SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. Last week’s poll question: Does one particular platform serve as a hub for all your company’s social media efforts?

  • Our platforms are linked, but no one platform is most important — 35.36%
  • Facebook is our hub — 27.07%
  • We don’t use social media — 14.36%
  • All our content revolves around our blog — 7.18%
  • All our platforms are completely independent of each other — 6.08%
  • Twitter is our primary channel — 4.97%
  • Another social platform is central to all our social efforts — 4.42%
  • Video is the heart of everything we do — 0.55%

Grouping this data a bit, the poll presents four approaches to the use of social media platforms, they are:

  • An integrated approach; no one platform is most important.
  • Using a single platform as your primary platform.
  • All social platforms are independent of each other.
  • We don’t have an approach, i.e. we don’t use social media.

Based on these results, it appears that again the data is showing us that most companies remain in the experimental phase of social media. I draw this conclusion based on the fact that there is no overwhelming majority for any of these approaches. There are pros and cons to each, yet a set of best practices has not emerged.

The Four Approaches

Approach 1: An integrated approach, no one platform is most important

Benefits

  • Ensures the message of the corporate experience is identical on all channels.
  • Content can be shared across multiple platforms.
  • Provides multiple opportunities across channels to interact with customers.

Challenges

  • Keeping all social media team members in sync with the message.
  • Without a primary focus, no platform may get the appropriate amount of resources to make it successful.
  • What works in one platform may not work in another.

Approach 2: Using a single platform as your primary platform

Benefits

  • A primary focus makes it easier to learn how your customers use the platform and direct them to your call to action.
  • It leads to developing an expertise in the use of the platform.

Challenge

  • Can lead to missed opportunities to interact with customers or prospects on the other social platforms.

Approach 3: All social platforms are independent of each other

Benefits

  • Most social platforms have a specific use. Creating an independent-approach based on the use of the platform makes creating connections easier.
  • Dedicating resources to specific channels helps with individual knowledge building.

Challenges

  • Developing plans, tracking and deploying multiple social platform approaches consumes a lot of resources.
  • Keeping team members informed of the rules of engagement for each platform.

Approach 4: We don’t have an approach, i.e. we don’t use social media

Benefit

  • If your customers aren’t using social media there is no reason you should be.

Challenge

  • Missed opportunity. If you are not using social media, how do you know your customers aren’t?
  • Missed opportunity. If you had a blog, it is fair to say that your customers and prospects would definitely read it. (And that speaks nothing of the potential SEO benefits.)

Regardless of opinion, one thing remains true; there is no single effective approach to social media that is emerging. As we see from this data, some of us aren’t even using it yet. When doing so though, there are a multitude of factors that must be taken into account and your approach should ultimately be based on what is right for your customers, your industry and your company (in that order).

Finally, what isn’t this data telling us (because we didn’t ask)? The role your corporate website is playing. Hence this week’s question: What role is your corporate website playing in your social media efforts?

Today’s poll analysis post was written by Jeremy Victor, the editor-in-chief of B2Bbloggers.com.

Source: SmartBlog

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