9 ways to guarantee a winning social campaign

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Business: 80 percent didn't waste budget on shiny-object technology

One social marketing director told me, "We only added technology that our audience accepted. You can design your property so that it's completely whiz-bang or that it's very 'yesterday.' What matters more is, 'Will your audience accept it and use it?'" This marketing director had managed several bleeding-edge properties and learned that they get a lot of traffic but not necessarily business. People were coming to play, not to purchase.

Your audience is coming to your online properly to meet its goals, not yours. One of your purposes is to design your property so that the audience achieving its goals causes you to achieve your goals. Does your audience expect the latest whiz-bang? Then give it to them. Does your audience not care about the presentation provided that they can do what they want to do? Then make sure they can do what they want to do. Don't give them whiz-bang if whiz-bang stops or even slows them down.

Wise use of technology involves consistent use of technology. Don't fix what's working, just make it work better. This means, let people do what they want to do the way they know how to do it. Changing the rules midgame caused consumers to leave the field more often than not.

Eighty percent of the businesses that used technology wisely were successful. Seventy-seven percent of the businesses with failed social marketing efforts used technology because it was whiz-bang but didn't serve a recognizable marketing purpose.

Business: 80 percent chose tools that met their purpose

I first wrote about social marketing in 2006, back when it was called "WoM" and "Viral." There have been more social measurement tools on the market since then and definitely since this study started (2009) than there have been engagement tools in the past seven years. The one exception is -- you guessed it -- social engagement tools.

The most hilarious one of these (my opinion, this) was sent to me by a friend who asked me to comment. The company behind the tool defined engagement as, "People talking about this as a percentage of 'likes,'" then defined "talking" as a function of "the number of unique users who have generated a story about a page over the past seven days…" But we don't know the number of unique stories or if these generated stories were purchased by the company to promote their product/business/efforts/etc.

I must be the only one who's been approached to buy "likes," and recent research indicates that consumers know when a business is purchasing "likes," followers, and so on, and it's hurting businesses more often than not.

Determine what things are measurable that you can directly attribute to the campaign you designed. Now and only now, go find tools that can reliably, repeatedly measure those things.