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How can social media be better integrated into your marketing campaigns?

We’ve all heard about how social media can transform the fortunes of SMEs, as it’s an affordable and effective way of engaging with a target audience and boosting brand awareness. But it seems that many organisations are treating social media marketing almost as a separate entity, rather than making sure it’s fully integrated into their overall promotional campaign. What then can SMEs do to address this oversight and ensure that social media simply forms part of their wider marketing strategy.

Digital marketing specialist Anton Koekemoer has a few tips… 

Use social media for customer service

Many brands offer phone lines to provide assistance to customers, but social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are also ideal for this purpose. So by making sure customers know they can turn to these sites for help and support, firms can position their social media channels at the heart of their business and build a strong online community. It all helps to make social media a vital and useful resource for companies, rather than just another promotional tool. 

Maintain relationship via social media

Facebook, Twitter et al offer firms a great way to stay connected with their audience. Mr Koekemoer believes they can use this to their advantage by engaging with their customers “to keep their relationship going”.&

Incorporate social media into content marketing strategy

Many brands run a blog and ensure their website is regularly updated with fresh and interesting content, such as videos and infographics. Companies could therefore share this material on their Facebook and Twitter platforms, both to get it seen by more people, and to encourage debate and conversation about the issues being discussed. It also increases the chances of your content getting picked up by search engines. 

Use social media to generate leads

The internet can point SMEs towards influential decision makers in your industry and source people who could make perfect clients. Social media can therefore be a perfect tool for firms to engage with them on a regular basis. Mr Koekemoer says: “This is a great way to connect with industry leaders that can help you with lead generation.” 

Create hashtags to promote events and trade shows
Many SMEs will either arrange or participate in events such as charity fundraisers and trade shows. Twitter can be a great tool to raise awareness of these occasions, as creating a specific hashtag around each one means firms can connect with each and every attendee and promote their event to a wider audience. 

Add social details to promotional literature & merchandise
SMEs should encourage firms to follow them on their social media channels at every opportunity. This does not mean overtly asking them to click ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ – all they need to do is add the web address to any promotional literature and merchandise, so customers and clients know these pages exist and are motivated into checking them out. 

“Social media should never be seen as a standalone strategy because it should be an integral part of your business,” Mr Koekemoer says. “At the end of the day it really comes down to how you are integrating social media within your business.” In other words, it should dovetail with all the other elements of a business and complement everything else that is going on within an organisation. If SMEs can achieve this and work platforms like Facebook and Twitter seamlessly into their operations, it’s conceivable that the term “social media marketing” could become a thing of the past – as it will form a fundamental part of what firms should be doing all the time. 

Further Reading / Sources
8 ways you can better integrate social into your marketing mix, Memeburn