The original question, “How do I integrate and manage all of my social media marketing activities?” was listed as one of the top 10 social media questions that marketers want answered in a Social Media Examiner Report. Stacey and I are doing a series of blog posts to answer these questions to the best of our abilities and to provide space for others to chime in as well.
This question is getting at two different things: 1) how do you integrate social media into your business’s overall marketing strategy? 2) how do you efficiently manage a multitude of social media channels and integrate efforts across all of them?
To answer the first part, your social media strategy should match your overall marketing strategy which, in turn, should match your business goals. Use social media as one method to reach your end goal for your business. For instance, if your goal is to have people download your software, then your social media strategy will be a match for your overall business & marketing goals if: your YouTube channel shows tutorials of how to use the software, your Twitter channel offers codes for free trial downloads and your LinkedIn page shows product recommendations from your current customers. This is as opposed to a social media strategy that has you giving away free iPods on Facebook, which neither integrates nor aligns with your business goals.
Another way to answer the first question is to consider ways to integrate your social media efforts with the rest of your outreach efforts. Here’s my checklist for that:
- include links to your social media channels in your company e-mail signature line
- include links to your social media channels on your company website (all pages, including landing pages)
- link to each of your other social media channels from each of them – for example, have your Facebook Page link to your YouTube channel, your Twitter account and your Blog and vice versa
- send an update to your e-mail list that you can now be found on social media. Include links for where people can find you. Also, explain why you are on each channel and what fans and followers can expect to gain from interacting with you in each space
- have television ads that encourage people to go to your Facebook Page to participate in a game, answer a question, leave feedback, etc.
- include quotes from your Twitter followers in your print pieces
These are just some ways to integrate social media into your other marketing efforts. There are plenty of other ways, too.
The second part of the question is more about tools and tactics for managing several accounts at once. The original question in the Social Media Examiner report was: “What are the best tools for managing all of our social media accounts?” I will offer some tools, but first I want to make an appeal:
Do not auto-post your content to multiple channels!
There are many reasons I say this, and here are a few: The same message is not appropriate for all audiences. If you take one message and post it to Twitter and Facebook, you’ll run into problems such as the message getting cut off on Twitter because the character limit for Facebook is longer than for Twitter. You’ll also end up confusing and frustrating Facebook users if you use Twitter language in their space (hashtags work on Twitter, but don’t make any sense on Facebook). It’s an etiquette thing. Consider what content is important to which audience members and also think about the personality of each community and how you address them. For instance, the conversation on LinkedIn is often more formal than on Twitter, where you can be more snarky.
So, while I don’t recommend trying to save time by sending the same message to various channels, I do have some tools I recommend to save time by sending messages to each channel from within one platform.
- Argyle Social allows you to post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This is a paid tool.
- Hootsuite has free and paid options and integrates with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace, Foursquare and Mixi.
- Tweetdeck is free and integrates with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare
- Sysomos and Radian6 are both primarily monitoring tools, but they can also be integrated with a number of social media platforms and used for replying to users. Both are paid tools.
- Posterous is a free tool that allows you to post your content and share it across a variety of networks including Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to leave comments pointing out the many other tools that can be used to post as well as other tips for integrating social media into your marketing mix.
Photo by webtreats