You need to go fast, at low cost, and stop if social marketing doesn’t pay.
Here are MarketingXD’s top tips:
- Start by researching your close competitors, not your customers. What social channels are they using? Do they seem to be effective - count the fans, followers, comments.
- Briefly Research yourself. Not all companies are good candidates for Social Marketing. You need a brand that people get enthusiastic about, in e.g: fast food, fashion, entertainment. Social Marketing is not good for a company that has no real brand itself, e.g. a lot of retailers. Size doesn’t matter, but if you are not famous enough in your little niche to have fanboys, then think twice.
- Research your staff. How many of them already blog? tweet? post on social networks. You need to establish an online presence, and using insiders who already know the territory will save a lot of money.
- Build a minimal social presence targeting customers. Initially a facebook page, twitter account and blog, all linked from your Website and documentation. Also consider any channels which are successful for your competitors. Start posting and blogging product news and more shareable content.
- See what happens.
- Little or no engagement: give up. This is because using Social Networks has significant costs. For example the links weaken your brand, because every time you promote your online presence (on adverts, receipts, packaging etc) you could be keeping all the benefit for your Website, but instead you are promoting the likes of Twitter.
- Some enthusiastic feedback: press on and add more features
- Lots of enthusiasm: you need to fund social marketing properly. Use agencies or specialist software platforms.
- Now research your customers. Check what they are saying, what channels they are using, and so on. Extend your minimal social presence towards them.
- Research your sales process. What are the existing pain points? How can you use your digital presence to make it more efficient and help customers? Is it worth using social channels for customer support? Do you have enough enthusiastic customers to start a community on something like StackExchange?
- Monitor! Setup processes to monitor mentions of your company and KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. Define a formal process for responding to everyone from trolls to fanboys.
- Market! Actively build your subscribers/followers/fans. Use quizzes, freebies, coupons etc. Just don’t forget to extend your monitoring to check whether this brings in new sales.
Sorry about forgetting shareable content. It’s what I’m trying to do here!
Update on 25 June 2011: see What to do, now Social Media affects Search.