So you’ve finished a marketing plan and you’re ready to start implementing it. But wait! You forgot about social media! Oh well — you can just put up a few posts and tweets about it, right? Wrong.
Sarah Cucchiara, senior e-commerce strategist at DEG, recently presented about this very concept at the KU Digital Marketing Summit sponsored by the University of Kansas Business School. She shared insights about the important role of including social media in an integrated marketing campaign from the beginning; as opposed to an afterthought once the planning is complete.
Marketing has become a 24/7 consideration due to social media. These channels must be fully integrated as part of a company’s marketing strategy. Consumers are constantly exposed to media (TV, radio, social, podcasts, etc.) and they expect a “unified and personalized brand experience.”
For the average customer, social media is a part of their regular lives and they interact with it seamlessly throughout their day. Companies and marketers, however, are still trying to figure it out. Many brands are still working through issues like: where social media fits within their business model, who will manage it, what is the budget and how do you measure social media ROI?
Despite the learning curve, it’s easy to see that social media has penetrated the entire sales funnel. Marketers are using social media to drive brand awareness, engagement and sales leads. Each social media channel contributes to the overall brand experience. These channels work together to attract, engage and, ideally, retain a loyal customer to your business.
However, a lot businesses misunderstand a key concept when it comes to social media: the message. Some brands and businesses might think that they own the message, but they’re wrong. The consumers own the message. What consumers are saying about a brand is far more important (and powerful) than what brands are saying about themselves. And this is very important to a business and their future because, as Cucchiara pointed out, buying decisions are being heavily influenced by social conversations. For example, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews (iPerceptions, 2011).
While you might not be able to control the message coming from your customers, you can influence it. But how? Creating an integrated social marketing campaign is a start. To be successful with an integrated marketing campaign that strategically includes social, you must:
- Clearly define each channel’s plan within the larger campaign
- Use consistent messaging ideas and visuals across all social channels but you’ll likely use a slightly different message for each channel.
- Include paid social in your strategy
- Focus on how organic and paid social work together.
- Promoting posts without an ongoing and engaging organic strategy will be seen as insincere.
- Ensure that digital channels support each other
- Leverage other channels (website, email, print, etc.) to drive awareness for social campaigns.
- Social media channels must support other initiatives.
View social media as you would any other part of your marketing strategy. Having clearly-defined goals and strategies for these channels is a vital part of planning the campaign. You want to have consistent messaging across all channels but be sure to focus on the strengths of each platform. Have some sort of monitoring system in place and respond to customer feedback (especially if it’s negative) as quickly as possible. Most importantly, measure the success of the social media for your campaign against the goals you set for the overall campaign.
Need help creating a fully integrated digital marketing plan? At AWG, we can help you create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will work best for your business and bring the most value to your customers.