Adding social media to your marketing mix can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? A client recently compared it to walking into a hardware store filled with tools and solutions for problems you didn’t even know you had. He was describing his sense of overwhelm and confusion in trying to decide what to do first and where to put the time he really doesn’t have to spare.
As the world rushes online and accesses the web from their desks and smart phones, managers of businesses and organizations are sitting up and realizing, some to their horror, that this social thing isn’t going away. Neither is this online stuff. The pressure to learn something, add a Facebook page…do something is mounting. Yet most feel like they are already stretched very thin and have little bandwidth to take on what they perceive as an overwhelming task.
So where do you start? At the beginning. (Sorry. It’s true.) The process of adding social media into your marketing and PR mix is like adding any other communications channel in that you follow a process with logical steps:
- Define what you are trying to accomplish (tie into your business or organizational goals)
- Review your existing marketing and PR programs (how does social or online work with your offline and traditional programs?)
- Identify your audience (who are you trying to communicate with or persuade?)
- Evaluate your resources (how much time, personnel and funding do you have? Do you have the support of upper level management?)
- Research to find your audience online (Where are they? What networks are they using and how are they using them?)
- Develop your strategy (make sure to include identification of who is empowered to make decisions regarding any online response to your social activities)
- Establish quantifiable objectives so that you will be able to measure your success
- Train the people who will be working on your social marketing and PR programs
- Implement the programs you have created
- Monitor the social media you are using
- Measure the results of your efforts
- Evaluate (how did the programs help meet your business objectives?)
- Adjust your programs
- Repeat or go back to the beginning and start the process all over again…
Using a logical series of steps will remind you that incorporating social media is not unlike incorporating other communications channels into your marketing mix. However, it brings its own special baggage and you need to be aware of some of the challenges you face.
You will need to monitor the web for mentions of your company’s name, your employees, your products and services, your competition, your industry and trade organizations–and more. And then you must pay attention to what you learn, because the information may well impact what you are doing, both online and offline. This can be done easily using free monitoring tools like Google Alerts, Twitter Search, or Social Mention or by using some of the many excellent paid monitoring tools including Sysomos, Radian6, and Alterian SM2.
Social Media Policy
Your organization will need to have a social media policy in place if it doesn’t already have one. Your company’s employees are probably all using social media to some degree and may be mentioning your company. You may need to employ your employees to implement and manage your social media and social networking initiatives. In either scenario you have to be able to spell out what is considered acceptable behavior, what information is proprietary and what can be shared. Who is empowered to make decisions or take action on your organization’s behalf? What is the approval process or the chain of command for decision making?
Training and Outsourcing
You may need to train your employees (and you may want to take part in some of the training yourself) in the use of the social media and the social networks that you will be using. You may want to hire outside consultants to help manage your campaigns if your employee base is stretched too thin.
Need Help? Call us.
Does the idea of incorporating social media scare you silly? Do you need help developing a strategy for your social media activities? Or would you like to have your employees trained in using social media for marketing and PR? We can help with all of these things. Give us a call at 419.740.1262 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.