The difference between 1D and 3D social media activation

One dimensional social media: The use of free platforms to distribute brand message, promotions/coupons, campaigns or handle customer service.

Three dimensional social business: The ability to merge digital and real world experiences which creates return for business.

Businesses have come to know social media in practice as the use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, for the purpose of campaigns, customer service and the acquisition of likes, followers and views.

This narrow view of social media has been good for a while: Social media is a free media channel, it can cut the costs of call centres and if all your competitors have a something, and you have one too, well then that’s a good thing. But using social media this way isolates a brand to using these major channels simply for corporate communication, advertising and promotions.

So, what’s the big deal?

The problem with these social media activations is that they are one dimensional.

Worse, some categories fall into the trap of thinking “if they’re doing cool stuff on Facebook over there in FMCG, well hey, I should be doing that in utilities”.

Customers are becoming so used to the spiel of a coupon or promotion, or even slamming a brand to oblivion because they can, that the shark is about to get jumped.

People – your customers – have specific requirements from various brands. What they expect and how they deal with purchasing a chocolate bar is a totally different customer experience to choosing shampoo, or seeking the service of a health specialist, or changing electricity providers for example.

Social media approached as a one dimensional tool is good for a few things when done in the right way for a particular brand and target. But even in those cases it requires consistent effort and creativity to sustain and see any type of return. For everyone else, a different approach is needed if you want to seriously pursue market share or meet consumer expectations in today’s environment.

Example of one dimensional social media success for Automotive:

Holden Australia taps into the passion and love for the car brand. They stay focused across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blog with the posting of news, promotions, campaigns and facilitating customer service.
Their Facebook page has upwards of 380,000 fans and they tend to split brand associations into niche accounts such as Holden Motorsport and Netball, which runs the risk of becoming too proliferated.

Holden remains one dimensional across social channels to stay connected and spread brand message. But there are still opportunities to bring together customer experience with physical product that Holden is failing to seize.


Example of one dimensional social media failure for Utilities:

Origin Energy has been handing out Fantale like lollies  with energy facts and stories. The intent is an integrated campaign across website, Twitter and Facebook around “Knowledge is Power” and an accompanying long hashtag #knowledgeispower.

The campaign isn’t working because people aren’t passionate about utilities. They don’t want to engage around electricity. They just want great service, electricity that’s cheap and problems dealt with quickly when they occur.

The pages show there is no engagement and it’s a case of brand trying to emulate a fun FMCG brand within social to get traction. It doesn’t make sense from a consumer or business perspective.

Knowledge is Power Origin Energy

Example of three dimensional social media success for FMCG:

Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign was a simple idea with great return- put your mate’s name on a bottle of Coke. Combining personalisation and sharing across both digital channels and tangible experiences lifted consumption by 7%.
People could SMS names to appear on the Coke sign in Sydney, create a personalised virtual ‘Coke’ can to share with a Facebook friend, and make their own TVC  featuring their friends’ profile pictures.

Traffic on the Coke Facebook site increased by 870% and the Facebook page grew 39%.  (Case study)

Share a Coke

Example of three dimensional social media success for communications:

O2 created giffgaff, to attract an audience of digitally-savvy consumers who avoided traditional networks. Its core strategy was the application of the community-powered model of social media sites such as Wikipedia to the mobile sector. Giffgaff created a community customer service site that rewarded consumers financially and emotionally for their contribution.

The mobile service provider saw 5 answers on average to any question asked within the community, customer recruitment, customer loyalty and the top ten contributors earning £450 on average. A small price to pay for retention and loyalty. (Case study)

The social activation works because the business understands the target on their terms with giffgaff adhering to these terms of engagement. Ultimately the effort of maintenance by the business is small with the customer doing majority of the heavy lifting.


Where is the opportunity?

Transforming a business into one that is socially optimised is the way to create a better return. A socially optimised business uses the tools and feedback loop of social media to build actual revenue, not just likes or followers.

Socially optimised businesses respond to the expectations of customers who are digitally capable and mobile accessible. Those customers want to interact in a way that is:

  • Time and effort efficient;
  • Empowers them with self service;
  • Designed to be tailored and geared towards the individual’s requirements; and
  • Sharable across social channels, if they see fit.

By becoming focused on creating a social media platform that supports a complete customer experience, those businesses have the opportunity to build solid data about the behaviours of their customers, which can be used to pursue more solid business.

This kind of thinking opens up the opportunity to create more complex products and services that deliver to today’s switched on consumer.

Steps to generate a 3D social business:

Becoming a social business is built on the foundations of solid research.

  • Identify the trends, gaps and opportunities of your sector from a digital/social media perspective.
  • Understand what it is your customers want from interactions with your business.
  • Develop a plan and timeline of achieving these new goals over time.
  • Begin to translate those findings and practices into a digital framework which facilitates loyalty and repeat purchase.