Does Your Company Have a Social Media Plan?

Social media and conversation marketing have the potential for transforming brands like no other communication methodology ever employed. The reason? It transforms the fundamental nature of the traditional brand/customer relationship. Historically, companies have used traditional media to advertise in a uni-directional way. It used to be all about broadcasting a message – with feedback loops tied chiefly to the ultimate purchase of a company’s product – or worse, no purchase at all.

Thanks in part to the transformative impact of online social media, that brand/customer relationship is experiencing a sea-change.. As increasingly informed and savvy consumers begin to demand more transparency and honesty from businesses they support, companies are no longer able to hide behind an ability to fully control the message. Steadily, businesses are now leveraging social media as both an offensive and defensive means to forge new and solidify existing relationships while building trust through transparency. The most successful of these organizations are now doing much more than simply monitoring the consumer pulse… they are engaging and interacting on a real-time basis with existing and potential customers, throughout the entire buying cycle.

In some respects, today’s businesses face the same challenges Instagram volgers kopen that early marketers experienced with emerging print and electronic advertising mediums, the most important of which is building meaningful and lasting relationships with new and existing customers. The key difference this time around is that successful marketing efforts increasingly hinge on the ability to reciprocate, in authentic ways and real-time ways, with a growing and increasingly sophisticated online consumer audience.

That’s why, planning for consumer engagement through social media is an increasingly central consideration for today’s business owners!

However, the pitfalls of a poorly or ill-conceived plan are myriad, and social media and conversation marketing by themselves are only a part of an integrated marketing solution. Although it’s important to stress the value of building relationships through social media, it’s incredibly difficult to achieve success when you’re developing those relationships in an unstructured fashion.

Thus, social media is not to be performed in a haphazard way. Rather, it works best when applied in a logical sequence using a more structured approach. The mistake that most often leads to frustration and ultimately, abandonment, is not having a plan of attack!

Instead of thinking of social media as a freestanding tactic, first consider how you can add social media components into your existing marketing plan. Before you begin any social media campaign, you should think about incorporating these three elements specific to these marketing channels:

1. Know what you don’t know. 2. Determine how much time you have to commit to a social media campaign 3. Understand your audience objectives within each social network 4. Dovetailing social media objectives with where your customers “live”

Know What You Don’t Know

Social media and conversation marketing are not ends unto themselves… like traditional marketing, they are simply tools, albeit transformative tools, to building brand, market affinity and sales. And while it may be too much to expect even the wisest “old dogs” to learn to master all the nuances of these “new tricks”, true wisdom stems from surrounding yourself with people who get it. Don’t let fear control, instead become intellectually engaged in ways that leverages your knowledge of your core business, customer and products and work with teams who can help convert your vision into the social media and conversion marketing space.

Social Media Time Commitment

It’s essential to understand how much time you have to devote to social media. The online world is a vastly different place than the traditional advertising space largely due to the lightning fast and highly reciprocal communications the web presents. In terms of product marketing, people now have the ability to share experiences, provide recommendations and promote products and services with speeds unmatched in other forms of media. Positive experiences, as well as bad ones, are shared easily and can make their way through the online landscape with an immediacy never before experienced.

As a result, dipping a tentative toe in social media waters without knowing how to swim (or at least tread water) is a prescription for looking at the sky from the bottom of a pool. Nor is it right to spend time developing valuable online relationships, only to appear and disappear like a social media ninja. The best results are often achieved with steady participation, constant communication and engaging interaction with your audience. People will want to hear what you have to say as long as it provides real value to the community.

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