Independent Thinking Blog

What is True “Social Media Integration”?

According to Jeremiah Owyang, true social media integration doesn’t exist.

In a fascinating keynote speech at the MarketingProfs B2B Conference last week, Owyang walked through an 8-step roadmap for integrating social media and your (corporate) Web site. The aim is to identify where you are now, where you want to be, and to move slowly and strategically forward.

The framework starts from the point of no integration and moves toward an ideal:

1. Do nothing (while the conversation is happening around you in other platforms).

2. Link outward from your Web site (i.e., send traffic away with links such as “follow us on Twitter” or “follow us on Facebook“).

3. Link away, but encourage sharing (i.e., “I’m now following Company X on Twitter,” which offers some social endorsement).

4. Extend your brand in social channels (i.e., mirror your corporate brand experience elsewhere, a.k.a. “fishing where the fish are”).

5. Aggregate the conversation on your Web site. (Think Skittles, which centralized discussions on its site. The downside, of course, is loss of control.)

6. Use social log-ins (i.e., Facebook Connect or Twitter Connect. Think H&R Block. While this may increase sign-ups, you lose the opportunity to collect e-mail addresses and other key data.)

7. Social log-in triggers sharing (creating a social or interactive experience that enables users to stay on the site while interacting with both the company and their friends/peers, and to recruit other people into the social network. The challenge is that this requires planning, the right technology, a solid campaign strategy, and extensive resources.) Pepsi Refresh, for example, lets people vote for their favorite ideas and share them with friends on Twitter and Facebook. Dell IdeaStorm triggers consumers to recruit friends to vote for their ideas.

8. Seamless integration (the idea that you won’t be able to tell the difference between your Web site and a social site).

Owyang said that seamless integration requires a fundamental change that we’re not yet ready for. “The idea of sending traffic to a .com is an old way of doing things,” said Owyang. In the future, “you’ll send traffic to people and the networks.” He also suggested that the future Web will be sorted around people and contextual situations (not URLs).

Pretty heady stuff. I’m still somewhere between Step 2 and Step 4. Where are you, and where do you want to be?

Photo by ming1967 (Flickr).

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