How to Begin Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix

This is a guest post for the Distilled blog, kindly written by Olga Andrienko of SEMrush.

FACT: you can’t escape social media anymore.

Just consider this data:

  • Out of 3 billion internet users worldwide, 2 billion are active social media users (source)
  • Social media usage grows at a rate of 8.7% per year (source)
  • 40 million businesses have an active Facebook Page (source)

Brands use social media to build dedicated communities. Experts and influencers grow their authority. Small businesses engage local audiences. And everyone else uses it to stay in touch with friends, present and past.

And so, whether you like it or not, you have no choice but to get your business on social media.

But I bet you’re wondering:

How am I supposed to actually use it? I hardly have the time for it right now. And even though I have tried it in the past, I have never seen any positive results from social.

In this post I’ll show you exactly that. How to integrate social media into five key areas of online marketing to make it work for your business.

Ready?

Website

I guess there’s hardly a business without a website. After all, how else would you gain visibility online, attract new prospects and offer information to new clients around the clock?

But a website could also indirectly aid your social media efforts. Here’s how:

Include social media buttons on the site

This one seems like a no-brainer, right? But double check if your site features buttons or links that point to your social media pages. Also, make sure they open in a new window so that by clicking on them, users don’t navigate away from your site.

Embed a Twitter search

It’s a fact, people talk about brands on social media.

According to this infographic by Parature:

  • 52% of customers have praised a brand online
  • 33% have complained to a brand on social media
  • 59% got a response to their complaint or compliment
  • 51% based their buying decision on what they heard in the response

However, did you know that you could also help visitors see what others post about you on social media?

How? By including a Twitter Search stream on your site that displays tweets including your brand or product names.

An example of a Twitter feed embedded on a website.

Cultured Code uses branded Twitter stream to offer social proof to their visitors, for instance.

Add Facebook widget

If your company has a Facebook page, you could also add a Facebook widget to show how many followers it has and how they’re engaging with your brand.

This social proof could help convince first time visitors that your company is actually active and offer social proof enticing them to follow you as well.

Content marketing

It goes without saying that content is by far the most important digital marketing trend today.

And it’s not just my opinion. Just take a look at these survey results (courtesy of CAM foundation):

Important digital marketing trends for 2015.

Content beats every other major digital marketing trend by a mile.

But how do you integrate social media into your content strategies? Especially if you don’t have the time to post updates and manage social media communities?

Here are some ideas that could help you:

Add social sharing buttons to every piece of content you publish on your site

Make it easier for your audience to share it with their followers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a landing page or a short blog post, make sure that whatever you publish on the site also includes social sharing buttons.

Don’t forget to set your sharing buttons to include:

  • The content’s title (this usually is the title meta-tag so make sure you make it click-worthy).
  • Author’s Twitter handle. This way everyone who sees your content on social media will know where it came from.
  • Link(s) to the content. You may have to use a URL shortener to make sure there is space even for longer titles left.
  • Hashtags, especially if your content relates to a special event. Or you want to associate it with a particular topic.

Create tweet-able quotes in your content with Highlighter

I’m sure it happened to you before:

You randomly selected a piece of content on a page only to see a box popping up allowing you to tweet it.

The Highlighter tool in action.

That’s a Highlighter in action, a free tool by SumoMe.

Highlighter allows your visitors to highlight sections of your articles to share with their social media friends.

If you’re not comfortable with allowing visitors to select quotes to tweet, use ClicktoTweet (another free tool). This app allows you to preset tweetable quotes yourself and insert into the post with a sharing button.

Once a reader clicks on a link, they’ll be taken to a page with a preset tweet they can post to their Twitter followers.

A click to tweet button.

Email marketing

Even though content is the hottest trend in marketing, email isn’t left far behind.

According to Salesforce, for instance:

  • 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is the core of their business
  • For 69.7% of US internet users, email is the preferred method of communicating with a business
  • 60% of marketers claim that email is a critical enabler of products and services
  • 43% of businesses have a 2-3 people on email marketing team

Simply put, your business should be using email.

And here’s how to integrate social media into your email marketing efforts.

Include social media buttons in every newsletter

Even if you don’t want your recipients to share the content of the email, use those buttons to point them to your social media pages.

Use CircleCount to add email subscribers to Google+ circles.

Export your subscribers list and run it via CircleCount, a tool for Google+ statistics. Add them gradually to your circles (and then remove those who haven’t added you back after a couple of days). I know, it can sound like a tedious process, but it could help you slowly build a strong following on Google+.

Use the newsletter to announce special social media events

Live events are a great way to grow your social media presence.

They help connect with customers and prospects, increase your authority, build relationships and promote your brand.

If you’re running a Twitter chat or a Hangout on Air, for instance, use your newsletter to help promote it. Send your subscribers an invite to take part in. Encourage them to post about it to their followers.

If you’re wondering how to run a successful Twitter chat, check out this step-by-step guide.  

Lastly, make sure your employees have links to the company’s social media profiles in their signatures

You know:

With over 100 billion emails sent and received every day, there’s a huge possibility that someone might click a link in your signature and go to your profile.

Webinars

Webinars are a different kind of live events. For one, they’re much bigger than their social media counterparts, with dedicated speakers conveying a particular topic to the audience. They also have a strong educational focus.

Webinars allow you to build business contacts, showcase your expertise and knowledge, promote a product or service and capture sales leads.

And they too could benefit from social media integration. Here’s how:

Add social sharing buttons to a webinar’s landing page

Make sure that they’re set up to include the webinar’s title, link and your company’s social media handle.

Encourage people to share their participation

Once people fill in the registration form, encourage them to share the fact they're attending your webinar. Include sharing buttons on the registration confirmation page and email. Entice their sharing with a strong call to action, i.e.:

“I’m attending [Webinar name] with [Your Social Media handle]. Join me. Grab your seat here: [Link to landing page].”

A Twitter follower sharing participation in a webinar.

Then track these mentions, follow them on Twitter and engage with them further.

Create a special hashtag for the event and encourage discussions on social media

Create a special hashtag for the webinar and encourage people to ask questions and post the quotes they liked on Twitter. Track the hashtag and engage with your audience on multiple channels at once.

Offline events

Lastly, you can also integrate social media into your offline marketing activities. For instance:

Monitor the event’s hashtag and notify your social media team to be online once the event starts

Most events these days use a hashtag to entice people to spread the info on them or share their experiences on Twitter. Find out what that hashtag is and monitor it to find people using it. Reach out to them and invite them to engage with you.

If you use the event to promote your brand, offer a giveaway or run a contest, this is a great way to let people attending the event about it.

Reach out to participants after the event

After the event, purchase a TweetBinder report to get the list of all people who tweeted the event’s hashtag. Reach out to them, ask them about their impressions about the event and to continue engaging with them.

Final thoughts…

There’s no escape from social media. But even if you do not want to actively engage with social audiences, there are other ways to integrate it into your marketing mix. By doing so you ensure that your brand still retains at least some social media presence.

Olga Andrienko is the Director of Social Media at SEMrush. Olga specialises in conversion and relationship marketing and has increased SEMrush social engagement by 400% in one year together with her team.

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Olga Andrienko