A discussion on the LinkedIn grabbed my attention recently. The author posed the following question, “What are the challenges to developing an integrated social media campaign?”
I decided against posting my answer on LinkedIn as I’m having a serious internal debate around what the exact role of agencies within social media are. The fact that many brands resort to 3rd party “social media experts” (a term I despise) just don’t sit well with me. It also feels like evangelists (with their own business related mandates) are toting ‘Social Media’ to be the new silver bullet without really thinking about the long term implications and relevance for the brand.
I’m digressing, back to the original question – I gave it some thought and wrote the following. Don’t forget, I’m an agency RAT so what I write comes from a marketing perspective and the rest of my post revolves around how I believe one should approach a marketing campaign in general.
“What are the challenges to developing an integrated social media campaign?”
After semi-thorough analysis of the brief I extracted the following three terms – “integrated | social media | campaign”
In no specific order.
Let’s forget about social media for a moment. So you have something to say, promote or to offer? We need to define what it is we want to communicate. Let’s define the business (hopefully not evil) objectives. Next, who do we want to engage with? Define the target audience. Who are they? What are their behaviors and needs? Where do they hang out? Are they interested in what the brand wants to share with ‘em?
Lets mix in a little bit of timing and scope to keep us honest. Now – figure out how we can balance business goals with target audience needs using the offer/communication as context.
This could mean a lot of things? For me (within my context) it implies looking at all the relevant touch points. Should we use radio, TV, PR, activation, outdoor and or other digital channels (owned, earned, created)? We need to mix up all the media into one integrated solution relevant to the target audience. I also like to think of ‘integrated’ as channels working together – identifying the strengths of each and then determining how they can support each other to take the audience on a journey.
At TBWA we use technique referred to as “Media Arts” to determine and map out exactly how, when and where the media kicks in to support the campaign.
Example: Can I use physical activations to create interest and content within digital channels. OR, can I use or activate the community witting a digital space to action something in the physical space?
This is the one I would approach with caution – as it has a direct bearing on the brand beyond a mere short-term campaign. What’s the nature of the brand’s community engagement? What is the context of the current social engagement strategy? Do we have to enter new into new channels or are we using existing platforms? What are we offering to add value within the social space? Is the relevant support system in place to handle two-way (honest) communication?
I don’t believe in set campaign recipes. Each engagement (project) needs to be mixed up according to the specific campaign objectives and the best marketers identify the most relevant channels to get their message across.