8 Basic Steps for Integrating Social Media Marketing – Forging a Foundation for the Future

Marketing strategies and campaigns have substantially grown in complexity.  Maintaining current content while cultivating branding and engaging audiences is not for the faint of heart.  So how do businesses maximize brand loyalty while elevating comprehensive campaigns through the use of social media visibility without compromising control?

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  1. First and foremost, develop a social media policy.  When you don’t know where to start, look to those who have established policies and start your outline from there.  Check out these policy examples: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, American Red Cross & Starbucks.  Prior to moving forward, let your corporate legal counsel review and edit if necessary.
  2. Through your internal means of employee communication (Newsletter, Intranet, Digital Social Board, etc.…) ask each employee two simple questions. First, ask each to provide a brief description of what they value most about the organization they chose to serve.  And secondly, ask each to provide their level of comfort with social media on a scale of 1 to 10.   Ten illustrates exceptional ability.
  3. Identify a social media team that includes a rep from each department.  These are internal marketing links to the marketing department giving the organization a holistic voice.  (Employee buy-in is paramount to campaign success.)
  4. Utilizing internal feedback, task the marketing team to formulate a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign employing a combination of: PR-Blog(s), video, customer/client/patient testimonies – content, geo initiatives, discount partners like Groupon, social media and gamification.  Remember, each medium needs to be customized based on intended audience and approach and some platforms may not be a good fit.
  5. Minimally, test pilot campaign initiatives with your own team prior to launching them live.  Ideally, launch the campaign using a controlled test segment and employ random sampling to measure penetration and impact.
  6. Fine-tune if necessary prior to campaign launch based on reactive feedback.
  7. Task your whole organization with monitoring campaign initiatives.  Strong public relations and exceptional customer service is everyone’s responsibility from the janitor to the CEO.
  8. Base measurement on a campaign-by-campaign basis deriving from initial strategy and desired outcome.

Is Your Data Capture S.M.A.R.T.?

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Has your company or organization discussed leveraging internal data (aka: Big Data) collected to shift operational processes to ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ initiatives?  You may ask what does “S.M.A.R.T.” stand for?  The acronym is my off the cuff description applicable to any organization, for or non-profit.

S-    Strategic

M-   Marketing

A-    Analytics w/

R-    Return On Investment

T-    Tactics

Chances are that discussion has happened, several times.  The challenge for most organizations is determining where and how to start.  First and foremost the right team players need to be identified. This is where, IT, Marketing and Operations meet.   Ask these questions:

  1. What are the fiscal year operational goals for the organization? (Sales driven)
  2. How are we currently driving sales and what is our average rate of growth for the past 2 years?
  3. What is our current marketing and operational budget?
  4. How are we currently capturing and storing data and in what format(s) – platform(s)?

Secondly, the team must agree to work collaboratively.  Check egos at the door.  Accomplishing real progress requires all team members to invest in the project in addition to their established workload and responsibilities.  So, if a teammate isn’t willing to rollup their sleeves from jump, then you have the wrong person on your team.  Address this before trying to move forward.  S.M.A.R.T. initiatives require a level playing field and open communication.

Thirdly, the established team needs to collectively determine the idealistic outcomes through goals for the year.  These need to be SPECIFIC and ACHIEVABLE. The link above provides a workable template for goal setting.

Examples:

  • Increase click through to sales conversion rates by 5 % through year-end.
  • Create loyalty program incentives for repeat sales – goal of 20 % ‘opt-in’ rate of current client base.
  • Customize digital product highlights per customer based on purchase history and complimentary products/services.
  • Etc.…

Once the team has compiled specific and achievable operational goals, the team works backwards from there. This is also know as backward chaining.   Dissect each and every goal into operational step to achieve those goals.  Each goal becomes its very own flow chart with specific steps assigned to team members to foster accountability.

NOTE: It’s very important to set time frames for accomplishing each step.  This keeps everyone on task and accountable for progress towards the goal.

Allow for change management.  Remember, this is uncharted territory for your organization.  Collectively, you will learn what works and what doesn’t by doing.  Finding a strong team that works well together and genuinely believes in the mission through commit to growth will enable your ‘big data’ to work for your organization.  The key to success is communication and respect.

Katrina McCullough