The Social Sign-in Imperative, Part 1: A revolution that has already happened

Jason Sindel Jason Sindel
August 27, 2013
Digital Marketing , Web Strategy

Whatever you want to call it, Social Login or Social Sign-in, it is a technological revolution that has already happened and its disruption is just now making waves. This three part blog series asserts that sooner rather than later, both B2C and B2B companies should implement Social Login in some way to address their user's needs and that they should make a continued investment in the development of this technology a priority in their digital strategy.

This blog post won't outline how a marketer or organization should do this or even what platforms are best for what industry. Here at Roundedcube, we design and implement technology platforms across many different industry sectors and provide our clients with unique social media strategies and solutions that fit their budgets and business goals. This ranges from aggregated media feeds of their social channels to enterprise solutions that turn their Sitecore CMS into a single point of publishing to social media pages. Regardless of the level of complexity, we see Social Login and social identity not as a passing trend, but a new reality that will define the future of customer engagement for all industries. It is, in short, a new imperative.

Here are the three basic principles driving the Social Sign-in Imperative:

  1. Registration's raison d'être (reason for existence)

    Users operate on one basic principle when they decide to register for a site and then revisit that principle again and again when they log back in to it. In a one liner: "I log into in order to do _____." If your site has a registration requirement, you need to know what that raison d'être is and build a social media strategy around it. Knowing this crucial precept will help you understand why and how users of your site utilize a social platform. For example, one of our clients provides mothers professional portraits of their newborns taken hours after birth. The use-case for login is very explicit: I (the mom) log into the website in order to view pictures of my baby and possibly purchase them. The benefits provided to a user after sign-in all logically follow this initial motivation. For example, simple sharing tools and a suite of photo editing tools for Facebook or Instagram would be a logical addition to engage those users.

  2. The "king" of kings: content.

    Users overwhelmingly use the web to consume content. For certain content, users will register or log into a site for that purpose. However, according to a 2011 report by Forrester, which applies even more today than when it was written, "consumer-centric" content is really what people want; that is, content that is personalized, contextualized, and especially relevant. Knowing what the seven C's of your content are (context, community, consumer behavior, creation, etc) will help you figure out how to value the content, especially whether people will give up their personal information in return for it.

  3. The "simple" sharing of content has evolved

    There is an important distinction between "simple" sharing that occurs when someone simply clicks the 'Like' button on Facebook or posts on their timeline and "substantive" sharing, which occurs when a dialogue is created by one user sharing a topic (a product, video, etc) and that share creates a conversation that evolves and spurs more and more conversation. Simple sharing is like a single email being forwarded to a group of readers, while substantive sharing starts a thread of contributors or spins off entirely new conversations. Social Login encourages substantive sharing. For example, think of the recent sale of the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos. At the time of this writing, there are 525 people who liked the story on The Washington Post Facebook page and 168 comments. But on their website using their custom Facebook Connect commenting tool, there are 5000+ comments. Users receive badges from the editors and are highly valued for their thoughtful comments. Editors highlight user's content so that it appears high on the page. This makes sharing and commenting on the Washington Post website much more substantive than Facebook.

I predict that social media will continue to drive customer engagement strategies and that IT and Marketing departments will allocate an increasing amount of their budget to attain this technology. I also predict that their users will soon begin to expect it and will punish those who do not adopt it by not revisiting sites without it. At first, the early adoption of this technology will be means to boost registrations for B2C marketing initiatives, then companies will begin to increase the efficacy of eCRM efforts through new socially driven sales channels and finally the technology will allow companies to take advantage of the control, analytics and data mining that an integrated Social Login approach provides.

Welcome to the Social Sign-in Imperative. The revolution might not be televised, as Gil Scott-Heron told to us in 1974, but it will be on the Internet and it will most likely require a social login to participate.

In summary, determine your organization's greatest asset that requires a user to login, create quality content and allow your users to generate their own content around that activity. Then create custom tools that integrate comments, discussions, forums or aggregates other channels to create substantive sharing. Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Social Sign-In Imperative, where I will discuss why some companies think Social Login isn't relevant to their company and why they are most likely wrong. Can your organization afford to lock-out its users?

Also see:
The Social Sign-in Imperative, Part 2: Why is Social Sign-in relevant?
The Social Sign-in Imperative, Part 3: Investing in the Technology

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