With the degree to which many companies drank the proverbial social media Kool-Aid last year, it’s no wonder that a slew of organizations are feeling a hangover effect in 2010. Many firms are beginning to realize that all the time and money they spent devising and implementing such an approach has not only failed to produce measurable results, but also damaged their brand equity in the process.
That’s not to say that Twitter, Facebook and other like platforms will die in similar fashion. What will change is the ways in which they’re used. These platforms can still be valuable components to a company’s comprehensive marketing strategy, but organizations need to get smarter about how to leverage them in order to reclaim the conversation and draw attention back to their own domains.
The solution could be the social media equivalent to the hub and spoke method many airlines use in their operations. A company’s primary domain should always be considered the hub for social media. Most conversations should be drawn back to central areas through hyperlinks and recommendations by the originator. In doing so, customers and prospects are funneled to more detailed information and content that can help them take action, thereby increasing the potential for more conversions and sales.
But it doesn’t end there. The most successful examples are seen when social media channels are fully integrated into a brand’s site, allowing users to engage and share without leaving. This isn’t to suggest that companies should try to create their own social networks. Rather, give existing social media users access to the functionality they find on Twitter or Facebook.
One such example of this type of integration can be seen at Threadless, which offers a line of tweet-emblazoned T-shirts that visitors can vote on or even nominate via Twitter for cash prizes. A successful social media strategy requires a component that will transform followers into return visitors to your primary site.