Social Media Integration & How to Integrate Social Media
An outline of the fours steps for social media strategy and social media integration.

Social Media Strategy

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Social Media Integration: How to Integrate Social Media

The idea, that companies find social media integration difficult because it is a process and not an event, is erroneous as it is based on generalizations and false assumptions. All businesses engage in processes. Just because a company places an advert in a newspaper as an “event” does not mean that is the end of it.  It is all part of a larger and more complex process, under the name of a marketing campaign, which sets out to make contact and build relationships with potential customers.  The basis of social media manipulation is exactly the same thing.

To successfully integrate social media into your marketing strategy then rigorous research is needed, namely on the benefits and risks for the organization, if you were to integrate these new tools of communication into your marketing and business plan.

Any strategy for integrating social media should fit into the overall communications strategy of the organization.  For example, there is no point in setting up social media available worldwide if you are a pizza delivery firm who only deliver to one town. There is also no point to rushing in any social media without due consideration beforehand and careful planning.

You should also deploy human resources who will conduct research to identify influencers and opinion leaders, both positive and negative.  They must go about analyzing conversations, identifying networks and tools and finally, analyzing the results of such content, especially on the image (reputation) of the organizations portrayed in these media.  For example if the social network you choose is a breeding ground for poor software critiquing, then you may wish to give it a miss if you are a software company.  On the other hand you may wish to set up a large concentrated counter argument to the negative opinions flying around the social media site.  You will no doubt receive a lot of negative comments if you fly in the face of public (social media public) opinion, but you will also get a lot of attention because of it.

In short, your human resources applied to the role of research, have the task of assessing the quality of conversation between users whilst judging the level of influence of these sources, their credibility and/or the scope of their network.

Integration should be approached with the same due diligence as any other process.  Consult (and maybe hire) professionals in the area, including marketing professionals, technical professionals and longtime-user professionals.  They will help you properly prepare for the use of social media.  Simply opening accounts and asking some of your staff to post comments every now and then will be unlikely to give a usable return on investment for the staff hours you put into it.  In the same way that typing a few lines and putting it up on posters will have little reward unless it is done with planning.

The key aim is to develop customer relationships with various audiences, including current customers of the product, taking advantage of immediate feedback (both positive and negative).  Do not confuse "relationship" with ROI, or return a large monetary investment and instantaneous sales.  You are going to be able to educate your customers and gain a seat in their mind so that the next time they consider purchasing, they may think of you. You are very unlikely to be able to use social media as a successful long term direct sales method. 

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