MarCom-NeXt Pocket Guide: successfully engage in Social Media Marketing

social-media-mktg-plan

Social media originally started as a tool for friends and family to keep in touch, and has now moved also to the business community for Companies to engage discussions with their customers, partners and others organizations.

Large Enterprises, as well as SMB in a smaller scale, are adopting Social Media as a new wave of Marketing.

Based on recent reports and studies, the top benefits of Social Media Marketing are seen as (in this order):

– Branding: Generating exposure for the businessSocial Media Marketing Benefits report 2010

– Word-of-Mouth: Extending audience, raising awareness, increasing traffic

– Discussions: Engaging discussions & building relationship/partnership

– Revenue: Generating leads or sales

– Cost: reduce marketing expenses

Marketers have high expectation of Social Media, often and wrongly perceived as a free or low cost, easy to launch and deploy, not resource consuming tactic and they could be disappointed by the results and return in investment if they do not use best practices; It could even be a failure and damage your brand or business if not well executed and then abandoned after an unsuccessful try.

So, based on my own experience, here are few tips to successfully engage in Social Media Marketing:

1- Define a clear strategy

2- Secure executive sponsorship

3- Clarify Goals & Business Objectives: Talk or Listen, raise awareness, engage discussions, generate leads, drive sales & revenue, foster loyalty.

4- Integrate Social Media as one marketing tactic of your marketing mix

5- Document metrics

6- Target your audience: understand digital audience behaviour, develop social media map, identify and engage the influencers,

7- Define content, aligned with your objectives and aligned with corporate marketing messages

8- Select appropriate social networks, based on your goals and audiencSocial Media Marketing Tools Report2010e: Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube or others videos sites, Social Bookmarking sites etc… (see chart)

1- Select appropriate tools: management tools, short url tools, analytics tools, maximize digital assets distribution

2- Allocate dedicated assets and resource, experts to provide content, be the Voice and participate in relevant discussions,

3- Define and document some Social Media Guidelines for people participating to your social media activities, bloggers, and all employees,

4- Design your Social Media image, theme, tag line and main message: name, gravatar, banner, theme, colors, page

5- Launch and deploy your Social Media tactic and tools

6- Start Talking and empower consumer advocacy, tell the story, but also let the others tell the story about you

7- Listen to your Audience, monitor the market conversation

8- Engage discussions, be very responsive, show appreciation, gather market intelligence

9- Promote and advertise your Social media presence (via your web site, email marketing, newsletters, blog, webinar, print…)

10- Leverage your network: employees, partners, customers

11- Grow and maintain you LIST of friends, followers, Fans …

12- Maintain the relationship, keep the momentum, keep communicating regularly and intensively, keep on building and growing,

13- Tie all your Social Media and web presence all together and keep the Buzz growing,

14- Track and measure qualitative, quantitative and competitive results using analytics tools, document lessons learned and communicate monthly reports, understand the impact and do what it takes to improve your ROI.

social-media Social Media are platforms for interactions and relationships, not just a branding or advertising platform, it represent a fundamental shift on the way we communicate and make decision, so take advantage of it, build et develop new relationships and partnerships.

Jump on The Social Media Bandwagon, Start Talking & Listening, Start Engaging Discussions with Social Media.

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#2- Is my digital Avatar changing who I am ?

  

What does Your Avatar looks like ?

 

 With our “profiles” being created across the internet on social media and social networking and sharing web sites, such as Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, twitter, flicker, MySpace, Bebo, Windows Live/MSN, Picasa, YouTube, SecondLife (and thousands other, in 2D or 3D) and containing so much of our personal information about what we think, what we do, what we like and don’t like, who we are or who we want to look like, we are creating a digital twin of ourselves, an “Avatar”, and our human identity is evolving.       

If you are reading this blog, it means you probably already have a digital identity, and the more information we put about ourselves, about our identity, our family and friends relationships, our day-to-day life activities, our professional endeavours, photos of our “moments”, we are duplicating our memories and really giving birth to a digital persona, getting more accurate by the day.       

Many people don’t even really give to that digital persona the kind of privacy they use for themselves in real life, others are just getting aware of the risk involved and are starting to enforce the privacy settings available on these social networks.       

Interesting enough, your “friends” also contribute to the avatar by tagging you in photos, videos, and  by commenting on yourself or your thoughts, which give an additional light, about how others perceive you, and may sometimes reveal more about you than you would like.       

These avatars are more and more commonly used by vendors and research firms to do some marketing research and surveys, to target, market, sell or buy some stuff, to investigate before hiring someone etc…       

However the most interesting fact is the impact the avatar can have on some of its creators, as it can take a life on its own, diverging from what its creator really is, or just giving a different profile by accentuating some of its characteristics, and as a reverse psychology may end up changing the way he is and who he is.       

As a result, digital identities can transform the way we communicate, the way we socialize, the way we project ourselves, it is certainly already changing our society and may be event in the end the way we act and who we are.       

So, What does Your avatar look like, and is Your Avatar changing who You are ?