All Articles Marketing Will 2011 be the year we achieve social-media integration?

Will 2011 be the year we achieve social-media integration?

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This post is written by Mirna Bard, a blogger, speaker and consultant. She serves as the social-media chairwoman of the Orange County (Calif.) chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and she teaches social media at the University of California at Irvine.

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: What changes are you making to help achieve your 2011 social-media goals?

  • Integrating more with other business strategies 43.33%
  • Not making any changes 13.33%
  • Hiring someone or building a team to handle social-media efforts 13.33%
  • Taking a less tactical and more long-term strategic approach 11.11%
  • Adding more social-media channels to the strategy 10.00%
  • Working more on metrics and ROI 8.89%

While 2010 was the year social media became conventional channels for business, 2011 will be the year these businesses leave the adoption stage behind and take a considerable look at creating more balance by integrating social media into all facets of their business — including reputation management, global marketing and internal communication.

It’s very impressive to see that more than 86% of poll participants will be making changes to their social-media strategies next year. Half of them say integration is the primary change that will take place. While we did see some integration by early adopters in 2010, I’ve been waiting for the moment when more companies realize that social media are not just stand-alone replacements for traditional marketing — nor are they only for the marketing department, but also for customer service, human resources, research and more. Social media are meant to serve as an addition to what a business already does to reach its goals, and 2011 is as fine a time as any to start the process of tying it all together.

The big question is “What types of integration will companies be taking on?” I know it may come as a surprise to some, but there are many types of social-media applications besides the ones we most commonly see and hear about online. For maximum leverage and success, businesses currently have to consider integration of multiple social-media platforms, content-marketing integration, website integration, analytics and enterprise integration, such as CRM and business intelligence tools, commerce integration, department and staff integration as well as many more.

Are you going beyond marketing integration in 2011? How will you be integrating social media into your business strategies?