Social Toaster works to help companies increase presence in social media through encouraging a company’s current audience to share content via social media. Social Toaster then tracks activity to help assess effectiveness. I am going to discuss how NickMom.com is using this program and why I think that it is successful.
NickMom.com is a parenting website that accompanies the adult-centered television program, NickMom, which targets women with children, and airs on the Nick Jr. network after 10pm. The program just launched in the fall of 2012, and has already created quite a buzz in online communities.
NickMom.com recently launched NickMom Clique via Social Toaster. On NickMom Clique, people can earn points and win prizes by sharing specific content with their Facebook friends and/or Twitter followers. NickMom Clique seems to be successfully engaging current and potential viewers.
The content that members share is not entirely user generated, but, as I am calling it, semi-user-generated, because the actual message is pushed by the company. Status updates can include a link to content from an email newsletter and/or have a specific keyword or hashtag that users must include (ex: #motherfunny) to earn points towards prizes or other incentives. In other words, NickMom tells users what to post about, and users get points for social media shares that include the recommended content.
This gives NickMom some control or influence over what content they want out there, but the statuses themselves are still being shared by the public. This is a great way for a company to gain stronger presence in the world of social media (or at least on Facebook and Twitter) for many reasons.
People are already engaging in social media and sharing recommendations. Offering incentives for the current audience to engage with NickMom and share via their social media networks does more than help to expand online presence. It also strengthens the existing audience by bringing them together in an online community and further exposing that audience to the company’s message. Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer shows that people trust people like themselves over a company’s employees or CEO. Based on this, a company’s message will likely have more influence if it comes from someone’s peers than if it comes directly from the company.
This model for social media engagement and expansion seems like the best of both worlds. On the one hand, the company is able to steer the direction of the message that is being shared on social media, but the actual sharing is generated by the public. According to Social Toaster, when a company encourages a message to be shared, users are choosing to share the content 42% of the time and reaching 313 people on average. I expect that we will continue to see more companies implementing social media campaigns like this.