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Why You Should Think Beyond a Social Media Strategy

“What’s your social media strategy?”

You hear this question more often than enough in the conference rooms of enterprises. Five years after the adoption of Facebook, Twitter, and their social companions, corporations are still trying to pinpoint their social media strategy.

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That’s the main problem.

Integrated marketing is not a new concept. But, when we examine the role of social in integrated marketing over the last five to ten years, it was excluded from the mix. Social was siloed and had its own team, its own guidelines, and its own strategy.

It wasn’t until recently that brands began to see social media for what it truly is: another channel in integrated marketing and one that supports all departments.

In 2008, few brands understood social; most saw it as bandwagon that they needed to join. They set up shop with no clear strategy or plans to integrate it into marketing. Over the years, we saw integration start to take form — e.g. “Like us on Facebook!” on the bottom of print ads or thrown at the end of radio spots — but, that wasn’t enough.

Social truly is the first technology we’ve seen since the creation of the website that supports all functions of the marketing mix (and much more). Thus, it must be treated as such, not as an off-shoot channel or an afterthought. Progressive brands are beginning to recognize this and are using social as the thread that connects multiple functions.

General Motors, for example, provides social media training for everyone in the company — not just community managers. The brand uses social to drive advertising, PR and customer service. And more importantly, GM put in place an infrastructure to unite all entities. Everyone is on the same page. The results? Reducing the customer response time from 12 hours to 90 mins.

According to GM Social Media Strategist, Rebecca Harris, social “is a place we should be paying attention to.”

So, let’s stop asking “what is your social media strategy?”

Let’s instead ask, “How are you using social in marketing, customer service, public relations, e-commerce, and how is your organization breaking down silos for a unified conversation with the consumer?”

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  • Hi Jeremy,

    very nice blog and the point makes sense.

    It is nice to hear that GM give everybody social media training.

    I have long advocated, that everybody in the company should have a Social Media Presence / FaceBook account if the company wants to understand Social Media /  Facebook and get the most from it.

    How can Managers discuss a Social Media strategy if they do not use it and have had no exposure to it ?

    You’ve got to be in it to win it.

    Best regards,


    • I think your vision of how it will play out is spot on. It will be the case that everyone does have an account.

      Thanks for the comment.    

  • We all have our own vision and understanding of social media, communication and collaborative working in information “worlds”.

    A vision that involves collaboration …

    … between various persons and departments,

    … around different aims, tasks and interests,

    … linking different forms of content, functions and context,

    … around various forms of information from documents to projects,

    but in the perspective of a framework designed / planned to have a high regard for business and IT requirements. Particularly in the case of enterprise worlds it’s a powerful and often unexplored topic.

    And if we talk about commerce and eCommerce in particular it all too often an undervalued topic. If we talking about shaping future commerce it’s so important to think about social media in marketing, customer service etc. – Shaping Future eCommerce

  • So, Social has moved on a touch since 2014 when you wrote this, Jeremy 🙂

    A lot has changed and some primary areas of focus have emerged, along with common mistakes that business make with Social Media;

    1. Measurement. Probably the greatest challenge that most businesses face and often that measurement is wrong. Focus on reach, engagement and referred traffic, not on sales. Social Media will strongly influence sales and create awareness and demand, rather than achieve direct sales effectively (see: Why Your Facebook Ads Aren’t Generating Sales)

    2. Platform. Too often, businesses try to cover every platform because they think they need to be everywhere. It’s far more important to be amazing at one than poor at many. Choose the platform where your target audience is most likely to be and the platform you’re most comfortable using. Develop the habit, measure results and add more platforms later.

    3. Engage. Social is about creating relationships and reputation. Engage with users, don’t just broadcast.

    4. Influence. Seek out influencers and invest time and attention in building a relationship.

  • You make a good point when you ask: How are you using social in marketing, customer service, public relations, e-commerce, and how is your organization breaking down silos for a unified conversation with the consumer?”

    Its a really difficult thing to do to incorporate social media across all of your operations. If you get buy iun from all departments then it is achievable, however this is not an easy ask. It really needs buy in from the top and then for each department to follow through..It also needs to be included in all of your marketing strategy including print, TV, radio, online (which SEO is a big part of).

    Essentially one person in the organisation is the social media marketing manager and this person needs to be kept aware of everything thats going on across the business. They can then pick and choose which stories are relevant to the audience and customer base.

    A thought provoking article, by the way

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