Intro of Social Media into a Business Plan

“Can you hear me now!”

That’s an old brand statement. Of course we can hear…it’s almost impossible not to, with social media and various forms of telecommunication.

With over 500 million Facebook users, 105M tweeters with 300K signing up per day, and 2B YouTube videos being watched a day, It is difficult to ignore social media as a part of a company’s marketing mix; or ignore  social media as a tool for the development or branding of a company.

So where do you/companies start? and How do you know what tool best fits you/your company objective?

While some companies struggle to find their voice and “join the conversation”, others  struggle to relinquish control; as they understand the importance of it building and maintaining customer loyalty, and having a positive effect on its bottom line.

My last post was about “Joining The Conversation” by Joseph Jaffe, which expressed the need of companies to transition from communication to conversation and actually touched on some of the fears that might prevent companies and people from moving into social media.

So how have companies moved past fears and opened the the lines of conversation to empower company employees?  What tools or methodologies were most useful when deciding to engage? Is there a rule of thumb? Is there a guideline or template to monitor or filter the best tools and strategies for  short and long term goals. Where should you start? Is it too late? How do you catch up?

Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Most of us make things harder than what they really are. There is no template or “cookie cutter” plan when it comes to marketing plans, as most companies have very unique goals. However, there are a few general marketing principals that can be applied to get you out of the gate.

When to relenquish control? Now!  It’s not to late. Implement a friendly and readable policy about how to engage.  According to a recently published study, when employees take time to visit personal sites, or social sites it allow a mental health break that actually increases their ability to concentrate. It may also help to incentivize or initiate gaming within the policy to insight heavier created content to generate traffic and invigorate the bottom line.

How to start?: When introducing social media into an organization or your business, start with basic familiar principles -according business consultant, Chris Brogan, ask yourself Why (why do this);  Who (who are you trying to reach); How(How do you want to reach them; how do you use the tools to listen better, have two way dialogue and collaborate collectively)?

If you are in business, then you have some understanding about the fundamentals of marketing. The same rules apply when integrating social media.

Determine your audience: As in any marketing plan, you should have an idea of who you are trying to reach and where you might reach them. Incorporate the same in-depth research that you generally would. You can do this by listening. Danny Brown, interactive marketer & business consultant, identifies the audience as Participants or Promoters.

Participants – they are more like “visitors” to your website. May purchase your product, but may never return.

Promoters – They are the ones that like to promote the good experience via blogging, twitter or other capacity. These are the members in which you want to seek.

Define Your Objective: Clearly define your goal and understand the demographic. Brown, provides a social map and where to find various audience and their connection online.

Social Media Landscape

Identify Your Tools: With a clear picture of your demographic and a concise idea of your objective, you can now determine the tools that you need to engage.

Evaluate your plan: I like the few examples, in which Brown lists, to include Monitter,  (which allows you a view on Twitter discussions of keywords); Google Alerts (giving you insight into what’s being said about you); and Social Mention (letting you gauge social reactions and reach to your topic or keywords and allowing you to jump in on conversations elsewhere).

The main goal, is to rid yourself of any excuses and begin to implement a plan of interaction, now, as social media is one of the most integral part of marketing mixes within communication today and days to come. We can hear you now…so, start talking!

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