The Reality of Social Currency

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One of the tougher jobs on any given days in the digital space is the curation and or the creation of good content. It’s everywhere and sometimes it doesn’t matter what RSS feeds ot Flip Boards or whatever you use to find it, it can slip through the cracks. Case in point, this morning I came across an interview with Erich Joachimsthaler, a former Harvard professor, author of over 40 articles & two books on brand strategy and the CEO of Vivaldi Partners Group. The interview, conducted by Steve Olenski on Explore B2B was titled: What Twinkies Can Teach Marketers About Comebacks And Social Branding.

Though it was a great read, I was struck by two particular exchanges that I’m semi-condensing. Pay attention to what Joachimsthaler says about social metrics.

Steve Olenski: What are some of things Hostess has done right in re-introducing and re-engaging the Twinkies brand with its fans in your opinion?

Erich Joachimsthaler: They have done well by building on key drivers of social currency mainly conversation, advocacy and affiliation (#cakeface instagram, etc). That is, the comeback campaign sought to activate loyalists and fans through various efforts on social networks. The good part about this effort is that it stretches the marketing dollars because it creates more visibility and awareness for the re-launch. At best, the effort creates some awareness to consideration conversion. The problem with this effort is that it does not lead toward purchase and loyalty.

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The category requires constant and always-on top of mind marketing/PR buzz and it is hard to sustain such effort on social channels alone, and media advertising which is relatively expensive and not sustainable. I would say, it is impossible in today’s media cluttered environment, and consumers’ who tend to have ever shorter attention spans.

Olenski: How can Hostess ensure this (Twinkies return) will be a sustained effort and not just a fad that will eventually fade?

Joachimsthaler: Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers. It has about 650,000 likes on Facebook, compare this to more than 17 million for Nutella and 34 million for Oreo for example. Don’t measure the re-launch and sustained success on these metrics. Sustainable success will require driving consideration to purchase conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion. Those are the social currency metrics that really matter.

What caught my eye?

  • Social currency metrics worth measuring are driving consideration to purchse conversion and purchase to loyalty conversion.
  • Don’t be misled by social media metrics, likes, fans, and followers.
  • The key drivers of social currency are conversation, advocacy and affiliation

I know you’ve read and heard it all before about social currency and social metrics, or maybe not, but sometimes the message can resonate in different ways depending on the context in which it is said. In this context, it was said matter of factly. Well done!

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