiences want to have with you.  That could differ by platform, content type, or even time published.

Social Content Becomes WOM Capital - Once you”™ve spent time looking at Where & How your audiences choose to engage, ask Why.  Are they responding because they were inspired, because they have something to say, because they want to look smart (Twitter RT, I”™m looking at you), or because you have incentivized them to do so?  Think about WHY someone would care to share as an overlay to your content plan and make sure to not fatigue your audience by using the same driver over and over.

Question Rules of Thumb ““ Click data on both Twitter links and Facebook statuses proves that the notion of trying to keep everyone in social is an old wives tale.  We want to use the filter of our friends and brands we trust across networks as our “social readers”.   This is great for anyone struggling with the age-old “ROI” quest as you absolutely can stimulate conversions or trackable visits to your website through social if the reason to engage is relevant and valuable.  Question and seek data on any “rules” that you may be following that are not based in data.

Get People Talking Internally First - A thoughtful WOM content approach and the outsized returns that Proliferating companies are getting on social requires orchestration across the talkers for your brand.  For an in-depth take on how companies are approaching this, I shared some thoughts here.

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