social media researchSocial media integration is becoming a big buzzword this year.  As social media marketing matures and starts playing a bigger role within marketing campaigns, businesses are beginning to see that social media can be integrated into many channels.

Here are two current studies that show how the integration of social media marketing is changing the way marketers connect and engage with their audiences—online and offline.

#1:  Marketers Ditch Silo Campaigns and Report Social Media as “Critical for Success” (Alterian)

As digital and social media marketing mature, the demand for greater integration is evident. Marketers are quickly realizing that operating in a one-way marketing tunnel makes success impossible in this social media–saturated world.

Listening first and then communicating and engaging have become “musts” for any successful social media campaign. Results of a 2009 survey by Alterian indicate that social media is becoming an integral part of most companies’ marketing campaigns:

  • 50%+ direct at least “a fair amount” of effort toward integrating social media marketing into their overall strategy
  • 66% will be investing in social media marketing in 2010
  • 40% of the 66% plan to shift more than a fifth of their traditional direct marketing budget toward funding their social media marketing activities

eMarketer’s report on the findings of the Alterian study pointed out, “[Social Media] is yet another channel to be incorporated into an integrated communication strategy, rather than addressed on its own. And it can provide unique insights into the consumers who can now use earned media to build brands alongside marketers.”

As with earlier reports in 2009, marketers still feel a need for education and training with social media, as more than one-third reported only being “minimally prepared.”  The good news is 37% planned to invest in training in this area.  In addition to training, the survey also found that 36% are investing in social media monitoring and analysis tools.

It will be interesting to see how marketers begin to use not only Facebook and Twitter to reach their audiences, but also start to take even greater advantage of podcasting, message boards, forums, video sharing and the many other social media tools consumers are using today.

#2:  Online Forum Users Transcend Online and Offline Worlds, Becoming Influential Brand Advocates (Synovate/PostRelease)

Word-of-mouth has always been vital in building loyal customers. Friends—whether online or offline—and family are trusted sources when making purchasing decisions. As mentioned in my previous article, a recent study from PostRelease showed how online forum users are enthusiastic brand advocates and are taking their online activities to the streets, telling others about products and services they recommend. Not only are they recommending brands to their family and friends, they are also more likely to publish blogs and organize meet-ups, compared to non-forum users.

The PostRelease study focuses on consumer’s organization offline. Consumers are merging their online and offline influences, and this could be a huge opportunity for any savvy marketer who sees these new possibilities.

Marketers are becoming acutely aware of the need to integrate new media activities into their existing marketing plans and consumers are demanding greater social media engagement from the brands they follow most.  This could be a win-win situation if carried out strategically.

Now it’s your turn.  How have you seen the growing integration of social media marketing change your company’s marketing strategy? As social media matures, what are some ways you see this integration taking shape? We want to hear from you, so start talking!

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  • We actually had a hugely successful campaign for a client last year that integrated social media with direct mail and email marketing. It was right around the time social media marketing really started to come into the picture as a serious marketing tactic and even though it was new, the campaign was extremely well-received. Now our company is in the process of integrating social media into our internal marketing efforts through direct mail, email, and other online marketing tactics. We are working proactively to keep everything connected and it’s a lot of work but I think the pay-off will be worth it! Here is a link the case study highlighting our campaign for our client last year if you want to check out exactly how we integrated all the channels

  • KTV

    Hi Amy,

    During our marketing planning sessions Social Media was actually the area we discussed the most…probably because its so new and its the first time were really getting involved with it. My initial thoughts are its relatively inexpensive but very time consuming…so we are toying with the idea of bringing some one on to handle our SM activity.

    Were also looking at implementing a social media hub ( What I like about this approach is it pulls in all relative content from the get go so there would be less work on our side to populate our youtube channel, flickr, etc…and going forward the user should quickly become the content creator allowing us to take more of a manager and observer role. Plus I like the idea of only having to drive people to one site (the hub) versus each sm platform (were starting a blog, facebook fan page, twitter feed, podcast, youtube channel and Flikr)

    What do you think…should we bring someone on board to manage our SM campaigns or can we handle this ourselves(we have a team of 3)? Is the social media hub a good idea?

  • This is another development for social media. Social media continues to mature as a valuable tool for business. It has indeed continued to revolutionize as a valuable vehicle in the internet superhighway. I greatly appreciate this article. Thanks!

  • Kim

    Great post Amy and totally on spot. I am now seeing Boards and Exec councils now asking for ‘something that works like the results Obama got during his campaign’ and the integration of all things marketing, on and offline, social media, etc. is going to take a dedicated focus.

  • I am not too sure about forums. I know their POTENTIAL capacities to be brand advocates, but I find it very hard to find forums where participants are genuinely interested in collaboration and discussion rather than promoting their own businesses.


  • Guest

    Thanks for great post!
    Imagine online business world a few years ago without expansion of social media sites. Certainly it was more difficult to start online business and to promote what you have to say.
    Today, things look much different!
    As an example I’ll take myself! I’m currently writing a comment on the excellent blog post that I can send to twitter, friendfeed, digg, stumbleupon, you name it. And other people can do the same and generate a large amount of backlinks to this blog post. From that moment everything becomes viral.
    It is a huge opportunity, but a precondition of the whole story is how much value we give to others.

  • I love the idea of listening before speaking. It has become common place for everyone to speak before they listen. Everyone wants everyone to listen to them, but they never take the time to listen. Social media is a great tool, but you have to use it a mutual respect format. I like your post and am actually new to this page. Great layout. I’ll definitely be back.

    -Eric Saylor

  • Hi Amy.

    Great roundup. This makes a lot of sense. If you look at larger companies, they still have a many silos. Each of those silos are compensated for their particular task – say DM response rates, or email open rates, but they are rarely compensated for their impact to the overall business. As more senior execs at these large companies shift the comp plans to a more holistic approach, you will see a lot more of this integration.

    Similar to the above, many companies have a really hard time attributing their sales to various media channels. For example – TV is still the number one driver of search traffic today. But mass mediums like TV are not necessary responsible for a sale. It is the combination of the TV add, a direct mail piece, some email, etc.– each having a weight toward the purchase. The tools are available now for marketers to begin to measure the attribution social media has in that equation, so execs are more likely to integrate their efforts. Fun stuff.

    Have a great weekend!

  • socialrevo

    Hi Amy,
    Great post. I strongly believe that social media is important for businesses today. It provides opportunities for people that they never used to have. Business can advertise more efficiently and sell at a much faster rate and clients can receive more relevant and personal information. Social media is a true sign of the times and will grow at the pace of technology. I work for a small advertising agency that relies largely on social media. The success we’ve had is due to our ability to constantly provide relevant information to the client. I’m not saying that other methods do not work, I’m simply saying social media seems to be the way to go. . I look forward to reading your next post, thanks!

  • it is so good and i wil be back to read it greqat.

  • I believe social media would ad strength to any marketing platform. Integrating it into what a company is already doing can only be a positive. I was just reading some success stories starting with Twitter, a cupcake company “Foiled” and “The Roxy” a club in Los Angeles, CA that have been utilizing social media to connect with a grown their consumer base. It’s out there, more and more people are using it and I don’t think it’s going away. Thanks for sharing and I love the graphics and layout of your blog, I’ll be back.

  • Some great stats here. I just want to alert everyone of a great conference on this topic in Atlanta on October 22-23 featuring big names like Olivier Blanchard, Shiv Singh, and Marla Erwin. Check out for more info.

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