The rapid pace of social media adoption by many large firms is well documented. A Burson-Marsteller Fortune Global 100 study earlier this year indicated that almost 80 percent of major companies were utilizing at least one major social media platform to communicate with customers. Another study indicated that small business was not trailing far behind with 75 percent utilizing social media in one way or another.
However, a deep dive of both studies, indicates that only a small minority of these businesses were utilizing social media in a major or strategic way. For most companies big and small, experimentation seems to be the present modus operandi for exploring the social realm. While experimentation is always a valuable way to trial something new, companies that don’t rapidly learn, adopt, and integrate social media into their overall business and marketing plans risk falling behind faster-moving competitors. Many organizations social media efforts exist in a silo of thought and tactics, but the time is clearly here for social media to join the mainstream and to sync with other elements of the marketing mix.
Jeremiah Owyang makes an excellent case for this integration in a recent blog post. While many companies may indicate they have a strategy, it is often a separate effort, and it does not take advantage of the catalyzing effect social media can have on other interactive or traditional media. Jeremiah lays out a clear matrix for CMOs to sync social media with almost every other marketing tactic. However, getting rid of social media’s special status behind a wall of experimentation is the first step in this process.
Whether a firm follows Jeremiah’s proposed matrix, or develops its own methodology, the clear takeaway is that social media has arrived and needs to be integrated with other elements of the marketing mix to maximize the return for companies. It no longer needs or benefits from a separate status. Let social media join the rest of the tactics in the marketing tool kit to build success.