The days when social media was “good to have” for organizations are long gone. This is the day and age where social media integration is a necessity for businesses; a bare necessity. And it’s no secret – businesses large and small are continuously integrating their websites with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social media sites.
In all likelihood you are not far behind either. You may have already integrated your site with at least the ‘Big Three’ social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus – as well as YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. (You should by the way, if you haven’t yet).
However, there is more to succeeding in this age of social media than incorporating different social profiles into your website. To be truly successful, you must integrate social media at a strategic level, into your overall business strategy and not just your website.
Three nifty opportunities for strategic social media integration
There are several clever ways in which you can integrate social media into your business and make the most of it for greater visibility, higher sales, and higher profits. To get you started, listed below are three of them:
1. Social media integration into certain business functions
Business functions such as product innovation, service delivery, and customer service can be integrated seamlessly with social media to boost engagement as well as results. For instance, you could set up a Twitter handle that serves as an innovation-ideas platform where you could ask followers to share what they would like to see changed in your product(s), service(s), and service delivery.
Similarly, another Twitter account could be dedicated to take care of the sole function of customer service. The media company Comcast runs a Comcast Cares Twitter handle, which is the official customer service and support account of the company.
2. Social media integration into advertising campaigns
The advertising campaigns you run offline, such as those that air on television or are displayed on billboards can very well have social elements integrated into them. Hashtags are perhaps the most easily-integrated and the most effectively-used of the elements.
Companies such as Audi (the #SoLongVampires campaign that aired during Super Bowl 2011) and Nike (the #MakeItCount hashtag can be seen even today across Nike billboard advertisements) have leveraged this strategy and to great results.
3. Social media integration into your e-commerce platform
Your e-commerce platform is a great canvass for social media integration and can be used in several ways to make your business more ‘social’ for customers. You can have your website developer incorporate plugins for social sharing on all product pages. Checkout the product pages of Nike for inspiration.
Integrate social-based comment systems on all product pages as well. Facebook has a comments plugin, which is great for social integration. Disqus is another great option. In addition, include functionality for social sign-in. You can also showcase the products that are trending online. All the major social media sites allow you to quote how many people ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ about a product online.
So start off with these three strategies. You will be able to discover greater opportunities as you get the hang of strategic social media integration.