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April 25, 2012

Who’s Doing Social Media Right? Weigh In Here

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Estimated reading time:
2 minutes
Top takeaways:
Current ways of thinking about social media marketing seem to divide the medium rather than unify it with other marketing channels — to a brand’s detriment. How can we change our practices to support to a more holistic model?

Here’s an interesting mid-week read for you: Social Media Advertising Is Set to Explode. Who Will Control It?

The short story: Industry watchers, really everyone reading this, saw social media marketing cut an unprecedented fast track for business adoption and budget. Now all hands are reaching for a piece of the pie; that’s PR, advertising, digital media, and social media agencies all staking a claim to the financial bounty that comes with controlling the new media budget. But which arm of media management or communications would best serve social on behalf of business? Before any business can choose, the AdAge article warns of three social media misconceptions that can muddy decision making.

Meditating on Brand Harmony

Bring your brand in to marketing harmony with cross-channel optimization.

The outing of these three problematic ways of thinking about social media marketing struck me as insightful. They are:

  • Clients still believe an agency can tell their story.
  • An over-abundance of social management tools divide social media rather than unify it.
  • Social media is about more than “influence” and “engagement”. Social advertising is a part of larger marketing efforts.

The takeaway here is to focus back on the brand story and utilize social media as one of many channels working together in harmony to tell that story. As agencies and even in-house marketers, we need to embrace a holistic strategy, eliminating media fragmentation to make clients happy:

We hear an awful lot in the trade press and at conferences about the individual channels that focus specifically on one facet of the business (be it mobile, video, display, or social). [...] A significant challenge created by this fragmentation is the complexity of cross-channel optimization. Typically the buyer and the seller offer standalone plans for each individual media channel. This creates confusion and a good deal of additional work during and post-campaign to aggregate, analyze, and optimize spend to meet the goals and objectives of the client.

How to achieve cross-channel optimization is the challenge. Some ideas:

  • Nurture a strong brand culture that naturally infuses the organization with a sense of identity.
  • Build an integrated vision for communication and marketing strategy.
  • Remove barriers of compartmentalization to create free-flowing communication between departments or agencies.

Granted, the above are abstract and not tactical. Your thoughts on how to achieve cross-channel marketing harmony, and examples of brands with an effective holistic approach are welcomed in the comments.

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