Do you have a #socialmedia strategy or a socially adept #marketing strategy?

connect-enterprise-social-teamsThis is a redux of a popular blog entry from July 2012: “Do you have a #digitalmarketing #strategy” or a marketing strategy for the digital world?” In that entry I tried to describe my professional movement over 15 years of digital marketing… that “I no longer think in digital terms, I apply digital concepts, tactics and measurement to marketing strategy.”

Your target audience IS your target audience, regardless of where you come upon them. The key to this series of blog entries is that a marketing strategy needs to be your marketing strategy. Tactical plans should feed into that. Digital and social plans need to connect to the larger marketing activity. Sure, this sounds obvious, but is it really? I constantly hear people talking about their organizations’ digital marketing strategy, with no mention of overall marketing strategy. It’s as if the digital marketing strategy is the strategy. This is where we disagree.

Back to social media. Forrester describes the current state of enterprise class social media programs as producing “islands”. Altimeter identified some 74% of these same organizations producing “social anarchy”. Both indicate that social media programs are already headed in the wrong direction. The enterprise is particularly tricky, a dozen different functional organizations are hiring dedicated headcount, making connection or alignment of approach nearly impossible; meanwhile, none of the activities are attaching themselves to the larger marketing initiatives.

Making social media more difficult than digital, social is really an enterprise-wide necessity. Outside the marketing objectives of awareness and engagement, social activity is growing in importance for less obvious functional areas of todays’ company: HR needs to use social to connect with candidates, product teams need market feedback, and sales teams need to demonstrate competence and listen, to name a few.

To wrap this up, social media needs to be an intrinsic part of your marketing strategy, not a separate, disconnected plan. When done properly, your social program will:

  • Provide a centralized enablement function across the enterprise – approach, tools, metrics, sharing of best practices.
  • Provide a customer experience that’s consistent with the rest of the enterprise.
  • Increase efficiency / reduce waste of resources, avoiding duplicate tools and roles.
  • Increase coordination and communication across functional business areas.
  • And, increase the likelihood of producing greater outcomes and accountability.
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