Why Social Media?
I am a social media enthusiast – it’s in my blood. In what other field do I get to combine my love of people and technology so well as that of social media?
The concept of social media is as old as the web itself, when chatrooms and forums were the main methods of social interaction online. What has changed are the methods and channels used, commonly referred to as new, or social, media. Since the fledgling days of MySpace, IRC and Friendster, the web has grown increasingly more social, which has lead to all kinds of tools built to enhance human relationships. And social media marketing, my specialty, simply takes advantage of this new social awareness.
When is social media marketing most effective?
When you have a solid strategy and a practical action plan focused on realistic business goals and achievable marketing initiatives. Social media should help grow, support and enhance your other marketing efforts, not replace them. Integrating social media into your marketing strategy can help you build your brand, gain new customers and increase the loyalty of those who already exist.
Never, ever start without a plan – haphazard social media is ridiculously ineffective.
What should a social media marketing plan include?
- Like a traditional marketing plan, this should include a SWOT analysis, on-site and off-site goals and initiatives, benchmarks, competitive analysis, action plan and more.
It should define:
- Who will be executing your strategy (e.g., you, your employees, independent contractors)
- What tools you should be using to track, measure, analyze and manage your strategy (e.g., Radian6, Google or Omniture analytics, Hootsuite)
- Which social networks you should and shouldn’t focus on (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- How to enter and build relationships in your chosen social networks naturally
- How you should build out your social profiles (e.g., your message, content, profile photo)
- What kinds of badges, graphics and other calls-to-action you need to incorporate (e.g., badges on your website to your social profiles, Facebook splash page)
- What related tools you should add to your website (e.g., blog, widgets)
- How to listen (e.g., monitor communities, track mentions of you and your competitors)
- And more…