Social media and behaviour change

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Social media and behaviour change: planning and intervention takes a look at the some of the theory and practice of researching and implementing behaviour change campaigns using social media.

Part one is about practical, low cost ways to understand your audience and their behaviour online, and part two looks at case studies in using online communities to support behaviour change, delving a little into how you might apply social marketing theory to a social media campaign.

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  • I’d like to talk about practical, low cost ways to use social media in the planning/insight process, theory of behaviour change as it relates to some case studies, and touch on evaluation.
  • (Photo courtesy of pmeidinger on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmeidinger/2051470867) – using Creative Commons licence).I’m not hear to tell you how important social media is, or show you a load of lurid infographics – I don’t want to patronise you and I’m assuming you get social media already.I’m also going to assume a basic understanding of the theories and planning processes around social marketing.
  • Photo courtesy of SuttonHoo on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/suttonhoo22/528339071/sizes/l/in/photostream/) - licenced under Creative Commons.I’ve tried to make this talk practical, case-study lead where possible, drawing as much on my own experience as possible and taking into account the fact that people are often working to restricted budgets.Like this sign, it’s hopefully, practical, cheap and fun.
  • As you know, these are the constituent parts of I’m going to try and get through today.1. Research/insight/planning – some practical tips on how to use social media to research your online audience and use this to plan a campaign.2. Intervention – a few case studies to help us explore some of the ways digital social communications can be used to impact behaviour.3. Evaluation – I’ve chosen not to go into detail on this, as your campaign evaluation criteria shouldn’t change, but I will touch on some examples of social media measurement.I want to be very, very practical about section 1. so that you can immediately start experimenting with some of the research tools, but be a bit more theoretical and discursive about section 2. as the behaviour change tactics you might employ through social media might differ massively depending on your audience, campaign and intended outcomes.The talk will take about 30 minutes, so please hold on to any questions until the end, and (hopefully) we’ll leave some time for a discussion.
  • I’m assuming you have a good idea of the people you want to reach and the behaviour you want to affect.To build a social media element to your campaign, you now need to find out:- Where they spend their time online: so that you know where you can reach them and what kind of things they like to do. What are their attitudes and language around the issue: so that you know what tactics, messages and words might work. Who do they listen to: presumably not you, otherwise you wouldn’t have a job to do, so which people online are influential to your audience?This isn’t meant to be a complete guide to planning a social media campaign but these things will certainly help you create the right foundations.
  • GoogleAdplanner – a tool designed for marketers to produce media plans – allows us to specify broad demographics and explore the sites used by our audience.Clicking on the column titles filters the ‘placements’ (websites) by Reach or Unique Visitors, so that we can see which are most popular.We can also filter by choosing specific interests or only seeing results for audiences that also visit a specific website.Google gathers the data through third party demographic data (via consumer research panels) and it’s own sample data.
  • Tools like Brandwatch, Alterian SM2, Meltwater Buzz or any of the other myriad of paid social media monitoring tools, will allow you to monitor, report on and analyse conversation around specific topics and themes. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a reliable, free social media monitoring tool (and the ‘freemium’ versions of most have been retired), and these can cost around £400 per month. The cheap workaround is to use Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts), to provide you with regular email digests of new online mentions but this will require you then compiling this data yourself into one place (probably a spreadsheet) and will not provide the kind of filters and analysis of paid-for tools.Either way, set up queries (combinations of keywords) that will record and report on when and where those online ‘mentions’ appear, and qualitatively analyse the attitudes and language used around them to inform the strategy and messaging of your campaign. You’ll need a human to do this, as the tools won’t analyse and report on the contextual language.These tools can also be used to help evaluate your activity (more on this later).
  • Google, again! Google’s blog search and other filters means you can quickly pull up a list of blogs talking about a specific topic, or theme, specifying the timeframe and geography.If you’re building up a list of influencers over time, subscribe to Google Alerts for the query (at the bottom of the page) and get notified by email every time a new post is written mentioning the keyword/phrase.To determine if they’re influential, use tools like Alexa and Compete to see how they compare to other sites in the UK, how many people visit them each month and how many other sites link to them.Oh and look carefully – check that they’re still blogging and do a little digging to make sure they’re definitely people you want to be associated with (not crazed space nazis).Many of the blogs or news sites you come across will have an associated Twitter profile or Facebook page, but sometimes an influential blog isn’t necessarily and influential Twitter personality or manager of a popular Facebook community, so if these spaces are of interest, do some research using their specific search functions and use your judgment to determine how influential a Twitter profile individual or Facebook page is.Think things like number of followers or fans and regularity of engagement with the content they publish: are people retweeting, commenting, liking or sharing what they say?
  • I want to look at a three different campaigns that aimed to effect a behavioural change using different tactics.Two of these are projects I’ve helped design and one is just a campaign I’ve been really impressed by. I want to ground some of my thoughts in the academic theory – not because I’m at all academic – but because it helps give us a framework for understanding how they might be successful. Social games and the stages of change theory: RSPCA Think Pig, a social game and community on Facebook that aimed to change players’ purchasing behaviour. Online communities and social cognitive theory: Virgin Media Pioneers, an online community that aimed to get members to start businesses. Miscellany: affecting social norms, using social proofThis isn’t a cover-all of the tactics and strategies for using social media to change behaviour but both case studies cover a lot of ground in terms of helping illicit behaviour change and I’ve thrown in a couple of other things I like, for good measure!
  • In the stages of change model, behavior change is described as a continuum – a journey relating to someone’s readiness or ability to change. It’s thought different people progress through it at different rates, and might sometimes move backwards, rather than forwards, before hitting the maintenance stage.
  • Audience and need.Why a Facebook game – what’s so great about Social Games (Revenue for 2011 estimated at $1bn, 62m people expected to play).RSPCA Think Pig was an interactive word game, build as a Facebook application with a supporting community page.It was fun, addictive and easy to play, and carried the RSPCA branding but there was no overt campaign message – all messaging was secondary to the gameplay itself.At specific points during the game, the player was exposed to simple facts about pork consumption and pig welfare, in a way that wasn’t ‘preachy’ or directive, but simply started to raise awareness of the issues.The game was simple to share and the associated Facebook page helped to form a community around the game and which could be engaged in discussions with the RSPCA about their attitudes, and helped to start to alter their purchasing behaviour.Evaluation: measuring the increase in the purchase and consumption of higher welfare pork is hard and expensive to measure. And even with this information, it’s not possible to tie this back to a relatively small scale Facebook campaign. Instead we look for proxies – number of people playing the game tells us how many are exposed to the messaging, for instance.
  • In the first instance the game provides an in with an audience otherwise unaware that there is any issue around pig welfare or with their behaviour. This is because the game itself, not the education piece comes first – it has to be fun, engaging and something worth coming back to and sharing.To play the game, people had to have Like the Facebook page and therefore become part of the community. At this stage you have to engage with them in a way that feels fun and relevant to them and that ensures your content stays prominent in their newsfeed (hint: posting photos, video and getting them to comment, Like and Share is good).Once they’re engaged and start to understand the issue, you can provide them with the tools and information so that they can make the right choices in the real-world. Do it in the right way and they will be grateful for the help.Regularly encouraging a community to self-report not only reinforces that behaviour for the individual, and provides social proof for the community, but pushes that out into their social graph (social media speak for ‘network’).Facebook is a long-term relationship with your community (done right), which provides lots of opportunity to help them maintain any new behaviours.
  • Source: Glanz, Karen and Rimer, Barbara K. Theory at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice Second Edition National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2005Note – the constituent parts above are not sequential but need to happen in parallel (but powerpoint is a fiddly bugger).
  • Young people are five times more likely to be unemployed than they are to be starting a business. This is despite that fact that half of all young people would like to start a business.52% of young people have considered setting up their own business, less than 7% have actually done so. Having no support or contacts is cited as a major issue, and individuals with lower education levels are much less likely to know an entrepreneur.Virgin Media Pioneers, a partnership between the UK’s biggest media company and now defunct (sadly defunct) charity Enterprise UK, is an online community space where its members use video blogging to tell the stories of their attempts at entrepreneurship.Evaluation: this is a large scale project that aimed to build social capital in order to generate Social Return on Investment. As such, the evaluation is in-depth. On the social media side, we developed a methodology for network analysis, to measure and report on social capital – looking at the number of new connections, the strength of the connections within networks and so on. On top of this a detailed survey of a sample group of Pioneers, and It aims to build confidence, skills and ambition through a network of peer support, entrepreneurial contacts and expert advice.One year on from launch and 27 new businesses had been start by Pioneers, and the research showed higher levels of confidence, and feelings of inspiration and support.
  • “What’s telling me to change?” – to build an initial community Virgin Media Pioneers partnered with youth organisations like the Princes trust to target specific groups of young people, set up Twitter and Facebook profiles and provided incentives for the first wave to join and become active.“Am I able to make this change?” – the incentives for the first wave of Pioneers included broadband connections and video cameras to get them started, but everyone was provided with videos and blog posts from experts showing how members could market their business, ran offline training sessions and networking events, all with the purpose of showing them how to take that first step.“Can I really do this?” Many of the people that the programme aims to help live and operate in communities where they don’t necessarily have the support they need or the confidence required to start a business – it’s not the norm and seen as risky. An online community – nurtured in the right way – builds networks of geographically disparate people with similar interests and values, to support each other (creating ‘bonding social capital’).“If they can do it, so can I” As the people in their networks begin to make a change (succeed in starting a business) or as the community manager promotes the stories of people like them, who they can interact with, this provides more proof and reassurance that it’s within their capability, that it’s almost a new norm.“How can I celebrate my achievement?” Building your social network allows you to share your story (not just the successes but the failures too) and get feedback from the community through comments, video responses, likes etc. Celebrating their success helps to then influence others in their network and continues the cycle of change throughout the network.At the same time, new members are actively recruited and are organically drawn into the network through campaign and individuals’ PR, which helps avoid stagnation and creates a graduation through the stages of entrepreneurship.
  • “What’s telling me to change?” – to build an initial community Virgin Media Pioneers partnered with youth organisations like the Princes trust to target specific groups of young people, set up Twitter and Facebook profiles and provided incentives for the first wave to join and become active.“Am I able to make this change?” – the incentives for the first wave of Pioneers included broadband connections and video cameras to get them started, but everyone was provided with videos and blog posts from experts showing how members could market their business, ran offline training sessions and networking events, all with the purpose of showing them how to take that first step.“Can I really do this?” Many of the people that the programme aims to help live and operate in communities where they don’t necessarily have the support they need or the confidence required to start a business – it’s not the norm and seen as risky. An online community – nurtured in the right way – builds networks of geographically disparate people with similar interests and values, to support each other (creating ‘bonding social capital’).“If they can do it, so can I” As the people in their networks begin to make a change (succeed in starting a business) or as the community manager promotes the stories of people like them, who they can interact with, this provides more proof and reassurance that it’s within their capability, that it’s almost a new norm.“How can I celebrate my achievement?” Building your social network allows you to share your story (not just the successes but the failures too) and get feedback from the community through comments, video responses, likes etc. Celebrating their success helps to then influence others in their network and continues the cycle of change throughout the network.At the same time, new members are actively recruited and are organically drawn into the network through campaign and individuals’ PR, which helps avoid stagnation and creates a graduation through the stages of entrepreneurship.
  • Disclaimer: I had nothing to do with this project, but I’m a massive fan and I wanted to highlight it.Time to Change is a fantastic example of using social media to affect social norms, using the idea of social proof – the positive influence created when you find out others are doing something. It also takes a long-term, sustained approach to Facebook and Twitter to get people to talk openly about mental health and make it feel OK for others to do so too.Someone recently described five types of social proof: expert, celebrity, ‘user’, crowd and friends. This campaign makes great use of celebrities, ‘user’ case studies, the innate Facebook demonstration of numbers in the crowd and friends associating themselves with the campaign.
  • Ref: http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/27/social-proof-why-people-like-to-follow-the-crowd/Social proof can be used in different ways and people with different relationships to your target audiences will have different levels and kinds of influence. The list below describes those types of influence and which ones the Time to Change campaign makes use of to influence people’s perception of subjective norms.1) Expert social proof – credible experts in the field.2) Celebrity social proof – celebs your audience identify with: Time to Change prominently featured celebrities like Frank Bruno, Alistair Campbell, Ricky Hatton and Jonny Wilkinson.3) User social proof – individual’s stories of their experience: Time to Change uses personal stories of members of the public (everyday people) who have suffered from mental health issues and discrimination.4) Wisdom of the crowds social proof – weight of numbers: by encouraging conversation through Facebook, the inherent feedback mechanisms (Likes, Comments, Shares) demonstrate the volume of people engaging with the issue.5) Wisdom of friends – endorsement of people that are trusted: as a platform experienced only through your own social network (with you at the centre), Facebook makes visible the people you know who have Liked the campaign’s page, commented or liked a piece of content.The cumulative effect of the above helps to raise awareness of the issues faced by people experiencing mental health issues, further encourage conversation around the issues, and hopefully reduce stigma (the core campaign objective).
  • Most importantly: the fundamentals are no different – know your audience, understand their behaviour and the ‘competition’. But, make sure you’re also doing this in the context of online.Trends like social games offer a great opportunity to educate and inform audiences in new and engaging ways, and play on innate social and competitive behaviours that increase the reach of your messages. Make sure that they’re fun and engaging first and foremost – the competition is stiff.Online communities are extremely powerful in terms of driving change, in the same way offline communities are. The advantage of online communities is that they can be built and cultivated around a specific set of interests or values, regardless of their geography, which makes talking to ‘hard to reach’ audiences that much easier. Once together, they can support and lead each other through change. Social proof – the opportunity to demonstrate that people just like you have overcome the same problems, or taken a particular action, is an innate attribute of digital and social media. Whether you’re simply retweeting your followers or actively engaging as many people as possible through Facebook updates, bringing the conversation to the fore helps others to see that they’re not alone and that what you’re asking is a common action*.Social media isn’t the cheap option if you’re going to do it right. It’s still about the long haul if you’re going to effect sustained behaviour change. As always, make sure you’ve got the right ‘mix’ for your audience.If you remember only one thing when you’re next thinking about an online behaviour change campaign, it’s this: always be engaging. Social media is not a ‘push marketing’ channel, and communities don’t start themselves. More and more we’re seeing platforms like Facebook dictate what’s most visible to people based on what they’ve engaged with. If that’s not your campaign, you’ll be invisible.When it comes to evaluation, make sure you’ve planned it from the start (as you would with any other channel) and look to measure the right indicators of the outcome or behaviour you’re looking to affect. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to measure everything!*Facebook’s developer widgets offer a simple way to show that people within your group of Facebook friends have also Liked a page, or left a comment, making your call-to-action all the more compelling.
  • Social media and behaviour change

    1. 1. Social media and behaviourchange: planning and doingMax St JohnHead of Non-Profit and Public Sector@maxwellineverPage 1 | Social media and behaviour change
    2. 2. Not mePage 2 | Social media and behaviour change
    3. 3. MePage 3 | Social media and behaviour change
    4. 4. Who I work withPage 4 | Social media and behaviour change
    5. 5. Social media, blah blah blahPage 5 | Social media and behaviour change
    6. 6. Designing a campaignWhat am I talking about?Page 7 | Social media and behaviour change
    7. 7. Insight and planning You know your target audience but what do you know about their life online? • Where do they go and what do they do? • What are their attitudes and language? • Who do they listen to?Who’s NixonMcInnes?Page 8 | Social media and behaviour change
    8. 8. Understanding audience hangouts google.com/adplannerPage 9 | Social media and behaviour change
    9. 9. Researching attitudes brandwatch.netPage 10 | Social media and behaviour change
    10. 10. Finding out who they listen to google.com (look left!)Page 11 | Social media and behaviour change
    11. 11. Planning: conclusion • Find where they are and what they do online • Understand their attitudes and language •Map their influencers – people they listen to • Don‟t do this in isolation, talk to them too. • Use all of this to help inform your campaign.Who’s NixonMcInnes?Page 12 | Social media and behaviour change
    12. 12. Changing behaviour Social media for changing behaviour: • Case study: Social games / stages of change • Case study: Online community / social cognitive • Overview: Social norms and social proofWho’s NixonMcInnes?Page 13 | Social media and behaviour change
    13. 13. Stages of change Pre-contemplation: “I’m unaware I have a problem” Contemplation – “I need to do something about this” Preparation – “I know what I’m going to change” Action – “I’ve recently changed my behaviour” Maintenance – “I haven’t relapsed”Page 14 | Social media and behaviour change
    14. 14. Stages of change and social games bit.ly/thinkpig bit.ly/thinkpigPage 15 | Social media and behaviour change
    15. 15. Stages of change and social games Pre-contemplation: “I’m unaware I have a problem” Soft introduction of the issues, through game play. Contemplation – “I need to do something about this” Educate through community engagement via Facebook page. Preparation – “I know what I’m going to change” Provide recipes and other take aways to make change easy. Action – “I’ve recently changed my behaviour” Encourage the audience to self-report through comments. Maintenance – “I haven’t relapsed” Use long term contact through Facebook to help maintain.Page 16 | Social media and behaviour change
    16. 16. Social games: evaluation Pig farming methods are reported on at a national level. We can‟t realistically tie this back to Facebook activity. Instead we look for indicators that demonstrate success. • Awareness: exposure to messaging – game plays. • Contemplation: engagement through page – likes/comments. • Preparation: uptake of tools – downloads of recipes.Page 17 | Social media and behaviour change
    17. 17. Social Cognitive Reciprocal determinism – “What’s telling me to change?” Behavioural capability – “Am I able to make this change?” Self-efficacy – “Can I really do this?” Observational learning – “If they can do it, so can I.” Reinforcements – “How can I celebrate my achievement?”Page 18 | Social media and behaviour change
    18. 18. Social cognitive and communities virginmediapioneers.comPage 19 | Social media and behaviour change
    19. 19. Social cognitive and communities Reciprocal determinism – “What’s telling me to change?” Find the right partners, traffic drivers and channels. Behavioural capability – “Am I able to make this change?” Provide tools, advice training and information. Self-efficacy – “Can I really do this?” Build confidence through the ability to create new networks. Observational learning – “If they can do it, so can I.” Promote realistic role models that prove it‟s possible. Reinforcements – “How can I celebrate my achievement?” Use feedback mechanisms to provide encouragement.Page 20 | Social media and behaviour change
    20. 20. Online communities: evaluation Core evaluation was Social Return on Investment. Jobs created, decrease in people claiming benefits etc. Measured using on/offline qual and quant surveys. We used social media to measure social capital: • Community make-up: size and segmentation by behaviour. • Intensity of use: regularity and depth of engagement. • Network data: number and strength of connections.Page 21 | Social media and behaviour change
    21. 21. Time to change and social proof facebook.com/timetochangePage 22 | Social media and behaviour change
    22. 22. What is social proof?“The positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.”Page 23 | Social media and behaviour change
    23. 23. Five „types‟ of social proof1) Expert social proof – credible experts in the field.2) Celebrity social proof – celebs your audience identify with.3) User social proof – individual‟s stories of their experience.4) Wisdom of the crowds social proof – weight of numbers.5) Wisdom of friends – endorsement of people that are trusted.Page 24 | Social media and behaviour change
    24. 24. Rounding up • Know your audience in context of their digital lives • Social games are huge and can be used to educate • Online communities = multiple levers for change • Social proof is powerful and an innate part of digital • Social media isn‟t a „cheap option‟, get the mix right • Always be engaging (or be invisible) • Evaluate indicators - don‟t measure everythingWho’stheory still counts but we‟re all still learning • The NixonMcInnes?Page 25 | Social media and behaviour change
    25. 25. Any questions?All links here: bit.ly/charitycommslinksI like feedback – find me at:max.stjohn@nixonmcinnes.co.uktwitter.com/maxwellineveruk.linkedin.com/in/maxstjohnPage 26 | Social media and behaviour change

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