Social Media Marketing: Getting in the Game, Part 1
The hard fact is, social media, like any other marketing program — email, pay per click, affiliates, etc. — is less about luck and instant success, and much more about common sense, patience and hard work.
Strategy Succeeds, Tactics Fail
Strategy is putting together a comprehensive plan for approaching social media, with reasonable goals and realistic expectations. Tactics are deciding on a whim to put up a Facebook fan page, or set up a Twitter account and tweet once, or launch a blog and never update the content.
Using social media as part of your marketing strategy — and making money as a result — involves a two-step process:
* (Corporate) self awareness: Do you fully understand your target customers and what products or services have the broadest appeal? Before adding social media to your marketing mix, do you need to refresh your overall marketing plan?
* Social media planning: This takes an organized, analytical approach, and it lays the groundwork necessary to do social media right, the first time. Follow these eight steps:
- Understand the social media landscape: Do your homework on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, location-based social networks and more.
- Determine which sites your customers spend their time on. See if there are any communities that would relate to your products or philosophy.
- Practice reputation management and see what your customers are saying about you.
- Identify problems or opportunities where an active social media conversation could be effective.
- Review your business plan and objectively consider where social media fits into your brand awareness and sales objectives.
- Ask yourself: Do you have the resources — internal and external — to execute a social media strategy?
- After all of this analysis, if social media appears to be a proper fit, set about writing your plan with time lines and tactics.
- Realize that social media is a cumulative process. One tweet or YouTube video doesn’t cut it; plan for a steady flow of activities.