“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.
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?”