How to Easily Implement an Integrated Social Media Strategy in 7 Steps
Dr. Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights gave a keynote presentation at Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) 2012. He presented the seven steps needed in order to create an integrated social media strategy.
The keynote was engaging and informative, with plenty of case studies to support his opinions. You can find the slide deck at SmartInsights.com/tfma2012. This fantastic resource will help you to set up your integrated social media strategy. In this post, you’ll get an overview of what an integrated social media strategy is and what the steps are that Chaffey outlined.
What is an Integrated Social Media Strategy?
This isn’t in the slide deck because Chaffey was presenting to an audience of marketers. So, for anyone who isn’t a marketer, here is a simple definition of what it is:
An integrated social media strategy incorporates a blend of social networks into your processes, marketing mix, and customer lifecycle to provide maximum exposure for your brand and business.
The 7 Steps That Will Get You to an Integrated Social Media Strategy
There are a few variations on these steps from various social media experts, but they pretty much all boil down to the same process.
Chaffey’s slide deck contains links to resources that will help you with each stage:
1. Benchmarks and Goals
You wouldn’t deploy a traditional marketing campaign without first carrying out research, but many people do with social media. This is entirely the wrong way to go about it. You need to work out what you can achieve and where you want to get to by carrying out up-front research.
Look at what sort of social media your audience uses and engages with. You should also look at how your competitors and leading brands use integrated social media. Then set up your businesses goals and your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
2. Creation of Integrated Social Media Strategy
You need a strategy for social media and, more importantly, you need someone to keep an eye on all of your business’ social media activities. Everyone in your business can have a part to play, but you must make sure that they all follow the same plan. This helps to ensure that your reputation is preserved and enhanced at all times. One way of doing this is to have a designated “Social Media Champion.”
Within this plan, you will have a core set of activities that your business will concentrate on, like social monitoring, analytics, customer support, customer engagement, sales, and so on.
3. Listening and Reputation Management
Social media can be an excellent way of gaining insights from your customers, prospects, and your brand advocates. Outreach can be beneficial when you need to evaluate products or service enhancements. An integrated social media strategy means that you can do this in unison across various platforms.
Reputation management is also important—you need to be monitoring the Internet for social mentions of your business and then respond to them in the most appropriate way. Slide 22 of Chaffey’s slide deck provides you with some useful tips on responding to social mentions in various situations.
4. Defining Your Content Strategy
Content is king.
As far as your presence on the Internet is concerned, the content that you produce is what your reputation is based on and it forms the basis of your relationships with new, existing, and potential customers.
You cannot afford to get this strategy wrong. Your business blog will usually form the hub of your social media activities with all other platforms taking supporting roles. You need to identify what types of content you need to produce for each audience segment. Slide 26 gives you some smart insights into this.
5. Defining e-Communications Strategy
This step is all about engagement: identifying how to engage with your audience.
Think about how to make it easier for them to engage, because by making it simple, they are more likely to participate.
You also need to find the right methods of reaching out to influencers to ensure that your content gets maximum exposure.
6. Defining Approaches for Core Social Networks
Now you are in a position to identify the platforms you need to include in your strategy. This may be very different, depending on the niche that you are in. Being an organization that sells IT solutions, it would be worthwhile to look at how Rackspace deploys its integrated social media strategy.
7. Social Media Optimization (SMO) and Analytics
The IT sector is well-versed in the importance of data and analytics, but that seems to go out of the window when it comes to social media marketing.
Some social media marketing agencies will tell you that you cannot track ROI for your social media efforts. This is not the case. You should be analyzing the effectiveness of your integrated social media strategy in both monetary terms as well as reach.
Using channel-specific redemption codes and tracking with tools such as Google Analytics makes this task much simpler than you would imagine. The final slides in Chaffey’s presentation provide links to resources that will help you set up your monitoring.
These seven steps might seem daunting, but they are not. They take a little time to implement, but they are the exact same cycle that you are more than familiar with in IT projects such as planning (research and design), implementation, testing/validation, documentation, deployment, and maintenance.
Social media is growing in influence, even in the B2B space, but I would not endorse Guy Kawasaki’s current stance that you should just jump right in.
Take time to plan your approach so that you can roll out your integrated social media strategy in a controlled and authentic manner, whilst minimizing the risks of damaging your businesses profile.
Have you already taken the leap into integrated social media? Let us know in the Comments below how it has worked out for your business and which tools you use to make it easier to manage and monitor.
And to learn more about IT marketing strategies for small business VARs and MSPs, download the free special report now on the Top 10 IT Marketing Strategies For Consistently Attracting New Business Clients to Your Small IT Business.
Image Source: Screen Shot of Slide Deck from Dr Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights