Matrix: Evolution of Social Media Integration and Corporate Websites

Many Brands That Adopt Social Are ‘Throwing Away’ Hard Earned Traffic
Many brands are jumping on the social media bandwagon, without giving proper thought about the impacts to their marketing effort.  In particular, many brands are putting ‘social chicklets’ on their homepage to “Follow us on Twitter” or “Friend us on Facebook” without considering the ramifications.

[Brands that arbitrarily adopt social tools may be unknowingly undermining their own efforts. Instead, first understand the full ramifications as you integrate social with your corporate website. Secondly, have a clear roadmap]

Marketers spend millions of dollars to get people to visit their corporate website, so why would they be so quick to send them away? Use this strategy matrix to help make your decisions. Be deliberate by first understanding the ramifications:

Matrix: Evolution of Social Media Integration and Corporate Websites

Sophistication Example Benefit Challenge
1) Do nothing, no social integration Corporate websites that have no integration with social tools at all. Cheap. Ignorance is bliss, at least in the short term Your corporate website is irrelevant.
2) Link directly away without a strategy Corporate homepages that have chickelts that say “Follow us on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube” sending traffic away, see sharethis, add this and tweetmeme Encourages growth of social channels Sending traffic away, without having a strategy
3) Link away, but encourage them to share with a pre-populated message A chicklet that encourages new Twitter followers to Tweet at their friends “I’m now following X brand” Triggers a social alert as a form of endorsement Better than the above, it may not have a followup or call to action
4) Brand experience is integrated in social channels Extending the brand to social channels, so the corporate experience is somewhat mirrored on social channels Regardless of wherever users go, they are still experiencing the brand Social channels sometimes serve better as a conversational area –not for traditional branding campaigns
5) Aggregating the discussion on your site Aggregating select conversations from Tweets like the skittles homepage did, top discussions in communities or blogs, see Disqus and Echo. Centralizes the discussion on your site, making it a resource to first look at. Low cost content Lack of control over which content can be created, still links off site
6) Social login systems that allow users to stay on site Using FB connect, or Twitter connect allow users to use their existing logins to access site, see how JanRain and Gigya (client) helps May increase sign ups, widening marketing funnel, chances are content is more accurate than a sign up form May not have access to email addresses, as users passthrough using social logins.
7) Social login systems that allow users to stay on site, but triggers viral loop In addition to the above, there’s an actual social or interactive experience on the corporate site that triggers them to share with their friends Users stay on site, interact with brand or peers, yet recruit other members in social networks Requires planning, a campaign, and extensive resources.
8. Complete integration between corporate site and social sites Other than URLs there’s no difference between a corporate site and a social site, the experiences are seamless Customers, prospects, and employees mix together, churning on new members and viral activity It doesn’t exist, yet.

Be Deliberate: Use This Roadmap For Your Web Strategy
Use this guide to map your current situation and where you plan to go, copy and paste the framework into your corporate planning deck, and identify where your assets are now.  Get actionable by taking these three steps:

  • Take inventory of current corporate website assets. Social strategists must determine what level of sophistication they are at now, and document in their project plans.  Take inventory of all corporate web assets and tag with this framework.
  • Identify what the desired state is, and then build a plan against it. Note that the further you go down in sophistication, the more resources and stakeholder buyin are needed.  Start small and slow, and be sure to have a strategy.
  • Don’t arbitrarily jump into the to social marketing space without measurable KPIs. Be deliberate in your actions.  Indicate on paper what the measurable goals are and how they’ll tie back to business metrics:  Increase brand awareness, increase leads, increase site conversion.

Once you’re ready to get actionable, and are ready to integrate the technologies, see this important matrix of Roadmap: Make Your Corporate Websites Relevant by Integrating Facebook, Google, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Twitter.