Social by design: Good advice to take

Facebook believes in “social by design.” In other words something is not social unless your deigned it to be social. Social needs to be a core part of what you do and not just utilizing social websites.

Understanding this concept is key to designing social media strategies. A strategy becomes social when it leverages the social aspect of life rather than uses a social network.

There are three primary social elements that we should be thinking about when we develop a social strategy.

1) Personalisation

A social strategy will look to customize a campaign with a personalized interface for the user that enhances their experience by highlighting what’s important to them.

The users identity then defines a large part of what their experience becomes. This is easily achieved by integrating with existing social networks, and by designing space on your online platforms for personalised content.

2) The reason to share

Viral campaigns become viral because they have something that people want to share. The trouble is that people don’t always share content in the same way all the time. People are more complex than that. Sharing is dependent on the content, the emotional context of consuming that content and so many other uncontrollable factors.

When designing for social, we should not ‘hope’ that people share content. We should design the strategy to encourage the sharing action.

I recently consulted a company who was showing me their ‘social’ application on Facebook. Yes, it was on Facebook. Well done. The app however never utilized, encouraged or designed any reason for people to share the content of the app. Therefore no-one will share it. There is no incentive to do so. A good example of an app that is ‘in social, but not social.

3) Connecting Community

Just because you have a community does not mean that people want to be a part of it. So many companies are pursuing the numbers game in social media strategy. I would suggest that this metric will only decrease your opportunity to connect with people and their communities.

Remember that a social strategy aims to connect your company or brand to the community of people who ‘like’ you. In other words, a focus on your community is important but needs to be balanced with a serious focus on connecting into the communities of your fans.

Sharing content often introduces you to your fans community but there needs to be a strategy design to connect their community to yours.

This is a complex idea. I am not suggesting that you need to own the community. I am suggesting that you need to find ways to influence it. Remember that the bigger the community the lower the engagement levels. Social works best in smaller, tighter and more interesting communities.

Connecting community has more to do with empowering ambassadors to build new communities than to add people to your database

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