Do You Have A Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 by Mistlee

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Do You Have A Social Media Marketing Strategy?

By Lee Odden

There are many reasons social media can be a productive marketing channel or platform. Rather than emplying it as a tactic du jour, the purpose should dictate strategy and the tactics used for reaching desired goals. A few common outcomes for social media marketing efforts include:

Gain insight into a community of interest -You can run all the customer surveys you want, but some of the most interesting and progressive market research can be found within the social communities where your customers interact, share information and make recommendations. Tapping into the streams of dialog is a great start to engagement and social participation with your brand.

Build brand visibility and authority - You've heard it before, "Conversations are happening online about your brand, with or without you." You might as well participate and do so in a way that pays close attention to the interests and needs of your customers - providing them with information and interactions that further support your brand.

Influence and promotion of products/services - Providing information to educate customers about your products in the formats and media types they prefer can go a long way towards building the kind of buzz that results in new business. By promotion, I mean advertising on social media sites.

Link building for traffic and SEO - Creating linkbait and promoting it to social media news and bookmarking sites can attract a slew of links from bloggers that read them. However, sustaining high levels of promotion to the same site or with the same user accounts will quickly be outed as social media spam. Creating value for the community is not the only rule, creating value and behaving according to formal and unwritten rules is what sustains social media sourced link building.

Drive traffic for ad revenue models - Becoming a power user of several social communities involves consistently contributing quality content, rewarding those who vote positively on that content as well as growing a large base followers. That base of like-minded connections can serve as an effective distribution channel for unique and interesting content which drives traffic to ad supported blogs that host the content. The linkbait suggestion above not only attracts links, but also attracts traffic. However, many ad supported sites report that traffic from social media sites is notorious for not clicking on ads. It's the bloggers that write about linkbait content first viewed on social media sites that drive the kind of traffic which results in ad clickthroughs.

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The mechanisms for putting these strategies into action vary depending on the resources and time allocations a company can make on its own, or when working with an agency. In fact, it is most often due to internal resource constraints that companies outsource social media strategy and tactics in the first place.

Type in " social media marketing" into Google and you'll get about as many search results (23 million) as there are social media tactics being promoted. As with any type of marketing, social media promotions center around matching content with interested audiences as well as stimulating conversation and buzz. Content can be created from scratch, mashed up or you can "borrow to build" by piggybacking on someone else's social media success. The key is to listen and participate.

Speaking of social media tactics, I recently wrote/facilitated an article on social media marketing for Larry Chase on his famous Web Digest For Marketers newsletter and web site which includes social media tips from some of the most opinionated minds on the topic: Brian Solis, Neil Patel, Chris Winfield, Mike Moran, Rohit Bhargava, Jeremiah Owyang, Muhammad Saleem and Jason Falls.

Each of these social media experts provided tips of their own as well as resources from: Steve Rubel, Robert Scoble, Charlene Li, Andy Hagans, Pete Cashmore, Chris Brogan, authors Huba/McConnell and Emanuel Rosen. If you're interested in social media as part of your online marketing strategy, the tips are worth checking out when it posts this week.

I am curious if Online Marketing Blog readers are finding that social media marketing tactics are getting included in strategic marketing discussions? Is social media getting singled out like SEO or PPC in budgets and forecasts?


About the Author:
Lee Odden is President and Founder of TopRank Online Marketing, specializing in organic SEO, blog marketing and online public relations. He's been cited as a search marketing expert by publications including U.S. News & World Report and The Economist and has implemented successful search marketing programs with top BtoB companies of all sizes. Odden shares his marketing expertise at Online Marketing Blog offering daily news, interviews and best practices.
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