How to integrate social media into your marketing strategy

Social Media marketing is critical to the success of most businesses, but what is the best way to spend limited resources? Suchetana Bauri gives you 5 tips that will enable marketing heads to achieve cross-media synergy with social media.SMO_Social_Media_Optimization

1. Social Media + Search Engine Optimization

Always keep in mind that your marketing strategy must include both SEO and social media. They are not alternatives. Most organizations have a pretty good grip over their SEO strategy, however, they are often somewhat under-resourced on their social strategies.

On an average, just 1% of marketing spend goes towards social media. MNVVK Chaitanya, Head of MMBA (Masters of Media Business Administration) faculty at Annapurna International School Film + Media, said that one third of new content discovery involves some form of social media engagement.

He further added: “There is a discrepancy there that people need to start addressing.” Social media has a key role in winning customer trust and recommendations, which plays a strong part in purchase decisions.

Traditionally digital marketing was all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is the art and science of getting your website a high enough ranking to appear in web searches. In the last few years, though, social media marketing, meaning engaging with customers on sites like Facebook and Twitter, has grown in importance.

2. Social Media + Email

While most brands happen to have both social media and email marketing, however what most companies are missing out on are the substantial benefits of integrating the two methods. By integrating your social media and email marketing efforts you can obtain results and discover data that you could have only dreamt about in the past.

Once you have sent an e-mail campaign you will soon have access to a wealth of social reaction data. This will enable you to segment future campaigns. Which means that in later campaigns you can send a campaign to contacts who had shared a specific campaign on Twitter. Or maybe you would like to send a campaign to contacts who have not liked any past campaign on Facebook. The data is yours to segment and work with.

3. Social Media + Virtual Events

Marketing managers and strategists are embracing virtual events such as webinars as innovative marketing and communications vehicles. However, they often only think of the event that occurs in a day, and tend to often overlook that there exists a community, which talks, discusses, and chatters before, during and after an event. Marketing strategy must involve a “before” the event social media strategy  and use social media before an event to increase signups by first locating where their target community is, and use social media to reach them.

Encourage members to tweet and share an event before it occurs, they should create events in Facebook so it triggers updates on the newsfeed. Must assign a hash tag to the virtual event so that attendees can interact with all tweets, blog posts, tags, photos, and videos can be easily found, tracked, and then measured. Be savvy! source questions and topics from the crowd before the event occurs, both to increase the relevancy of the event and spur word of mouth.

Integrate existing social media platforms during an event, thereby increasing interaction. During the event, organizers should be monitoring the social web and chat rooms to see how the crowd is reacting and be ready to react in real time. They gather questions in real time from members through chat features and live tweets during the event. Try to continue the conversation even after the event is over.

4. Social Media + Live Events

I guess you have realized by now that a well-timed Tweet can create an immediate buzz. One of the latest brands to have successfully pulled this off was Samsung with Ellen’s Selfie taken during the Oscars broadcast on a Samsung smartphone. Samsung may have paid a reported $20m for its advertising “integration” during the broadcast of the Oscars. And it was the most retweeted pic ever!

So as brands dive into real-time marketing, they need to strike the right balance. Having a consumer-first lens and planning ahead is key. Identifying live events in advance, followed by developing compelling content, and, finally listening to take advantage of real-time opportunities as they arise is an absolute must.

5. Social Media + Market Research

Market Research is the most untapped aspect in social media strategy. For those brands, who do embrace social media, it is vital to interact, by replying to users rather than just posting marketing messages. Chaitanya explained, “If you are a brand and you are just listening, you are not dealing with any issues or any problems that may arise. You don’t really have a voice – you are not engaging with the customer.”

Always, make it a point to speak to your customers and fans about what they think. You can create all-new products via consumer input. You can execute very simple crowd sourcing programs.

Social media engagement if done correctly can, not only drive traffic to a website, but also to change the public perception of a brand and win fans who will recommend a product to their friends.

So, now are you ready to align your marketing and social media strategy?

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