Social media should be part of your integrated marketing ecosystem, not a silo activity

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Social media has been the perfect catalyst for many great integrated marketing campaigns, and has helped many brands grow and thrive, by amplifying and bringing ideas to life. Social media can engage your consumers and allow them to be part of campaigns like this Lego Christmas campaign, which is a truly social campaign… and also fully integrated:

We also know what social media looks like if done inappropriately, with no thought, strategy, rules or control… The below is a famous example, the tweets were posted just after Boston Marathon terrorist attack, by the online food and recipe company Epicurious, and were of course of very bad taste. Trying to hop onto a current event to promote your services is a common practice, but must be done with extreme caution…

 

Quickly rectified with an apology (see below) but the damage was done. Today when you do a search in Google for “epicurious tweets boston marathon” it give you more than 6000 undeletable results.

So, what importance does your organisation give social media, and where does it fit within your marketing ecosystem? Do you stick in a silo, running it in isolation, with “social only” campaigns? Or is it integral part of your marketing and of what you do as a brand? Does it link seamlessly to customer service? Or to PR?

The number of social media channels is ever-growing; so reaching social media’s full potential seems an impossible task to keep up with. On top of the atomisation of channels, where do you find the right talent or partners to manage it all for you? Everyone on your agency roster will say they can do social for you; your PR agency, your digital agency, your creative agency, your events agency, etc.

Finding the right strategy, skill and resource for handling your social media will depend on what you need or want to get from it. Do you know what you need from your social media?

Start with the consumer, and ask your self the following questions:

  1. What will the consumer need / want from you over the next 3 years?
  2. What can you do that is better than anyone else in the sector?
  3. How will you map your resources and organisation to be able to deliver that?
  4. What processes, structures and technology will you need?
  5. What does your overall marketing ecosystem need to look like and what external partners will you need?
  6. How will you make the internal and external teams work brilliantly together?
  7. How will you measure your success?

If customer service is your focus it is a different approach than if you are looking to drive traffic to your site, gain user engagement, loyalty, increase sales, or increase community size. Ideally, you will have a strategy that will be driving all of them, while integrating it with your other marketing initiatives!

If you are looking to drive traffic to your website by using a content strategy, make sure that your consumers actually want and need content… And understand what content they want and what they will engage with.

Stephanie Losee, managing director of Dell Global Communications puts it well: “Content can give your metallic company a beating heart; it can put faces and voices behind a brand that is having trouble relating to its audiences or making them understand who the company is and what it values.” Using content well within an integrated social media strategy can have a great impact.

Here are some interesting thoughts about driving traffic, from a 16 year old. Channels are so cluttered nowadays that even if we implement a very high frequency posting strategy, which might feel repetitive or intrusive to us as poster / publisher, it will actually dramatically help organic reach. Understanding what content is relevant to your consumers is key.

As an example, in 2012 a large global drinks company we have worked with in the past, went from 3 posts per day to 9 posts per day. The organic reach went from 12% to 24%, the engagement went from 1.6% to 2.2%, and the virality per post went from 1.1% to 3.3%.

Organic reach has since declined thanks to Facebook making it harder to reach your followers, and forcing you to buy. With this commercialization of social, getting it right is more important than ever. How will you build an effective content strategy? Who will create your content, who will curate it, who will post it, who will respond, who will engage? Do you have the resources and skill needed to effectively feed, and manage such high a posting frequency without boring your followers to death with repetitive content?

With regards to social media’s role when handling customer service; how many times have we heard this: “But, what if people complain online?!”

Consumers will complain if they are unhappy, either you are there to answer, or not… so you might as well see it as an opportunity to turn a negative impression into a positive one, or at least a less negative one.

The team at Hyatt, the hotel company, has embraced this opportunity and cleverly built social into everything the company does . The highly experienced customer service team listens actively to feedback, praise, mentions, complaints, questions etc. on all social networks and proactively engages the community. The team knows the industry, the company, the principles of good customer service, but most importantly they have understood what their consumers need from them. Hats off to Hyatt.

Have you understood what your consumers need from your social media, and have you decided what you are going to do about it?

At Flock we have helped our clients; integrate their social media with their overall marketing strategy, find the right resource to run it, build and understand customer journeys, build communications plans and content strategies. Should you want to discuss your social media strategy, get in touch HERE.

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