ADOTAS – It has become ever-more apparent in recent months, with the launch of Google’s own social network and the epic battle that it inaugurated among all the major platforms, that social media has become an important part of our daily lives. It’s where we connect with peers, business and personal, where we keep in contact with family, where we share our fun moments with friends.
Social media is the key to marketing, as it provides a way to stay connected with an audience on a daily basis. It is an effective means of communication that simultaneously allows businesses to brand themselves, develop personality and reach out to existing customers (to maintain loyalty) and potential new ones (to drive interaction and subsequent transactions).
For reasons that run the gamut from extremely personal to daily business and marketing functions, most of us spend at least a few minutes per day scouring and taking part in the online communities that have been built upon the social networking platforms.
More and more people around the world have come to understand the value of social media, and the growing audiences on these platforms are why businesses joined the social networking revolution in the first place: to be where the audience is. 800 million people and counting currently populate Facebook, around 40 million use Google+, 100 million people are actively tweeting, and over 100 million reportedly network (or have networked) on LinkedIn.
But what is social media integration? It is the act of spreading your brand across the popular social media platforms, and being active on all them. You can’t say you integrated social media marketing into your interactive campaign if all you have done is created presences on Facebook and Twitter and then never revisited them.
Posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google + multiple times per day, interacting with and engaging your audience there (posting questions and doing what you can to attract and maintain the attention of customers and potential customers) and adding value with social media is what it takes to achieve true integration. Have an interesting idea for marketing? Turn it into a viral video and syndicate it on YouTube, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and even LinkedIn.
Different Networks, Different Strategies
Facebook is the place to foster long-term relationships with your target audience. Don’t just stop at getting them to like your page — keep them coming back with interesting information, engaging questions, fun videos and more. Make your presence known there, as well: answer questions, respond diplomatically to both positive and negative feedback, and most important, stay consistent with the image of your brand that you have built up elsewhere.
On Twitter, people are visiting to quickly scan the thoughts of those they are following. The most successful companies on Twitter are those who respond to customers and those talking about them, joining the conversation no matter what the subject matter. Airlines like Delta are especially good at this; they are manning the Twitter desks at all hours of the day, watching for those who mention them and responding with whatever helpful service the company can provide. Further, Twitter is a good place to tease a blog post. Provide a great lead-in few words, and then provide a link to the post.
On LinkedIn, you’re going to want to maintain relationships with business contacts, post blogs that may be relevant to your peers in your industry, and start educational conversations that can carry over to other social platforms. For instance, poll your industry friends on Facebook, and then take whatever subject you polled and say something like, “many of our friends on LinkedIn said that… what do you think?” LinkedIn is a great place for professional collaboration, as well as an important place for your business to show that it is authoritative.
Finally, Google+: though it is still up and coming, it can be beneficial for any company representative to jump on this bandwagon now and learn the ropes. Brand pages will be arriving soon, but before they do you can still join as a representative of your company, and reach out to various circles: friends, coworkers, people from other companies, etc. Then, share your content with these circles! It’s a wonderful tool for content syndication.
Plus, Google + posts are already integrated with search results, and you can bet they will only continue to be more so as Google works out the kinks. Further, when brand pages do arrive, you’ll be able to host hangouts with your customers, bringing interaction and engagement to an entirely new height. Check out Ford’s test account for an example of this type of thing done correctly.
Share and Share Alike
Social media integration will not only benefit your company’s marketing and branding efforts, but it can also help your SEO. Google likes to see companies having “wide footprints” – meaning they are proving their authority in many different ways, on many different platforms. Syndicating interesting articles on social media that are pertinent to your industry, written by you or not, will better show Google that you know what’s important in your niche, that you are an authority in your field, and that you are looking to share good content in an effort to engage and inform others.