Integrating Social Media into a Web Strategy: A Summary
This article is in fact the summary of a more imposing document, a presentation in fact delivered to Infopresse on February 6, 2008 in front of a room that was (too?) full of 300 people who wanted to know more about how we can obtain results in business using social networks.
It's actually a paradox because that's not what social networks were created for. Social media marketing strategies are an outgrowth of these platforms seeking to monetize their activities and attempts by advertisers and strategists to appropriate some of all the engagement that happens there. It must be said that the figures are there: put together, social networks have almost as much traffic as all of Google's sites, which is saying something.
But let's get to the point: what information should be considered when establishing a social media integration strategy?
Users and their activities
Before venturing into social networks, it is good to know what users are doing there. We can generally cite the 1-10-100 rule which indicates that 1% of the user population creates spaces, groups and discussions, 10% participates in them and adds content and finally 100% participates in them. Specifically, we can state that if 52% are inactive, the rest unfolds as follows:
- Creators (13%)
- Critics (19%)
- Collectors (15%)
- Sociable (19%)
- Spectators (33%)
Interesting Canadian statistics, according to Comscore in December 2007, 80% of Canadians consult social networks and 63.8% blogs. 35% of them would have "tagged" or categorized content on a site.
But precisely, what exactly do the users of social networks do on its sites?
They have fun, are entertained and sometimes enjoy the practical side. They can even find clients or employers there, not to mention a kindred spirit (or a “quick shag” as Ignacio Ormaneo from Haveanidea would say!). We then tried to group the activities that were carried out by these groups of users on the different social networks available:
- They value content by rating, reviewing and commenting
- They increase the meaning of content by adding tags and categorizing content
- They create content by adding texts and multimedia content
- They guide their contacts towards quality content by spreading RSS feeds, bookmarks, spaces and compilations of content
- They customize environments for themselves and their group of people
Types of social networks
It is difficult to arrive at an exhaustive and rigorous categorization of social networks. Many are hybrids. But here are the main types that we have listed:
- Mass social networks : made up of Facebook, Myspace, Bebo Orkut or Hi5, they have networks that are aimed at everyone. They sometimes include the majority of activities that can be done in all of the following categories. They are real playgrounds that quickly provide less geeky users with the necessary knowledge to then access more niche, more specific social networks. You can deploy dozens of different strategies. In Canada, the most Canadians spend time on Facebook. 8 million Canadians currently have a Facebook account. More details in my article on the possibilities of Facebook (https://www.adviso.ca/facebook-les-possibilites-pour.html).
- Social news : Digg, Propeller, Reddit (on the English side) or Scoopeo, Nuouz, wikio and Fuzz (on the French side) are sites where the front page is determined by the users. You will have more details in the presentation on the effect generated by this type of site, in the short term and in the long term. These sites are ideal for joining the linkerati (the group of users likely to create links to a site) and thus perform in search engines.
- Social bookmarking : these are sites that have the practical advantage of sharing and reusing their bookmarks anywhere on the web. These sites make it possible in particular to obtain inbound links to a site, but also to disseminate information to restricted communities. The best known are del.icio.us, Magnolia and Stumbleupon (which could also belong to the previous category).
- Social media and content sharing : these sites such as Youtube, Flickr or Wikipedia make it possible to distribute all kinds of content and make it accessible in all possible contexts. Several ideas in the full presentation.
- Blogs and microblogs : the blogosphere is a huge social network interconnected by inter-blog comments, blogrolls and evenings of exchanges between bloggers. They are fertile ground for spreading messages, provoking debates, seeding conversations and influencing the opinion of a product. They can also be very useful for strict SEO needs in search engines. Maintaining your own blog also allows the creation of corporate content that can live outside the corporate structure and attract traffic much more effectively.
- + lots of hybrids : I will only name Newsvine and Netvibes which are species of crosses between all these types.
Some examples of strategies
The document includes three cases where a company can make good use of the different social networks with several visual examples in support:
- Driving Targeted Traffic: Examples of Facebook and "8 Diseases That Give You Superhuman Powers." »
- Launching/positioning a brand/product: examples of Tokyoflash and petitgestevert.ca.
- Influencing opinion on a product or service: examples from Tripadvisor and Barack Obama.
Finally, the presentation focuses on the elements to implement, monitor and maintain in an organization that wants to embrace social networks:
- Create, maintain and equip a lookout
- Become a content editor
- Properly identify a spokesperson/spokespersons
- Create and maintain communities that can be activated as needed
- Select the right products or services
- Not controlling everything