Jeremiah Owyang discusses how social media strategy evolves for corporate sites. Visitors must be engaged with content and given the means to share, all while remaining on the site.
Corporate social integrator Janrain and social analytics platform Badgeville held a webinar today concerned with corporate social media behaviors and needs. Companies need a plan for integrating social media into Web strategy, so they don't just run to Facebook with hard-earned traffic and give it to Mark Zuckerberg. During his talk, Web strategist Jeremiah Owyang explains his "Evolution of the Social Corporate Website." This frames the typical path that businesses follow when entering the social media scene, and beyond.
After step zero, "No Integration," the first step is Social Linking, which Owyang recommends skipping. Social Linking just means buttons on the corporate site which wick traffic away to the social networking site, giving away visitors and engagement. MTV does this with a little "Follow us" window in the corner.
Social aggregation is where strategy should start, with feeds or aggregators strategically placed in the site to retain visotrs and engagement, while still drawing them into the conversation. Windows 7 devotes an entire page to mentions of the Microsoft product, good and bad, while HuffPo integrates subject-specific tweets into the page so readers can engage with content and commentary simultaneously. Owyang considers social sign on for contextual aggregation - using Facebook, Twitter credentials on another site.
Step 3 - Social Publishing - visitors can passively or actively share from the site. An observed trend - content hidden until a viewer clicks the "Like" button. Many sites allow viewers to share to multiple social networks directly from the site.
Social Context, the next step, includes social content and social/contextual content. Going beyond demographic studies, this move would give visitors personalized experiences that is more closely aligned to actual behaviors. Social content would be from a profile, and from their contacts. HuffPo leverages Facebook Connect to see what friends share - visitors can have a personalized experience on anyone's Web site with social context.
Seamless Integration, a hypothetical system, will incorporate social content to a degree that renders it indistinguishable from the larger Web.