| posted by Joe Hice |

How to integrate Social Media into your communications strategy

It’s as if BrandMIND was reading my mind.  Yesterday I spoke at the annual College News Association of the Carolinas (CNAC) annual meeting in Charlotte; my topic, How Web 2.0 is changing the face of university relations.  The presentation will be posted soon on the CNAC Web site; cnacnet.org so check it out.  In reading this post from BrandMIND I realize I’m not alone in my thinking.

The first decision regarding the use of social-media is making the decision to proceed.  Some might ask, “do you embrace the madness.”  If you do — and I believe you must —  where do you go next? How do you get started integrating social-media into your marketing mix?  Well, you might follow the 8-step process for Strategic Social Media Integration outlined by the company.  Those steps are:

  1. Listen and educate internal stakeholders
    • Invest some time and energy in learning about social media.  Listen to the social web for sentiment about your company, and also learn from competitors and other categories.
  2. Understand your audience and how they currently interact with social media
    • Using simple techniques and tools, learn which topics are important to your customers.  Find out how your customers are engaging with other companies.
  3. Determine social marketing objectives
    • What do you hope to achieve with social media?  Are you interested in using it for customer service? To create a closed customer-feedback loop?  To provide product information?  To promote your products?  To build your brand?  Make sure that internal stakeholders agree on objectives and how to measure against them.
  4. Set social media strategy and platforms
    • Develop a plan that identifies specific platforms and a strategy for each platform.  Select only those platforms to which you can commit time and energy.  Align audiences with appropriate platforms.
  5. Determine support structure and resources
    • Set leadership responsibility and be sure to develop a cross-functional team.  It will be important to establish guidelines for employee engagement and identify how you will incorporate and distill feedback.  You may need to engage creative and/or technical resources for initial set-up and ongoing content creation and measurement.
  6. Inventory existing content
    • Assess not only current marketing content that can be re-purposed for social media, but find the people in your company who are passionate and let them help you connect with customers.
  7. Create and distribute new and re-purposed content
    • You will want to distribute content across platforms according to your plan, but don’t be afraid to continually explore new opportunities and platforms.  It is also important to drive interaction between existing online and offline marketing content and your new platforms. Determining a content schedule and editorial calendar are keys to success.
  8. Measure and report
    • If your objectives for social media were to increase web traffic and online purchases, you need to be measuring against that objective.  Regular reporting and review are essential to leveraging an ongoing social media presence.  Understand which responses (i.e. views, posts, comments, etc) lead to the desired actionn.

Not a bad overview.  A little heavy on the tactical side, but No. 3 is spot on.  It probably should be task number one; determine your objectives.  Social media is just another tool that is part of the marketing mix, so to speak and you have to determine how it will fit within the mix.

We’re fortunate that at NC State our Web Communications Group is among the leading university web groups in the country and they are helping lead the university’s social media approach.   With Twitter, Facebook, Ning and other tools, they have helped keep us ahead of the competition.  So much so that places like Vanderbilt and Duke are following our lead with Twitter and others are soon to follow.  They are also collaborating closely with our Web sub committee that is working on the digital and web component of our Strategic Communications plan at NC State.

Speaking of Twitter, we’ll soon take the next step and introduce a Facebook aggregation page that functions in a fashion similar to the Twitter aggregator we developed.  Very cool stuff.

Passion Rules!

92 of 100

Share

2 Responses to “How to integrate Social Media into your communications strategy”

  1. Dave Green says:

    Here’s a link to an article in Forbes magazine that calls Raleigh/ Durham/ Chapel Hill the “most wired city in the U.S.”

    http://bit.ly/bhxrzm

    One of the reasons for this achievement that is NOT listed in the article is the pioneering work Nortel Networks did in the ’80s and ’90s. The demise of a global brand as strong as Nortel — much like Toyoto’s problems today — says a great deal about management leadership.

  2. NC State is indeed doing some great stuff in the social media arena. Thanks for the reference. I agree that nailing objectives is key particularly after you’ve spent the time “listening to your audience” to understand how they use social media.

Leave a Reply