The same intelligence that is invested in the creation of creative ideas must be put into the delivery of said ideas so that brands are able to connect with people. The mass adoption of social networking technologies provides a great opportunity for brands to deliver content, experiences, and messages to a tightly targeted group of people and still achieve a high-volume reach. The value this creates for brands is unprecedented in comparison to preexisting marketing tools. However, the most compelling factor of social media is that content, experiences, and messages that resonate with people are shared from person to person and can easily spread across a wide populous. The “share” is accompanied with a degree of credence that a brand could not command on its own because people trust people more than any form of marketing. Here, engagement produces reach, with a twist. The technology accelerates this dynamic so that the propagation happens far more rapidly than it would in the “offline world” and amounts to a high-level reach as well. Therefore, engagement and reach are far more intertwined than they are binary. When people engage on social networking platforms, it produces stories, and these stories are presented to other people within their network. From this perspective, reach is a by-product of engagement. Concurrently, the high-level reach that social networking platforms provide creates opportunities for potential engagement, and thus the cycle continues. Engagement and reach are not mutually exclusive and should be seen as complements to a practice of social connections.
Delivery is not only a matter of to whom but also a product of where. The contexts of the environment inform the content, experiences, and message a brand would transport in an effort to connect. How the brand shows up would then be nuanced by the subtleties thereof. Of course, the retail environment is highly coveted, because of its proximity to purchase, and entrenched with its own set of nuances. With this in mind, brands can develop creative stimuli – informed by the contexts of the retail environment – that resonate with people and move them to take action, whether it be a share or a purchase. Or both.
If marketers are meant to “move people,” our approach to measuring success is quite simple. Did people move? Did they adopt the behavior we designed for? If the answer is “Yes,” then it was a success. If not, then it was not. The benefit of social networking technology is that marketers are able to track behaviors with low latency (thanks to social listening, Google Analytics, and other tools), analyze the deficiencies and optimize the design to course correct. Appropriately, we assign metrics that are most representative of the behavior we want people to adopt. The key performance indicators become those metrics that are closer in proximity to the identified business objective (sales, traffic, shares, etc.). Did people move? Did they adopt the behavior we designed for? If the answer is “Yes,” then it was a success. If not, then it was not. Simple, right?