As a results-oriented marketer you want to only deploy your precious time and budget into marketing programs that work. At the same time, you know that social media has changed the marketing landscape: shouting to prospects with endless email offers may produce leads but you’re worried about the longer term implications to your market.
You may have heard that social media can improve not only your more traditional tactics but also allows you to engage with your prospects sooner in the buying cycle. It may even allow you to identify those influential network hubs whose recommendations can mean big referral business for you. So how do you incorporate social media into the marketing mix?
It starts with one very important paradox that I also outlined in The 4 Cs of Social Media: social media is both a revolution in the way consumers interact with brands and yet we can approach it like any marketing channel. It is easy to simply dismiss social media as “hype”, create a half-baked Facebook page and call it a day. Social media? Check.
But this misses the point about the real implication of social media on marketing. Consumers do not participate in social media so that marketers can throw SPAM in their faces. Consumers participate in social media because of the basic human need to connect. Social media marketing needs to figure out how to create meaningful relationships with consumers.
And the implication to our entire business model is real. As the good folks at Altimeter Group have stated:
To be successful using social technologies, companies must first prepare and align internal roles, processes, policies and stakeholders with their business objectives. Social business is a profound change that impacts all departments in the organization.
So first, we have to answer a couple of key questions:
- What are our business objectives and how does social media impact those objectives?
- Are we considering the larger implications of social media on the organization as it relates to employee adoption, customer service, product development and innovation?
- How can social media extend our brand relationship with our target market?
Now you can begin implementing these simple steps:
- Listen: drive insights across your organization and identify the key themes, topics, tones and influencers in your marketplace
- Respond: identify what kind of conversations you want to take part in and what kind of thought leadership you can present. Add value. Amplify good news. Consider carefully whether to respond to negative comments. Start blogging
- Make “social” part of your marketing DNA. Allow your content to be shared. Allow your audience to follow you. Do not create social media campaigns. Make every campaign social.
- Begin to “meet” your audience everywhere they go online and offline. Have conversations that are appropriate to the medium. Hold tweetups or tweetchats. Live tweet during webinars. Encourage comments and photos / videos sharing at events.
So how do you integrate social media into the marketing mix? As I explain in this presentation, make social media part of everything you do. Recognize that traditional interruption techniques have limited effect by providing relevant distractions to your prospects daily grind. When you accept that social media is more than “just another marketing channel” you can begin to see what you get when you combine “interruption” and “distraction.” Interaction.