Designing for Social Behavior

Personal Notes from An Event Apart, Boston, 2015
Sarah Parmenter, Founder, You Know Who @sazzy

The term “Social Media” might better be looked at as a tool to make something happen rather than a tool to gain popularity.

Anything that gets in the way of interaction or tasks will be thrown away by users.

Just having a web site isn’t enough. We can’t just put a google+ button at the bottom of our site and expect miraculous interactions to happen.

Four things that contribute to an effective communication ecosystem:

Publishing channel
Aspirational & Inspirational channel
Support channel
A follow up channel
A follow up channel repurposes content. This could be one of:

Email campaigns
Why the general social approach fails? We don’t understand how each network operates.

Interesting case study Romney np vs Obama

Romney had 22 staffers to approve a single post. Obama had 6 with autonomy and trust.

Social networks reviewed

Facebook is dead to under 20.. Generally using Facebook messenger app only. Very careful what they post.

Instagram is huge with younger generations. Take great pride in what they post. Feel it is higher quality. Would rather post less and higher quality.

Tumblr alive to younger generations. Used as an anonymous posting, judgement free zone.

Twitter used

Job seekers
Passive readers

Huge to young. Can be self. No randomness. Carfule who they add. Used for special friends


It takes huge numbers to actually get conversions.

For example:

44k = 17 buyers

340= 136 buyers

Instead of looking at numbers. Take .25 engagement rule.

Focus on the .25. Think cozy camp fire. Tell me something inimate about your company I can’t find elsewhere.

0.04 average interaction

Think about the ecosystem as community design.

Psychology behind social

Likes serves a real purpose. They become an important metric of what is working.

Why do people comment? People comment because there’s a better chance to get a response. It’s also a way to self promote.

Tribe behavior. One voice doesn’t get heard but a crowd does. Give someone long enough they will gain the system. Both lovers and haters will be quick to comment.

Get a balanced view. Don’t just let the haters or lovers skew your actions.

How does commitment to a cause affect buy in? Be consistent and you will build an audience.

Be careful to be authentic.

Authenticity – high quality and not salesy. You need a mix of pro and user pics. Should be used differently.

Be authentic in photo posts
Be authentic with your languages
Avoid long posts

What emotion are you seeking to hit on with social interactions?

Do your posts align with your core brand?


Warby Parker as an example
Free People a case study. Amazing brand alignment across platforms / Channels even though the logos aren’t all the same.