In a perfect Social Media business model, consumer interest is developed by conversation and as a result, product or service is being designed and realized with relevance, purposefulness and quality control. Engagement and response rather than product promotion becomes the primary manner in which a marketer interacts with a consumer.
Most businesses practice may not fully understand how social media best works. In many instances, social media approaches may appear to be executed in very singular, silo-like fashion. This is understandable practice as centrally controlled social media rarely work. and consumers are very savvy players. They want to decide what works best for them. Consumers will listen to what they perceive to be an authentic conversation rather than simply digesting a controlled promotional message. With social media technology, consumers have much more power to both accept or reject content, and it is very much in the interest of an organization to facilitate such an interactive discussion rather than attempt to control the communication.
So, Social Media marketing, unlike direct marketing strategies, finds its effectiveness less in directly promoting product and more in creating an interactive environment where relationships, authenticity and trust among stakeholders will ultimately drive customer loyalty and product sales. How does one create the right environment for successful social media, especially when a company is employing multiple social media platforms for a range of specific goals.
There can be significant benefits to integrating social media strategies, benefits from customer engagement to product quality control or unit cost reduction. However, a number of significant questions should be addressed when developing an Integrated Social Media Strategy.
Have you established the overall vision for the company?
Once established, is everyone contributing to the vision?
Employee participation is seen as a critical component to this strategy. Consumer engagement is likely to arise when social media discourse is deemed coherent, relevant and honest. With multiple social media platforms in play, one wants to avoid duplication, establish clarity and seek cost saving as a result.
How many websites should you have?
Do you make a distinction between broad and local targeting?
Why is Tumblr better than Instagram in a given situation, or Facebook over Twitter?
And is the process at all measurable?
Understanding Media is important. Media can be defined as either traditional and social and has many faces and possibilities.
Look at the appended Social Media Ecosystem Chart. Schulz paints a complex social media portrait of what is out there and available for the ambitious company that wants to connect to the world, identifying the company speech pattern here and referring to a multiplicity of available tools to enhance social media communication.
So let’s look at a working example: Deluxe Entertainment.
The Deluxe Entertainment Company profile is described as a global leader in digital services and technology solutions for content creation and delivery. Deluxe has had a long relationship with Hollywood studios, independent filmmakers, television networks, online content producers, media creators and stakeholders of all sorts.
Today, Deluxe is actively engaged in employing social media to market its diverse activities.
Relationships appear to be the key to Deluxe’s strategy. This relationship approach is very much in tune with the idea of social media itself (ie) computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas via virtual communities and networks.
Who is Deluxe trying to reach, what they are trying to achieve, and how do they measure success in these efforts is the continuing question we are addressing.
Deluxe Entertainment is the parent company to a multiplicity of localized, national companies as well as a number of subsidiaries with their own strong independent brands, which they protect with great vigor.
Given the complexity of the many Deluxe groups, social media structure and management hierarchy is presently more localized than centralized. The parent however conducts a continuing discourse to its teams in order to ensure the overall Deluxe brand is enhanced and promoted.
Deluxe Social Media is constantly promoting and sharing customer product, linking great motion picture works to its own strong brand. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a prime example of this approach So Deluxe here speaks to the motion picture consumer of course, but there is a great focus on association with its lead customers, the Hollywood studios, broadcaster giants including Netflix, and the large distribution entities it services on an on-going basis. Deluxe also promotes its work with smaller independent production houses and notable creative individuals.
Using the Social Media Tool Integration Chart appended here, we begin to see the range of complex efforts this company is presently undertaking.
The Deluxe Chart above sets out a great deal of social media activity on the part of the organization for a number of participants with a set list of goals. The question is whether social media is being effectively employed in a measurable way.
- Has Deluxe established a vision and then employed specific strategies to achieve the vision? It appears so.
- Has Deluxe targeted who they wish to engage and identified what behaviors the engagers exhibit. Consumers do not all function alike. There are 5 identified groups to be reached, some having far greater impact in the social media process than others. They are listed as 1. Creators 2. Critics 3. Collaborators 4. Joiners 5. Spectators.
Creators are the clients here, from large studios to individual artists and technologists.
Critics are the influencers of the other 4 categories who can expand or diminish engagement. These can range from Hollywood Reporter or Variety to the Star Talent in a given project, usually “showrunner” producers or directors. Critics can also be technology gurus, complimenting or criticizing the multiple services offered by Deluxe. Critics can be regulatory players, government or quasi-government organizations or individuals whose policies effect the company directly or the market conditions in the industry itself.
Collaborators range from artistic to technological players affected by Deluxe output, the industry itself or any members of the product supply chain, that Deluxe relies upon to execute its services.
Joiners and Spectators represent the broad community that is touched by the media product Deluxe participates in. These players may become collaborators. The goodwill of these players may influence creators and critics and collaborators.
Each behavior is linked to the others so successful engagement will enhance the entire ecosystem, even when the particular effort seems far removed from the actual business of Deluxe. The above circular Shultz ecosystem and Deluxe’s broad offline community engagement supporting Industry and educational and creative events is a illustration of the integration of multiple media engagement in this respect.
- What story does Deluxe want to tell?
This must be found in the vision statement. It must be articulated to and by Deluxe employees.
- Has Deluxe selected the most effective means in which to engage with the target?
This is a complex portrait. One would have to know exactly what the goals are in terms of time: immediate, mid and long term; and in terms of behaviors such as creators or critics or other important players. Corporate or brand goals and localized goals are not always the same. Deluxe Entertainment in Los Angeles and Bangalore (Sfera cloud) and Deluxe Post-Production in Toronto for instance, sport different agendas when speaking to governments or creators. There is a certain nimbleness required here to manage the discourse sought so one imagines that the social media strategies require constant review and revision by the responsible social media executives at the company.
- What media ecosystem approach best reaches the target in question?
There is a great many tools available to the company. As engagement is the key to social media success, it is critical that Deluxe select tools that reach out to all 5 of the behaviors. It is critical that the choices remain in tune with company, industry and market realities.
6. How do you measure effectiveness?
How does one know if the engagement is working? This requires a very clear understanding of the metrics involved. Should these metrics be self-defined? Possibly. This is sophisticated social media, so numbers, hits alone will not reveal the story. Engagement of course is the key. Deluxe must find a definition and numeric of engagement success. The who, the how deep, the engagement time involved determines success.
What are the actual Communication flows between stakeholders?
Deluxe is brand and customer heavy in its communications but speaks to many other stakeholders in the process as well.
From an engagement perspective, is this necessarily the best way to trigger social media discourse?
Is it enough that the key players respond to Deluxe’s efforts in social media?
Should the lesser “community group” be speaking back to Deluxe?
Should all beneficiaries of Deluxe industry support be included in the overall discourse? For example, should students who receive Deluxe support be tweeting about the support they have received?
Should there be other strategies by Deluxe to connect with the overall community who will share important views, espoused or supported by the company, to their social media brethren?
There may be additional potential strategies to expand such discourse with the end result being to strengthen the vision message and the corporate brand.
Lessons for Others
Effectively integrating Whole Enterprise Social Media Activity across an organization can yield substantial business benefits to a given company. This does not suggest centralization of social media efforts. Au contraire! Diverse input, most notably from an array of employees and influencers/critics is considered far more effective in creating relevant and interesting (read engaging) communication.
Remember social media is about the dialogue, not only the product or the services being marketed.
Developing continuing social media topics and tactics across the Deluxe organization is an efficient, relevant and cost effective way to build up this essential corporate asset base.
The various charts provided are an example of some effective tools available to allow for integration.
Industry: Post-Production and Meta Data Industry
Name of Organization Contact: Michelle Ewing, Social Media Coordinator, Deluxe Toronto
Authored by: Jean Desormeaux
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.