As a Social Media Consultant, I often run into potential clients who are convinced social media is the magic answer to their online marketing needs. Often, they try to pick my brain for special, "tricks of the trade," that I may be willing to share with them for the price of a cup of coffee. Now I am certainly willinging to offer up some guidance on best practices, a couple of learned tricks, and what I consider to be the benefit of some real world experience over the vast expanse of my client base. However, after this brief conversation, I am frequently disheartened to find their social media strategy is already pre-destined to failure. So, why do their social media campaigns explode? Do you exhibit similar signs of social media failure?
You Can't Commit. Now I KNOW that you start all of your projects with the best of intentions, but you don't have a basic understanding of time management. There are no shortcuts here, and you only have 3 choices when it comes to doing the work (make no mistake about it there is a lot of work that needs to be actually done). You can do it yourself (is this the best use of your time?), you can hire somebody to do it (do you really need another employee? How are they trained?), or you can outsource it to an Inbound Marketing Firm (have you weighed the pros and cons of outsourcing?).
You Can't Discern. Sorting through the clutter and separating what is personal and business is a challenge, but here's a tip: Your customers don't care about pictures of your grandchildren, and your grandchildren don't care about your next business conquest. If you are going to have a personal Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social media tool set, be sure to separate out your business brand, and keep it professional.
You Can't Figure Out How to Integrate. In order to create a successful, integrated marketing plan, you must be willing to dedicate time and energy to organization and strategy. You will need to identify and describe your goals, target audiences, and main messages for each of your target markets, and for each of your product/service lines. The most common mistake businesses make when forming an integrated marketing plan, is leaving out channels. You may come up with a great blog entry, but then you don't tweet about it. What's worse is, you don't have a call to action at the end of the article. Tsk Tsk. And how about your traditional media? Are you sending postcards that cause someone to take action and actually download something? Are you serious about spreading your message?
You Can't Figure Out How to Automate....So now you've actually received an inquiry, but you aren't sure how to engage the client. Why not let them come to you? Great tools such as Hubspot can automate all of your social media. The tool allows you to effecively scale personal attention towards your prospects by triggering messages based on a visitor’s actions on your site, sending messages when they are most relevant.
When run well, marketing automation provides leads and customers with interesting, relevant, and useful content. Not to mention, if integrated properly, it happens while you do....nothing. First however, you have to make the commitment to actually do something. Oh yeah, we've covered that already.
Does any of this sound familiar? Only you, as the Marketing Director or Business Owner, can actually decide how much value you need to place on social media and inbound marketing, but I can tell you this: Go Big or Go Home. Half measures will get you nothing. There are enough companies out there doing a great job of managing their brand online, and getting a lot of mileage out of the fact that their competitors haven't quite figured it out.
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