We are currently accepting entries for our 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards and as we are rapidly approaching our February 28th deadline, I thought I would share some insights on what it takes to win in the Social Depth category.
For those of you who need a refresh, social depth includes all of the various social capabilities that a brand adds to its own website and/or campaign microsite in order to facilitate a buyers' exploration of the brand and its offerings. Social depth tactics can include a blog, ratings and reviews, discussion forums, curated and aggregated social content (user-generated and brand-generated) and social sign-on. These tactics provide tremendous value to marketers who have deployed them. In fact, my recent report shows how B2B marketers give social depth tactics high grades in terms of their contribution to business outcomes.
But what makes a social depth strategy stand out from the rest? First and foremost, your social depth strategy should provide the rich content and customer insights a buyer seeks when exploring your brand and products on your website. This branded and user-generated content should move a buyer from early exploration to consideration and ultimately to an actual online or offline purchase. Brands that do this really well can show how their strategy drives quality leads, conversions and online and/or offline sales.
We’re in our entry period for the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards (entries accepted through February 28th), and I want to examine the winners for social reach in 2013 and highlight how to put together a winning entry.
For social reach, show us how your program got new people (business people or consumers) to discover your solution, and how you measured its impact on your business — either by helping your engaged customers to discover additional offerings or by using them to create discovery among their friends. We’ll be less interested in how many social posts were made or times something was shared (although it helps), and more interested in how those posts, or shares, drove people to explore your brand and eventually make a purchase.
Our B2C winner, City Year, is an education-focused nonprofit that works with at-risk students in urban schools. It enlisted its existing corps members to get the word out through social networks. Those members posted almost 29,000 tweets using the #makebetterhappen hashtag, and in total generated more than 26 million Twitter impressions — phenomenal reach. But even more critically, the results was that brand awareness among college students nearly doubled, and the number of students who said they’d either applied or planned to apply to City Year went up by five times in one year.
We're now accepting entries for the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards — the deadline is February 28 — and we'd love to recognize your social marketing programs at our Marketing Leadership Forum this April. But in what category should you submit your program?
Just as in 2013, our award categories are based on Forrester’s marketing RaDaR research. Both our business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) awards will offer three categories:
Social reach. This category recognizes social programs that delivered marketing messages to new audiences. (After all, people can’t discover what you’re selling if they’re never exposed to it.) If your social program was designed to create awareness for your brand or product or promotion, it was probably an example of social reach marketing. If you focused your efforts on word-of-mouth marketing, paid social advertising, or thought leadership work, it also probably fits into this category.
Social depth. This category recognizes social programs that helped prospects explore your products in detail and make a purchase decision. If your social program was designed to close existing prospects or leads, it was probably an example of social depth marketing. If you focused your efforts on on-site social tools like blogs, ratings and reviews, or communities that help prospects get information from existing customers, it also probably fits into this category.
Every year since 2007, Forrester has recognized the very best social marketing programs from around the world — and I’m thrilled to announce we’re now accepting entries for the eighth annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.
The rules are simple: Entries should represent the effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational goal. The more data you can offer to prove this, the better your chances of winning. You can enter using our online form. If you win, you get a nice shiny trophy, a winner’s badge for your website, and lots of recognition from Forrester.
And this year’s deadline is February 28, 2014. (We've changed our timeline this year so that we can give out the awards at our 2014 Marketing Leadership Forum in San Francisco in April.)
So which categories should you enter? See our video for more details:
Remember: The deadline is February 28. You’ve got eight weeks to prepare and submit your company’s best social work. We look forward to your entries!