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SMCKC & KCDMA Present Integrated Social Media Marketing Strategies

The Kansas City chapters of Social Media Club and Direct Marketing Association brought together a panel of social media pros from a variety of disciplines to talk Integrated Marketing Strategies. Practitioners included were: Gene Willis, private industry; Katie McCurry, public education; Alyssa Murfey, marketing agency; and Carolyn Anderson, hospitality, as moderator. Below is a recap of the conversation, often paraphrased.

Anderson – There are a lot of different industries represented in this room. What do you find to be some of the “universal” truths of social media as a marketing platform no matter the organization you work for?

  • Murfey –  For any organization starting a social media presence is a great brand exercise. It helps other departments understand objectives, engage stakeholders, and forces the brand to think about how they humanize themselves.
  • McCurry – People want to connect in a fun and engaging manner, build your voice around that.
  • Willis – It isn’t a soliloquy, you are not talking at people, you are talking to them. We need to be storytellers that create brand ambassadors.

Anderson – Some industries like banking, pharmaceutical, law, and even dating websites struggle to incorporate social media into their marketing efforts due to privacy concerns. What concerns do you face in your industry, if any? How do you balance a fine line between sharing your message and the confidential information you manage?

  • Willis – You can’t control the negative, you can only curate a response and when/where you engage. You have to be prepared to curate conversation.
  • McCurry – [In education] Crisis communication is an increasing part of the job. It is an area where privacy definitely plays a role. We have to be able to express our concern while protecting student privacy. It’s important to know when to have the conversation and engage our audience.
  • Murfey – Use the information you have the best you can. We can be really creepy with information, but we have to use that information in a good way to create the best brand experience.

Anderson – Share with us your thoughts on what platforms will stick around and why versus the ones we see come and quickly disappear?

  • McCurry – Channels are dependent on what impacts your business goals and what can be accomplished with your resources. For us (Univeristy of Kansas) It is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.
  • Willis – For us Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook see the most use. If/when Twitter changes character limit the audience and engagement may change. For athletics/celebrity based companies Sqor and WhoSay are important.
  • Murfey – The platforms that last will be the ones that allow dialogue and access the best.

Anderson – How do you choose a channel for your content?

  • Murfey – Look at how people behave on that channel and if the content fits that model.
  • McCurry – I look at Facebook as a media buy, the reach just isn’t there. I use Twitter as a day to day vehicle.
  • Willis – Fish where the fish are; ask what you’re trying to accomplish, know where that can happen.

Anderson  – Talk about one of the bigger pain points in your job or your organization when it comes to social marketing. What can we learn from how you’ve tackled some of these challenges?

  • Murfey – Figure out your goals, how social media meets them and how to tie the value together. One piece of content doesn’t solve all goals, set that expectation.
  • McCurry – Advocacy and communication are the biggest keys. At KU it’s easy to get shares on basketball posts but those don’t translate to business objectives. Collaboration across the enterprise is also a struggle, how do you connect across the board?
  • Willis – Advocacy. Lean teams drive the narrative but it’s a hard sell outside of the social world. Learn to speak other (business) languages.

Anderson – How do you tie value to social in your organization? What does ROI mean in your world?

  • McCurry – Specific to KU website traffic is the goal, how do I show stakeholders campaigns make an impact? When I think about social I want you to like what we do, but most importantly, I want you to click through to the website.
  • Willis – We look at traffic but the stronger look is at client satisfaction and retention. For us social is about educating stakeholders on engagement. People will always marginalize what you do as “playing on Facebook,” learn to speak their language so they can see the value you bring.
  • Murfey – Conversion and equity are our ROI. Understand that goals are separate and have to be measured differently. Deliver results in a language everyone understands.

Anderson – I’m sure we all agree (and probably hope) that social media isn’t going anywhere. But it’s constantly evolving and requires a wide range of skills, both technical and creative. So how in the WORLD do you hire someone for a social media position? What do you look for?

  • Willis – Show me you can communicate in a voice other than your own and demonstrate good judgment. Be active on your personal properties.
  • McCurry – Be active. Be able to make the points you want to make in an impactful, classy way. Self-promote, share what you’re doing well.
  • Murfey – Good writers, someone passionate about communication and how messaging impacts people. Resilient learners, things are constantly changing, there will be bad days, you have to be able to jump back in the next day.

Audience question – How do you manage executive expectations?

  • Willis – Simplify to their language, get an advocate on the executive level.
  • McCurry – A/B test, show why your way works.
  • Murfey – Have an arsenal of information ready, be able to show why you’re doing what you’re doing.


Why do I work at AWG? “I chose to work at AWG because I want other people to love shopping local grocers as much as I do.” -Andrea