Social Media Delivers -- But Multichannel Integration Delivers More

Marketers are tuned into social media.

 According to a recent BtoB Research Report, nearly all (93%) of B2B marketers are engaged in social media marketing. Likewise, another study revealed that the vast majority (84%) of the Fortune Global 100 is active on at least one social media platform. 

Why all the interest and activity?<

Because social media produces results. New data shows that social media is delivering solid, proven ROI. What's more, it's cost-effective, too. In fact, one report  concluded that organizations using predominantly newer inbound marketing tactics (blogs, search engine optimization and social media) now experience a cost per lead 62% lower than organizations that use mostly outbound marketing techniques (print, direct mail, etc.). 



Without question, social media is proving itself increasingly valuable as a way to reach out to and connect with consumers. Plus, it's easy to measure and provides nearly instant gratification -- for both our online audience and for us as marketers, too. 

Does that mean you should be focusing solely on social media for lead generation? 

Absolutely not! Social media alone is not enough. Today, your marketing approach -- whether you're B2B or B2C -- needs to fulfill two essential requirements. It needs to be multichannel, and it needs to be integrated. 

Use multichannel tactics to increase reach


The challenge today is to engage your prospects in ways that are varied and unique. You want to be bold. You want to engage customers with conversations and capture audiences with creative and compelling messages. But, don't rely only on social media to accomplish those tasks. Instead, design your campaigns across a variety of channels, so you offer a seamless, compelling experience -- wherever your prospects are, and whenever they choose to engage. 

You need to reconcile today's latest digital technologies with the traditional offline strategies we've depended on for years. In other words, don't forge ahead so quickly that you sacrifice success on channels you've already mastered. Work on simplifying your message so that you can manage the ever-expanding spectrum of channels and offer your prospects information that's relevant across all touchpoints. 

Integrate both online and offline channels 

As marketers, we often create artificial barriers to our customers, but in all honesty, there's no reason to separate your online and offline mix. Success today depends on tearing down those kinds of silos, both internally and externally. Once you do, you'll be able to integrate all the different channels so your messages blend to create an experience that's new and refreshing. 

Fortunately, a variety of simple-to-use analytics and marketing tools are available to help marketers with both integration and focus. These tools can help determine which initiatives resonate with prospects, so that you can refine your messaging as campaigns progress. 

A few words of caution here:  Remember that consistency is fundamental to effective integration. Variability can erode the value of your product or service, so ensure your branding and messaging is consistent across all channels - traditional and digital. 

New research continues to show us that social media platforms are becoming more and more valuable for lead generation. But don't make the mistake of pinning all your hopes on this one tactic alone. A few tweets won't cut it. One YouTube video won't launch sales through the roof. Instead, approach social media as one part of an overall plan that includes a variety of integrated online and offline channels. By aggregating and analyzing data, you'll be able to better understand your prospects' buying behaviors, and you'll start thinking strategically about how to apply those insights to grow your business even more.

4 comments about "Social Media Delivers -- But Multichannel Integration Delivers More".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, June 24, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.

    Being the owner of one of the web’s largest hybrid site (social and multichannel), multichannel was and still is the best ROI for advertising. Here is why.

    After 8 plus years any website can say they can have a contentious number of users/members on their site. However, what is the actual number of members after opt-outs? How many are USA and Canadian based users/members actually using the site once a week or even once a month? The true numbers behind most social sites are very low but yet they want the advertisers to believe the big worldwide user/member number is far more important. It isn’t.

    When a person really wants information about XYZ product, example dog food, they still go to Google, Bing and the other external search engines. Not the social sites. From there, the person searching for the dog food will look for product details. They will also look for coupons and sweepstakes.

    What my membership has said is they clearly do not like the social network sites for products, coupons and sweepstakes. They will use the social sites for general conversations, baby pictures and friendship relations.
    What will happen in the future is the winning publisher websites will be specialized, specific to needs and desires and limited to core market that they are intended to. The Wal-Mart Super Store style social will be around but fail in trying to be all to everyone.

    So what is the actual value of the social networks? The number is far lower than the billions of dollars thrown around on Wall Street.

  2. Blaine Mathieu from Compound Marketing Group, June 24, 2011 at 5:22 p.m.

    Despite all the excitement around social media marketing, it is great to see someone that truly gets it. It's all about the channels working together simultaneously - producing a compounded effect. Much more on my blog:

  3. Steve Schildwachter from BrightStar Care, June 28, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.

    Integration. It's kind of a "duh" but most marketers don't practice it, and those who do, overcomplicate it. It's a Gigantic Venn Diagram.
    Thanks for stepping back and seeing the Big Picture.

  4. Joe Buhler from buhlerworks, June 28, 2011 at 3:44 p.m.

    Integrated marketing has been around for years and in all this time never lost its effectiveness. Around a decade ago the big issue was how to integrate offline and online, now the discussion is about how to address the social web. Of course, it needs to be part of an overall strategy based on business objectives. Unfortunately in the past few years, and to this day it seems, some suggest that social media will replace everything which is certainly not the case. Businesses have to be present and reachable on any channel their customers are using.

    Having said that the social web is not just another channel for one-way marketing messaging but a more complex network of people with the emphasis on social and before getting active with social media and on social networks that part needs to be considered. It's not about technology tools but about sociology an how people connect and interact.

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