Integrating Social Media Marketing into Your Omni-Channel Marketing Program: What You Need to Know

When Disney decides to woo you, it pulls out all stops. The multi-billion dollar media conglomerate is a wizard at omni-channel marketing. Right from its super responsive website to its friendly team of social media genies to its imaginative magic band (that works as a key-cum-camera-cum ride pass-cum menu card), the company ensures they keep all their touchpoints with their customers as evergreen as possible.

This omni-channel effort by Disney has allowed the company to grow by leaps and bounds. In fact, research shows that companies that implement 4 or more channels in their omni-channel marketing campaigns outperform single-channel campaigns by 300%.

Going social with omni-channel marketing

It’s estimated that over 3 billion people around the world use some form of social media extensively. 64% of this group states how social media posts often influence them in their purchase decision. This represents approximately half the world’s population; a market of potential customers that can be best reached, engaged and inspired to act via social media. In order to leverage the benefits that this large market offers, organisations need to include social media marketing as part of their omni-channel marketing campaigns.

Integrating social media marketing with the company’s omni-channel marketing can be challenging. But following these steps can make it happen:

  • Compare the objectives of your business with the objectives of your social media strategy

The first thing you need to do is analyse if social media is right for you or not. If it is, identify what you seek to achieve out of the social media integration. Next, analyse if social media will support your business’s existing objectives or not.

For example, if your objective is to increase brand visibility, then social media is a good way to go. But, if your objective is profit maximisation, then social media may or may not be necessary depending on the characteristics of your target market.

  • Implement social listening to understand prospect/customer’s social media preferences and requirements

Before you actively implement social media marketing, spend time understanding who your prospects are on social media, which platform they use the most, what do they do on the platform, if they actively look for products/services on the social media channel or not and which other channels they actively use.

Trending news and competitors’ activities on social media are good ways to find out what customers are talking about and how it impacts your business.

  • Create a social media content plan

As a rule, always publish content that talks about what you do across channels.

For example, if you’ve recently implemented virtual shopping assistants on your website to help customers with their purchase, publish social media posts on how AR and VR technology can ease the consumer buying experience. If you’re running a freebie or a promo offer at the store, create content that informs your social media followers about the discounts and freebies.

Remember to chart your competitor’s content strategy and publish compelling content that they are likely to share but in advance. A content marketing agency can help you create highly-engaging content your prospects are sure to love.

  • Determine the channel combination you wish to use in your omni-channel marketing

Not all channels work well with each other and not all channel combinations work well all the same time. A decade ago when smartphones hadn’t entered the scene, mobile marketing wasn’t a valid option. The case was the same with social media. But now, with advancements in technology and with customers constantly on the move, these two channels are more relevant than traditional channels.

Then there’s the question of omni-channel and culture. Not all channels work well in each culture and each industry. For example, Amazon offering Japanese customers priest delivery and ceremonial products purchase on its website and social media platform (as opposed to the traditional priest registries and religious agencies) may only be working because Japan is a tech-savvy culture that’s open to innovation. Conservative countries may never welcome this move and may prefer to hire religious services and purchase ceremonial products right at the store.

Marketers need to understand what works best by testing various combinations, observing competitors’ omni-channel strategy and analysing customer requirements and temperaments.

  • Set up KPIs to analyse the success or failure of the campaign

After integrating social media into your omni-channel marketing campaign, remember to measure the results. These results will inform you whether your campaign is working or not and if you need to rework your program or not.

Measure important metrics such as frequency and reach of social media posts, increase in website click rates, web store visits and store walk-ins after implementation of the social media campaign and measure the engagement in the form of searches, brand mentions, likes, comments and shares you receive across online channels. Try and map these to actual sales figures.

Unfortunately, today, more than 85% of marketers do not actively measure omni-channel results and this leads to a failure that can be hard for brands to recover from. Conduct an A/B Test to check if social media integration is really the cause of the business success/failure or not. Then rework your campaign and make it better.

6 tips to ensure the success of a social media-integrated omni-channel marketing campaign

  • Follow the crumbs

Customers leave little breadcrumbs of information on each channel they use. This is especially true of social media which acts as an open book about prospects. Mine your data with care and strike where and when it will create the greatest impact.

  • Unleash a different persona on each channel

Customers expect you to be transparent and easy-to-use on websites, serious and helpful at the storefront and playful and young on social media. While your brand message and brand image must stay the same across channels, the way you convey this message and image must change with the requirements of each channel and each audience.

  • Be distinctive in your difference

If there’s one thing brands have in common, it’s the desire to be different. Choose different influencers for your brand on different social media platforms. Mercedes-Benz is a great example here. They use influencer Casey Neistat for their YouTube promos and influencer Yuyu Chen for their Twitter and Facebook pages. Both influencers have a very distinct following which helps the brand promote their products to a large target market.

  • Merge the data

A lot of marketers don’t understand how social media impacts other channels. This is why they tend to segregate their physical store data from their online store and social media data. In reality, a person dissatisfied with the brand’s social media page may hesitate to visit the store. Or, a person unhappy with website/mobile app/store service may not request company assistance on social media, believing the brand to be apathetic. This can cause harm to the organisation. Actively monitoring and merging data points can help marketers identify sources of the problem and rectify issues before they get out of hand.

  • Use social media to improve service on other channels

Customers communicate with their peers on social media about their recent purchases and experiences with the brand. Listen to what customers have to say on social media and proactively work on improving your service on other channels. Additionally, implement software to allow your customers to track their products on social media as well.

  • Proactively measure results

Most often, social media integration into an omni-channel campaign fails because the combination of channels was wrong. Proactively measuring the benefits that this integration has brought will enable organisations to understand if the campaign needs to be reworked or not.

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