Is your marketing social by design?

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

To get the most out of social media, brands need to get smarter about integrating social into mainstream marketing activities like email – and use social as a customer insight tool.

That’s the main take-away from a September 19 Social Media Week Chicago session, “When Integrated Marketing Met Social: Love at First Like,” held at the Tribune Tower.

Brad Keown of Facebook leads off the session by discussing how brands are using Facebook. He asserts that many marketers are not using Facebook the right way. All they’re doing is adding a “Like” button to their websites, or collecting Facebook fans without interacting with them in any meaningful way.

Marketers can and should do a lot more. For instance, Facebook is now the Number 1 photo site on the web because of its tagging functionality. Are brands taking advantage of the rich photo sharing functionality?

American Express is an example of a company that is using Facebook effectively, according to Brad.

In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday by American Express, which relies heavily on Facebook to allow small-to-medium-sized merchants to connect with consumers in meaningful ways. The launch yielded strong returns for businesses participating. And with the “Link, Like, Love” Facebook program, consumers can use Facebook to receive more relevant content from American Express.

He espouses the principle of “Social by Design” to get the most out of Facebook. To wit:

  • Build from the ground up. When you write the creative brief for the launch of a new marketing product or service, ask, “Why would people share my content?”
  • Put people at the center – an example being Intel’s Museum of Me.
  • Lay the social plumbing. For instance, Trip Advisor does a good job embedding social plug-ins into its owned media content. Levi’s effectively uses social plug-ins as well.
  • Make the experience easy.

Charlie Lee and Regina Gray of Experian then ask, “How to make social media marketing great?”

In their words, “2010 was the year of the follow.” Many brands were obsessed with gaining fans, and for good reason: one Facebook fan translates to 20 additional visits to your website. Winning companies need to integrate social with their mainstream marketing and create relationships with consumers.

For instance, MarketingProfs and Redbox both do an effective job on their websites integrating social likes with calls to action such as email signup. Urban Outfitters prominently displays on its website a bold invitation to Like its page and to sign up for an email subscription.

Dick’s Sporting Goods also created back-to-school scavenger hunt that integrates social with mobile. Meantime, home furnishing provider Horchow does a good job embedding customer reviews from Facebook in its email marketing.

Charlie and Regina assert that brands must also do a better job relying on the data they receive from their social interactions with consumers to better understand the marketplace – and the tools exist now to make that kind of social monitoring an everyday reality.

Social also provides an enormous opportunity to improve customer attribution by helping marketers understand the value and influence of social conversations on consumer behavior.

Charlie and Regina also urge brands to create a real-time view of your customers by linking your website, social data, and existing customer records.

To really take social to the next level, brands must more aggressively make use of Facebook Connect, which is really a portal into the world of your customer – one that gives you a more rich view of your customer.

Amazon uses information you provide about your social graph (via Facebook Connect) to make smarter product recommendations – such as birthday gifts you might want to purchase for your friends.

Companies that integrate social data with their offline marketing will take integrated marketing and social to the next level of performance.


Vice President of Marketing, iCrossing


Want to write for Social Media Week?

We're looking for individuals around the globe to contribute articles on marketing, media, technology, and more.