Every day, I read an article by a new social media expert offering up a social media plan. I hate being left out, so I decided to give you my two cents on this subject. Of course, my two cents may seem somewhat familiar as many of the articles I’ve read propose either similar sound ideas or just common sense. So, as I’ve sifted through them and weighed the options, here are my conclusions. The Audacious Ink Quick and Clean Six Components of a Successful Social Media Strategy:
- Do your research. Sure, Social Media sounds fun, but once you wade in that pool, it’s a long way to the other side–and in cyberspace, no one can hear you scream. Well, unless you write in ALL CAPS. When I first started in the diamond industry, six years or so ago, we had to fax and snail mail a lot of our correspondence to clients and prospects because they didn’t have an email address. While I’m happy to report that more of them are using email, many still don’t have it. If they don’t have email, do you think they give a twit about Twitter? No. Speak to your clients. If Social Media is not for them, remember, the role of marketing is to not create a niche, but to fill one.
- Define your objectives. Do you want to close more sales? Social Media is a brand building tool first and foremost. Please, no emails, I do not care what anyone says. It can maybe help close deals a little, and it is effective in generating leads. The Social Media Marketing Industry Report for 2009 reports that of those surveyed, more than 50% reported that their programs did bring in new qualified leads. It takes a sales team, though,to do the dirty work, and I’m willing to bet my dog on it that these leads came in after some serious brand building. So if you want to increase your exposure, build brand, grow relationships, establish yourself as an expert, and yes, generate leads, then these are all valid reasons to get a Twitter account or a Facebook Fan Page or get on any of the other emerging sites.
- Think like a good Catholic girl and work on your reputation. Be generous out there. Solve issues regarding your products and services. Respond to people. Retweet. Don’t bombard us with tweets or updates that are all about you. Educate us, inform us, even entertain us. Do not overly update or tweet. Apply the Golden Rule to Social Media. It works in life, and it works in Web 2.0.
- Track your results. Did you solve issues for clients? Is there a visible reduction of calls coming into the company because there problems were handled via the Internet, whether it was a blog offering how-to tips or a response on a social media site? Is your sales team reporting more leads coming in through these sites. Don’t just throw up a blog or a Twitter account and have some fun. Track your results in practical ways.
- Tweet for yourself, or pick your Tweeter wisely! Studies show that when an employee is selected to be the one maintaining the Social Media accounts with tweets and updates, that employee tends to not be very productive. Why? They are having a good time. Wouldn’t you? You also need to monitor what they write. I worked for a company where someone on the marketing team went a little crazy in a forum. The company had to fire that guy to save face. So either hire an experienced SM consultant, or if you have time, Tweet yourself. If you look on Twitter, there are quite a number of celebs tweeting personally. Kathy Ireland comes to mind as one of the more prominent. If she has time to do it, and run a billion dollar company with Kathy Ireland Worldwide, maybe you can find the time, too.
- Just do it. After you’ve created your strategy and defined you goals, do it, go be part of the revolution. Social Media is always evolving and growing. Be a part of the growth. It will help you reduce your overall marketing budget and is a useful way to grow brand recognition. Use it in conjunction with a PR program, and you’re on your way to greater exposure for your company and product.