As you know, social media marketing is no longer just a business opportunity. Today, social media marketing is a strategic imperative, and the worst action when it comes to marketing a brand or business using the tools of the social web is no action at all.
However, your social media marketing efforts cannot stand alone if you want to achieve the highest levels of success. In other words, silo marketing doesn’t work on the social web. Instead, your marketing initiatives must be truly integrated where one effort leads to the next in order to reach your objectives through social media marketing. This integration must occur between all of your social media and traditional marketing efforts.
Here are three tips to follow to ensure your social media marketing initiatives are fully integrated with your overall marketing plan (for more, check out “30-Minute Social Media Marketing”):
1. Don’t try to fit your traditional marketing efforts and messages into social media. Instead, modify your messages and tactics to fit each channel. However, make sure they don’t contradict each other. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole won’t work.
2. While you can interrupt with traditional marketing, you don’t want to interrupt on the social web. Surround consumers with branded experiences through traditional and social media.
3. Create your own social media destinations as the nucleus of your integrated marketing efforts. For example, all roads, including your social media and traditional marketing efforts, lead to your business blog or Facebook page.
Think of it this way: Social media marketing is a very audience-centric communications channel, while traditional marketing is more of a destination-centric channel. When you create a traditional ad, your goal is to match your message with the destination where consumers will see it. However, on the social web, you never know where your message could end up being seen once it has been shared. That means audience members can make your messages their own, which empowers them to take ownership and become emotionally involved with the conversation. That’s just one more shift in thinking that you need to make from traditional to social media marketing in order to develop a fully integrated and effective marketing plan.
Today, silo marketing leads to audience confusion. Consumers in the 21st century expect businesses and brands to make it extremely easy for them to share, discuss and act on the varied messages they come into contact with every day. Consistency in brand messaging is more critical than ever as information spreads faster and farther than ever thanks to the free and easy-to-use tools of the social web.
Bottom-line: Your customers are already spending time on the social web, and your business and brand needs to be there, too. However, don’t sacrifice overall marketing strategy integration for the allure of social media. In other words, just as you don’t want to fall into the silo marketing trap with your traditional marketing efforts, you don’t want to fall into a similar single-vision trap with your social media marketing efforts.
Integration is the key to overall marketing success, and surrounding your target audience with branded experiences from which they can self-select how they want to interact with your brand, both online and offline, is the key to growing your brand and business.
Susan Gunelius has authored numerous marketing, branding, and social media books, including 30-Minute Social Media Marketing. Download a free bonus chapter that’s not in the book here. As president and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company, she is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She also owns a leading blog for women in business at WomenOnBusiness.com.