We just finished a presentation for some of the nation’s top pharmaceutical companies on how they can change the way they communicate their brand messages to doctors and other healthcare professionals. The core tenet of our argument is that they need to move away from their traditional one way communications and “hand selling” approach to a more interactive and immersive marketing mix that utilizes all the various tools available to them (e.g blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail newsletters, etc.).
We try to practice what we preach in our own marketing efforts. But as these (relatively new) applications evolve, we’re starting to see that effectively communicating in each channel requires greater allocations of time and resources. There are numerous content agregators out there that allow users to display all their social media feeds in a single dashboard (ZooLoo is the latest but everything from FriendFeed to SuperGlu offers some form of this functionality). And it’s easy to fall in to using one of these tools to try and capture a high level look at the overall conversation regarding your brand.
Ultimately, though, social media is about forming a personal connection with users. We post through our Twitterfeed to LinkedIn and it’s quite useful for keeping our more conservative clients up to date on project updates, company news, etc.). But it’s probably not the best place for us to be talking about TV shows we watched last night or the current state of the weather in New York. However, Facebook is a perfect place for that (but not a great place for posts about new developments in Augmented Reality or Cloud Computing). What we really need is an application that allows us to tag a tweet and decide where it is going to be reposted. Given the rate of development of Twitter apps, someone should come up with something like that next week.
Of course, that still leaves the issue of where we are going to put up our photos of corporate events, cool videos and other creative output from our talented team. We’ve got our Flickr page to host some of this content and Facebook is a natural for it. But videos should probably also go up on YouTube and Vimeo as well. See how the job just keeps expanding? If a whitepaper I read this morning (“The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications”) is correct Customer Service and Lead Generation will become the leading uses for Social Media in the near future. And that will require even morte time and resource dedication on the part of companies everywhere.
What’s the key learning we’re pulling out of all this? That social media and digital communication cannot be lumped in to one category as many people (especially journalists) are currently trying to do. As they continue to evolve, Twitter, Facebook et al may become categories as distinctive as television, radio and print. And we’ll have to tailor our marketing strategies accordingly.
How is your company handling it’s digital communications strategy? What tricks or tools do you use to optimize your presence online?