Building an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy

Image Courtesy of Brian Solis

1) Get executive management buy in and support - much more challenging if you try to develop your strategy and then sell up into the organization.

2) Develop a Social Media Policy and Procedure Doc; this doesn’t need to be a huge document, you should be able to map this out in one or two pages. Don’t get too detailed, this is a creative marketing process.

3) Base budget on Personnel,  Timelines, Platforms, Content Strategy. Much of social media marketing is “free” in the purest sense of the word in terms of advertising expenditures. The cost kicks in when you factor time involved for marketers involved in the process.

4) Define a Content Development and Syndication Strategy; i.e. where is the content coming from (if outsourcing), who is going to develop it in house, what’s your focused strategy for content, how will you repurpose all or part of your content across the social web.

5) What Platforms or Communities do you want to establish a presence on; i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube (the top tier), Company Blog; Niche Networks such as LinkedIn, Ning, Plaxo; Customer Service Networks such as: Yelp, Google Maps, et al?  You also have to consider other Vertical Platform Categories including: Events, Music, Wikis, Blog Conversations, Micromedia, Social Bookmarking, Crowdsourcing, Video Aggregation and others.

6) Once you pick your Social Media Platform you can develop a cohesive Content Development and Deployment Schedule - who is going to post and where, how frequently, who will be monitoring the communities and responding and engaging.

7) Select a group of third party applications to help you leverage your Content Syndication processes; HootSuite is an all in one free Application that has a broad suite of Platform Support; Tweetdeck does not have as broad a platform of support but their interface is cleaner and more efficient.

7) Depending on the sophistication of your Social Media Marketing mix you may want to use a listening or monitoring platform. There is an large number of these that can be segmented by feature set and functionality. Two of the best are Radian6 and Trackur - Radian6 provides a broader set of features and collects more data but is more expensive than Trackur.

8) Last but not least, identify some first pass metrics that enable you to measure Return on Investment for your Social Media Marketing processes. This can encompass using Google Analytics for inbound traffic and keyword metrics, “social mentions” using a Social Media Monitoring platform, number of new users via Communities or Platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Yelp Reviews, Comments via Google Maps, etc.

Think about broadcasting and more importantly engagement on these communities as an indication of social media marketing success - you don’t want to get too focused on ROI metrics during your first 60-90 days.

Get your feet wet and then add more sophistication to your Social Media Marketing Strategy in the form of additional communities, tighter controls, more sophisticated ROI analysis,  cross purposing content, utilizing video and podcasts, etc.