How to create winning social media strategies in a multichannel environment

By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

Ferrier Pearce Creative Group

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March 5, 2013 | 5 min read

The Drum catches up with a selection of industry experts to ask their views on some of the big issues affecting the social media sector. Here, agencies discuss how social media strategies can meet the multichannel challenge.

What's the biggest challenge for brands' social media strategies in a multichannel environment?

Jan Rezeb, CEO, Socialbakers We saw 2012 as the year when companies set up presence and started to focus on two-way communication. We believe that in 2013 the focus will be on measuring quality of relationships, competitive intelligence and the consistency of data. Perhaps the most important development will be measuring the velocity of positive and negative remarks. Brands are starting to move towards democratisation as they accept that public opinion matters and they are no longer in control of the majority of information released about their company.

Steve Richards, managing director, Yomego Segmenting the messaging while joining up the ROI. Messaging needs to be optimised for different social platforms, let alone different marketing channels. The way you interact with customers on Twitter versus Pinterest won’t be the same – one size doesn’t fit all. Success will come back to the sort of best practice for one-to-one marketing that predates social media – it’s about having joined up systems and databases underpinning everything. Better targeting and a more sophisticated single customer view will help to minimise wastage in marketing budgets.

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Neil Higton, senior account director, Essence Often the biggest challenge is making sure that a brand’s social media strategy is not the last consideration in a multichannel marketing plan. In the past it has been quite common for brands to add social media as an ‘afterthought,’ which can be quite restrictive, especially when developing campaigns with specific social objectives and goals. Brands that have organisational structures that allow their departments to operate in silos can also enhance this problem, preventing a truly integrated approach.

Nigel Ferrier, executive chairman, Ferrier Pearce Creative Group The question of resource and the threat of missed opportunities if the message becomes diluted across a number of different channels through the lack of resource is the biggest challenge that is faced across all industries using social media.

Jim Coleman, managing partner, We Are Social When operating across multiple channels, the biggest challenge is to make sure all work together equally rather than any one area dominating. If social media is an afterthought in a campaign, it can appear forced and disconnected. And after all, social is where we see some of the most – if not the most – visible marketing mistakes. Brands should make sure all channels are considered and planned for right from the initial conception of the campaign. The biggest challenge lies with clients ensuring the balance of these disciplines is right.

Freddie Young, community director, 1000heads In a space full of brands talking for the sake of talking, and with new social platforms emerging on a weekly basis, the biggest challenge for brands is to decide where and how they can add the most value for both their audience and their business. No brand can be everywhere or do everything: the key is to decide what will make the most difference with the resources you have available, and then implement the resultant strategy rigorously.

Ben Hatton, managing director, Rippleffect Brands now have such a big online presence and there is sometimes a panic in the need to be everywhere for everyone. This isn’t the case. Brands only need to be where their audience are, and more importantly where their audience are willing to engage with them. There must be a strong strategy for each individual channel and brands shouldn’t jump on to newer channels such as Google+ and Instagram without a clear strategy and plan for what they want to achieve.

Smartphone/tablet image via Shutterstock

This piece is part of The Drum's social supplement, published in partnership with Yomego.

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