Integrating Social Media Into Your Marketing Plan Pt.2


John Hope-Johnstone

Hello my friend, this post is part two about integrating social media into your overall marketing plan. In my first post regarding integrating social media,  I explained how and why social media fits under the heading of Public Relations. Today I would like to give some examples as to how it can all fit into one cohesive mess, (umm, I mean marketing plan). 

There are fundamentally two types of marketing: 1) Image. 2) Force. Image marketing builds a brand’s identity over a long period of time and provides a top of mind awareness for the brand. Force advertising requires that the consumer take some immediate action such as in a promotion or a sale. Public Relations and Social Media can be used effectively to drive both types of marketing. 

When used to support image marketing, social media would adopt and translate the main brand promise, (example) “We are a company that keeps children healthy” and delicately supports the message by having community managers use social media to give supporting messages showing that the company cares. This is done carefully and remembering that this is a SOCIAL conversation. The community must be behind and believe the concept that this company really does care about children. On top of this, the community must be searching on the Internet for things that “keep children healthy”. 

When using social media to support a “force” marketing campaign, then the company is asking its consumers to take a specific action, right now!  In this case, PR & social media would take the promotional offer, find the community of common interest and the key search terms and have their community managers begin a conversation and create buzz that indicates that this promotion might have value to the community. Social media must also point to a response page on the brand’s Web site where the community can receive the value offered.

It is best to begin the social media promotion well in advance of the actual force advertising by a minimum of two weeks. Don’t forget that the term social media also includes your e-newsletters and as many of your suppliers e-newsletters as is possible. 

Think of your social media campaign as seeding the soil for the promotion. Getting the buzz started. Then add some more PR tools such as your e-newsletter or regular newsletter, giving them a link to the response mechanism for the promotion. Then use a Web media release tools such as to get some good Internet and other media buzz going.

 To successfully integrate social media into a full spectrum marketing plan and not just be a “bolt on” as Kip Bodnar calls it, we must ask seven questions before completing the integrated marketing plan. I have liberally based them on work done by Kip Bodnar, with apologies to him for the additions by me: 

1: Are the psychographic profiles of the consumer being translated correctly and the same message being expounded by all the media in the marketing plan? 
2: Are these psychographic profiles being tested against popular search queries and modified where required? 
3: Are public relations, social media, direct marketing and advertising all working together to achieve the same search engine optimization goals?
4: Are social media platforms integrated into all sales materials, direct mail and advertising and the same base message being used by all?
5: Are future marketing strategies being developed and tested with all disciplines in mind?
6: Which marketing functions are “bolted on” and can they brought into the fold?
7: Is there one overriding measurement for success for the marketing plan? (Yes, I know there will be many little ones). 

Answer those seven questions and you will have gone a long way to integrating social media into your overall marketing strategy. I would love you hear about your examples or ideas on this topic, please leave a comment. Thanks for reading this post, there will be another post next week.


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