On the 27th October 2016 we learnt that Twitter was shutting down Vine. As soon as the news was announced, the world of social media erupted with fond farewells: #RIPVine.
We know that Vine was certainly well loved. For those who don’t know Vine, its concept is simple – it’s a community where users can share six-second videos. This article in the Guardian gives a bit of insight into the genuine value many have found in the platform and how it has spurred the careers of a few into fantastic new directions.
Twitter’s decision to shut down the app has certainly come as a shock to some whereas others considered it inevitable. Regardless, the reaction of a few got us thinking about the importance of not putting all your eggs in one basket, or into one social media channel as it were.
The importance of integration
Many have thanked Vine for giving them growth on other social media platforms and providing them with a great starting point. Others, however, are desperate to cling onto their Vine following. They have recognised that they haven’t built up the same level of popularity elsewhere and, given the recent news, are calling fans to head over to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
With many almost clambering to make sure they don’t lose followers as well as their favourite video-sharing app, there’s a lesson that can be learnt for brands…
Always integrate your marketing
It’s hugely important not to solely rely on one social media platform, or one marketing channel. Many brands learnt that lesson after focussing their social media marketing only on organic Facebook activity – it came as a huge shock when, over a period of time, Facebook algorithm updates meant organic reach rapidly declined.
Ultimately, the decisions of the likes of Facebook and Twitter are out of brands’ control. It’s important that you protect your marketing activity and ensure you can still communicate with your prospective and current customers regardless of algorithm changes or decisions to close a social media platform all together.
What is integrated marketing?
When we say integrate your marketing, we mean managing a number of different marketing channels to reach your target audience at different stages of their journey with you – whether that’s simply at the speculative stage or later on as they make a purchase decision.
Importantly, however, those channels must work together – they must complement each other and help nurture your prospective customer to a point where they are ready to buy and to, hopefully, go on to be loyal to your brand.
The channels you integrate can be anything from social media to email marketing, PR to advertising, direct mail to search engine marketing.
You don’t want to be wondering ‘what on earth do I do now?’ if one of those channels was suddenly inaccessible to you – as perhaps, some Vine stars are wondering right now. By integrating your marketing you’ll always have another effective way of reaching your audience.
How can you integrate your marketing?
So we understand the importance of integrating your marketing but how can you put it into action? Here are our top four tips:
1. Choose a variety of channels that are right for your brand
Although it’s important to choose a variety of channels to avoid an ‘all eggs in one basket’ scenario, make sure the channels you do choose are still relevant and right for your business.
Go back to square one and understand your target audience. Then ask, what marketing channels could reach that audience or audiences effectively whilst staying on brand?
2. Consider each stage of your customer’s journey
Look at the journey your customers take to arrive at a purchase decision and then decide which marketing channels would be best suited to reach them at each stage of that journey. Then bring these channels together so they seamlessly, at least in practice, bring the customer through to a purchase decision.
For example, an individual may start their journey unaware of your product or service but they may have a problem that your product or service could solve. This individual may use Google to search for a solution to their problem and your blog or other website content may appear in the search results and offer an answer. Within this blog you may guide them to join you on social media for further updates or information – nurturing the individual into a brand awareness stage.
You may then use retargeting advertising to keep your brand at the forefront of their mind. The journey will continue, with different marketing channels playing a different role in encouraging that individual to become your customer.
3. Always provide alternative ways to connect with your brand
Whichever channels you choose, always give your audience other ways to connect with you. For example, include links to your social media profiles in your email marketing, direct people to your website in your advertising and share your PR coverage on social media.
4. Integrate your outsourced marketing
Last, but not least, look closely at how well your outsourced marketing services integrate with each other. Do you use separate PR and digital marketing agencies? Are they aware of the work each one does and will they encourage your audience to connect with you via different platforms? Have a read of our blog too on the benefits of using an integrated agency.
All in all, integrated marketing allows you to distribute your content and communicate with your audience in ways that are of value to them. It helps you to stay at the forefront of potential customer’s minds when it matters most and reinforce the value you can offer them – it’s a benefit for your prospective customers too.
Yet, it’s a benefit for you too. It will help to future proof your marketing from unexpected twists and turns – it will make sure you don’t rely on just one channel, Vine or not, to communicate with your audience.