What makes great Social?

A presentation for Social Media Week Singapore 2013

L-R: Rod Strother (Lenovo), Miguel Bernas (SingTel), Jenna Boller (Social@Ogilvy)
L-R: Rod Strother (Lenovo), Miguel Bernas (SingTel) and Jenna Boller (Social@Ogilvy)

As part of Social Media Week 2013, I made a brief presentation at Ogilvy Singapore on the elements of what I consider to be “great” social media marketing, followed by Q&A. While there are many, many variables that make for an effective social media marketing strategy, I distilled these factors down to three key points.

1. Supported at the top of the organization

Your social media strategy needs to be supported by senior management. A common mistake is that much of social media (e.g. the management of a company’s Facebook page or Twitter handle) is relegated to a small group within marketing or corporate communications — often by the team’s most junior members.

At SingTel, the decision to invest in social media both for marketing and customer operations is driven by the CEO himself. Across the organization, it is clearly understood that SingTel’s strength as a brand relies heavily on how it is perceived and discussed in social media. Senior management support also ensures that there is adequate funding for media campaigns and content and human resources to manage day-to-day operations, such as community management and customer support. The digital marketing team is also frequently cited by senior management for its contributions to the business.

If your social media is to be anything more than a sideshow, it needs to be embraced and championed by the company’s senior leadership. In order to gain this level of support, your social media strategy will need to be …

2. Built around clear business objectives


Your social media strategy needs to be plugged into the core of your business. This could be either through revenue (as with ecommerce-driven social media strategies like Dell) or through cost transformation. For example, SingTel sees social media as not only as a means for more open, direct interaction with customers but also as a cost-efficient channel for customer service. Today, nearly all marketing campaigns have social media elements. Social media is also one of SingTel’s fastest-growing customer support platforms, with entire teams dedicated to servicing customers through Facebook and Twitter.

Your social media strategy’s deliverables need to be clearly understood and measurable in terms of its contribution to the bottom line. This is essential because …

3. Social Media isn’t free

Many social media “purists” will argue that great social media doesn’t need paid advertising and that content and creativity alone should drive audience engagement. Personally, I find this point of view both narrow and naive. If social media is a credible part of your marketing mix, why shouldn’t it cost money?

Much of what will attract and keep audiences involved is content … and good content doesn’t come cheap. But the greatest content in the world is still ineffective if no one knows it exists. This is why many social media campaigns often require some paid media up front to get the interest ball rolling. This is essential especially when the social media activity is part of a larger campaign and you need to synchronize messages across multiple touch points within a specified period of time. You have to assume that not every piece of content will be a runaway “viral” success. That’s why paid media can offer your campaign a very effective boost.

In any case, if you have succeeded with points #1 and #2, securing adequate funding should not be an issue.

You can follow view the full presentation below. (Click on the links within to see examples of video content created for social media distribution.)

[slideshare id=16658691&w=427&h=356&sc=no]

Read about SingTel’s latest social media-led marketing campaign here.


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  2. Jenna Boller
    23/03/2013 at 10:46

    This was a really interesting panel to moderate and be part of. I agree with all of your points above. I look forward to seeing social grow in sophistication this year!

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