Six steps that you can take so you don't fall into the "push the message" trap when using social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy.
The lure of using social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy is very tempting. However, efficiently and successfully implementing that strategy takes a lot more than just building a Facebook fan page or opening a Twitter account. A lot of companies don't understand or are prepared for the fact that implementing a true social media strategy takes resources, time, and effort beyond merely hooking up your blog's feed to your Twitter account.
Social media marketing has brought an evolution to advertising that many ad executives and agencies weren't prepared for. In the old world of advertising, it was all about pushing the message to the masses so they would buy. There was never a second thought in this type of environment that the customer didn't want to hear the message. What's worse is that the advertisers never listened because they didn't have to. Now the advertising world has been turned upside down because of the engagement opportunities that social media offers its community members.
The mistake advertisers make in not understanding social media is by thinking it's just another channel to push messages out to. When the marketing message is just pushed out, it will most likely get ignored. People in social media communities have become accustomed to engaging with like-minded people, making real connections and sharing their experiences, and they tend to bristle, ignore, and shun the marketing person who "doesn't get that."
So what are some steps that you can take so you don't fall into the "push the message" trap?
This column was originally published July 20, 2011.
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