|Social Media Delivers — But Multichannel Integration Delivers More
by Lisa Arthur , Friday, June 24, 2011
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.