Developing the case for social integration

Social integration

Earlier this year Jeremiah Owyang presented a webinar (in association with Janrain and Badgville) on ‘How to Integrate Social into your Website‘. The webinar, based on research by the Altimeter Group, introduced a roadmap for social integration and explained how websites evolve as part of an iterative process.

In the webinar Jeremiah stresses the importance for companies to have a clear strategy for using social media as part of their digital marketing efforts. Far too often companies are being caught up in the social media ‘craze’ and creating multiple social media outposts without considering the need to provide a clear and engaging online experience for their customers.

A two-pronged approach to social networks

A key aspect of the research that resonated with me was the concept of of developing a two-pronged approach to social networks (see image above): the practice of producing content for multiple social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs) but aggregating this on the corporate website. This allows for a company to engage with customers in multiple social spaces whilst simultaneously presenting a collection of these conversations on their online property, i.e. their website.

Over the past 10-15 years a lot of investment has been put into corporate websites and this aspect of social integration minimises the effect of sending hard-eraned traffic and content away and instead looks to keep users engaged on the corporate website where companies have a greater opportunity dictating the customer experience and driving them to a point of conversion.

Creating trusted discussions

People trust their peers and this is a key reason why companies and brands are going to social networks such as Facebook. Trusted discussions among communities are taking place and companies understandably want to leverage this earned media.

Having designed, developed and cultivated an online user experience using the corporate website it is therefore potentially problematic to be sending people away to an external social site that you have either limited or no control over. Social sites and the corporate website should therefore be used in tandem to create a truly integrated social experience.

Case study: H&M

H&M have developed a ‘Social Media Room‘ that integrates social discussions in one key location within the corporate website.

H&M Social Media Room

The H&M Social Media room allows users to read, engage and interact with content within an H&M ‘zone’. What I like about this example is that users can filter the content based on the social networks they want to see content from.

What are your views and thoughts on social integration? Do you have any interesting examples and case studies to share?