Most marketers agree Facebook is a great place to engage with customers and get your message out. But, as we describe in our recent Social Business Blueprints, Facebook can also be a rich business and marketing platform that can make your product and marketing programs more relevant, efficient and effective.
In the Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Facebook, 71% of marketers surveyed believe that companies can gain a competitive advantage by leveraging social media, yet only 41% of said they have fully integrated social media throughout the company and only 33% said they had a long-term strategy for becoming a social business.
Before we could help bridge the gap, we realized we needed to make a distinction between thinking of social exclusively as a communications channel—which might be owned solely by corporate communications or marketing—versus social as a marketing and business platform, with implications for all customer-facing departments. Here are the key differences we identified:
Social as a communications channel:
- Social media: Using social networking as a channel to distribute brand messages and motivate people to engage with and share them
Social as a marketing and business platform:
- Social marketing: Incorporating social media and technology into the heart of planning your marketing strategy and delivering the brand experience
- Social business: A company that uses social media and social technology to improve core businesses processes like product development, market research, customer service, retail and merchandising
With these definitions in mind, we encourage you to create your social strategy. The first question you will have to answer is: Do I have the basics right to build a connected brand? This will require you to know your social identity, get your customers to connect with you, get good at engaging with them and understand how to leverage those engagements to drive influence. You can read more on these steps in the Brand Building Blueprint.
Once you have a plan for getting the basics right, we encourage you to ask yourself how social can be a competitive advantage and how you can start using social as a marketing and business platform throughout your initiatives. To learn more about how social can influence your entire organization and improve your business, please read the Organization Blueprint.