by Navjot Grewal
Today we hear a lot about Integrated Marketing Communications, but what does it mean for PR professionals in the age of social media? Keith Quesenberry shared useful advice on how to integrate social media in communications at the PRSSA 2013 National Conference in Philadelphia.
Quesenberry, a lecturer in the Center for Leadership Education at the Johns Hopkins University and instructor at the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Graduate Program at West Virginia University, said that traditional IMC that delivers consistent messages through “consumer touch points” (anything that reaches the consumer) does not work today in the age of Web 2.0 Organizations should start interacting with social media consumers who trust each other more than the businesses, Quesenberry said. He outlined five steps to include social media integration into business communication:
1. Integrate Social Media through Research
Social media can be used to monitor and understand what is being said about you and your competitors. Using various free and paid services like Google Analytics and HubSpot can do this.
2. Integrate Social Media through Crowd Sourcing
You can do big tasks by getting your consumers involved. Crowd Sourcing helps capture ideas, engage consumers and discover what ideas work.
3. Integrate Social Media through Branded Content
Give valuable content to your consumers through social media. Best Buy developedTWELPFORCE, a 24/7 expert technical helpline from employees, which reduced consumer complaints by 20 percent in its first year. Set social media guidelines and let your employees speak for you.
4. Integrate Social Media through Customer Evangelism
Find mass connectors and mass mavens, and reach out to them. Identify your customer evangelist network.
5. Integrate Social Media through Customer Service
Fill the communication gap between you and the consumer by responding to them on social media. However, Quesenberry advises to take the consumer offline in the case of addressing complaints once the conversation has been initiated.