Social media marketing strategist Carri Bugbee contributed this guest blog post:
For those of us immersed in social media marketing, it’s been a wild ride the past few years. Facebook became the 800-pound gorilla, with a big chunk of all online ad revenue now going to feed the beast. Twitter blossomed from a little bird carrying messages between friends to the siren of mass media and a harbinger of top trends. Geo-local check-ins came out of nowhere to challenge our ideas about loyalty and reward us for stalking. And mobile devices have changed the way we gather and share all manner of information at the point of purchase.
However, this social media mania left most corporate websites a wee bit lonely. Sure, marketers dutifully included links and tried to drive promotional traffic to their websites, but the constant flow of new ideas and familiar faces always lured people back to their networks in rapid-fire fashion.
So, what’s a marketer to do if all the action is happening off-site? How do you get people to come on over to your place and stick around for awhile? For many businesses, the answer is to integrate social media with the corporate website. In fact, this was named the most important initiative for social media strategists in 2011, according to the Altimeter Group.
Of course, it’s no small matter to figure out how to do this and where to start. The landscape of choices changes almost daily – along with the opportunities. However, I did the research, so you don’t have to! It’s all covered in a white paper that details the top tools and tactics for socializing your website. I pulled together helpful tips from many of the top social media marketing thought leaders: Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis, Charlene Li, David Armano, C.C. Chapman, Ann Handley, Steve Rubel, Michael Stelzner and Joe Pulizzi. I also highlighted a few apps and platforms you may not have tried, along with examples of best practices. I hope you’ll check it out and offer your own spin on those ideas below.
One thing I didn’t cover in the white paper is who should lead the charge. This is still somewhat nebulous. Social business is so new, the person (or team) in each organization who evangelizes for these changes may come from a variety of places: marketing, customer service, public relations, sales, search and more. I’ve observed this personally and similar data was detailed in the November 2010 report The Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist. This means your strategist(s) – maybe that’s you – may encounter resistance from corporate web development teams. They may not appreciate PR folks, for example, offering user interface recommendations.
In the case of smaller businesses, which often outsource marketing and web development, their vendors will have to play nice with each other. It would be great if these services were available all in one place, but I think that’s rare at this point. That will continue to be the case until more consistent social media marketing methodologies emerge. That’s happening to some extent now with Facebook – until the next round of platform changes kicks in.
Whether your business has in-house advocates or outside agencies and consultants, I suspect you’ll have to knock down a few silos to get your website socialized. If you have an opinion about who can and should drive this process – and how this may change the roles of social media strategists – I’d love to hear it!