The Digital Path to Social Media Success


How social media is being integrated with the whole of digital marketing is one of the greatest momentums we’re now witnessing as marketers.

A great example of this can be seen in Jermiah Owyang’s presentation with Larry Drebes, unveiling recent research that demonstrates the desire and importance of marketers making their websites and social networks work together harmoniously.

Some of these concepts are still in their infancy, so we can all appreciate how Owyang openly refers to “new practices” instead of “best practices.” With this in mind, I’m sharing a model I hope will prove helpful to your own approach to social/digital marketing.

Don’t sweat being unable read the small type in the infographic above, as the core elements to each (zoomed in) section are outlined within the body of this post.

1. Business Intelligence


This part of the path encompasses internal and external data collection that should be leveraged to guide your strategy and shape your ideas.

Practically, this begins with a combination of consumer research, web analytics, and social media monitoring/research. The goal is to interpret the data to uncover what’s working and what’s trending. This is where you can begin to identify opportunities backed by more than just your good ideas.

We consider the “brand filter” as a means of keeping ideas true to the DNA or character of your brand – and this may also include considerations with respect to your resources, history, and customer expectations.

2. Content Creation and Curation


Content is kin_. Sorry, that’s me trying to add a little more interest to a statement overly used but completely true. You know the drill.

There’s some natural redundancy here, but this approach to content for digital marketing comes in four flavors:

  1. Useful Content: You’ll want to consider and plan for content that is: 
    • Easy for people to share. 
    • Data-driven. 
    • Can extend to multiple networks and platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, mobile, etc.).
    • Always links to the brand’s position and conviction statements.
  2. Content Types: This addresses what the content does and where it comes from: 
    • Building trust: Reviews, testimonials, case studies, personal insights, social proofs.
    • Education: Survey data, presentations, infographics, video scribes, FAQs, white papers, how-to’s.
    • Conversion: Promotional offerings, sales and advertising copy.
    • Other People’s Content: User-generated content (UGC), community discussions, republished, shared.
  3. Short-Term vs. Long-Term: This addresses intentionality and shelf life: 
    • Brand / Conviction Focused: “Evergreen” content that can be repurposed.
    • Supporting Themes: Content with the propensity to attract broad audiences.
    • Campaign Focused: Content used to drive specific interactions.
  4. “Psychological Sharing Motivations”: This addresses what inspires people to share: 
    • Emotion: The feeling the content has created.
    • Information: Content that is new and/or highly interesting. 
    • Self Expression: Content that exemplifies our personality to friends.

3. Activation and Acquisition


This part of the path addresses the digital extension of offline efforts as well as online assets and methodologies to initiate measurable action.

Again, there is natural overlap – but whether your company is seeking to develop short-term marketing campaigns or over-arching customer relationship management (CRM) efforts, the objective is to get the following elements working together:

  • PR: Integration of media and influencer relations that drive awareness.
  • Email: Messaging, segmentation, and lead nurturing. 
  • Paid Media: Digital, print, and broadcast. 
  • Partnerships: Leveraging the established presence and work of others. 
  • Owned Media: Brand pages, mobile, web, social applications, and private communities. 
  • Search Visibility: Organic and social search optimization.

4. Engagement


This area of the path is what should ultimately feed back into your business intelligence. As Coca-Cola’s marketing team has taught us, “expressions trump impressions.”

The reality with social: this is often where companies mistakenly focus first. They’ll see some application eye candy on Facebook, lay some cash out for their own branded version of it, then start backing in supporting content and considerations around what might be more relevant as the magic campaign launch date approaches.

Final Thoughts

Like any model, it’s easy to identify what’s missing. I can think of many other elements that could be relevant – while also acknowledging potential points of confusion with respect to platforms, descriptions, the linear order of execution, etc.

Have at it friends! Would love to get your take, or suggestions on how this model could be more useful.

Related reading

social media_does it affect seo
Social listening 101 Six crucial keywords to track
eight social media trends 2019
seven best tools to find influencers on social media