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Thread: Do you have a Social Media Marketing plan?

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    Default Do you have a Social Media Marketing plan?

    I am curious... while Social Media is the big catch phrase the last year or so, how many people actually implement a SMM plan?

    While I feel some of the tools make for good public relations additions, I know of few companies actually implementing them for marketing purposes. None of my clients currently have SMM programs....

    For the most part it falls under branding and brand management, which traditionally isn't the territory of the SMB as budgets don't allow for much in this realm.

    What, if any, uses do you have for social media/networking tools?
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    We have used forums and other social media outlets to draw readers to company blogs and to publicize our companies. The problem is that most forums have pretty strict rules about what you can and can't do if you are not an advertiser. Plus, it is quite difficult to be perceived as someone who is genuine in a social media setting if you are associated with a company. You have to spend a lot of time contributing and building relationships before you'll be accepted as part of the community.

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    It is a curious thing... how traditional areas such as;

    Customer service/relations
    Branding/brand management
    Qualitative market research
    PR
    etc....

    Have all been lumped together on the web in the form of SMM... one has to wonder the longevity of SMM providers when it is a mash up of other departments?

    While I encourage businesses to at very least open the lines of communication via SM, I have not advised many to actively start campaigns unless they understand it is more a qualitative medium than a qualitative one....

    I think next year will be very telling as far as the future of this 'form' of marketing...
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    I'd like to tell you that I have a well thought out plan to using social media, but I'm not that organized with it. Mostly I'm using it to brand myself and most of that is predominantly within the small community of SEO and related.

    In some respects I use social media more as an end user. I work at home all day and many of those days I'm not seeing anyone else so it's nice to be able to chat with people online. This might strike some as strange, but I use a site like delicious to...well bookmark web pages. My browser got overrun and I figured delicious was a better way.

    If I think a post is something that others should read I submit it or vote it up at the appropriate site. I also use those sites to search and find content.

    In a marketing context I'm really just looking to get my name and consequently my business out there as part of the conversation. I think the more you can enmesh yourself in the web the greater your chances of success.

    It also strikes me that most of the people who seem to have great success with social media directing traffic to them either have content that deserves to be seen, already had such a visible presence online that they'll get traffic from any new source, or have created artificial means of generating social media traffic that ultimately delivers a lot of empty statistics.
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    I have no specific social marketing plan, this is mainly due to my business being within a specific geographic market, rather then potentially worldwide. This is for my primary business.

    If i had an electronic product or a web based business that could benefit from social media marketing, then i would absolutely be looking to make a plan to take advantage of the medium.

    In a plan such as a social media marketing plan, what would you imagine should be included? I would expect relevant forums to be the first point, however would you look to include things like facebook or myspace, if your product targeted that primary market if 18-25yr olds? Would you target this market via using the site or paid advertising? Finally would you look to take advantage of Youtube, and does this fall within social media marketing?
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    Depends on what you want from social media. I prefer the networking aspects. The more people who get to know me the more people I think will look at my site (mostly my blog) and the more people will link to me. So in the marketing sense one thing I'm looking for is links.

    I also see social media as an inexpensive way to help with branding. By building a presence in a variety of places I get my name out there.

    With some sites you can maintain a little more than a profile. A band is a natural for MySpace since they can play their music right there and get it in front of people. I wouldn't necessarily put an age bracket on it. I think most MySpace users are actually over 30 even though it has a reputation for being a much younger demographic.

    I'd sooner look to see how well the community matches your topic. Part of what I do is SEO so Sphinn is a natural community for me. I should probably spend more time at design and development social sites since that's the majority of what I do. However I wouldn't expect to get business from design sites because most people there are likely designers. I would see that community more about links.

    If there is a community made up of your target market then it might make more sense to tailor things towards getting traffic and sales.
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    To be honest I really have no plan either... nor do any clients. I was just curious if there was more hype than reality with SMM. I know many peeps that talk about it..but few that actually provide the services.... Once upon a time peeps talked about freedom from Google in the form of social media and from what I can tell, it simply isn't the case... and the traffic converts poorly for those that are taking a stab at it...

    As for actual plans, it seems to be dependant on what yer looking to get out of it... it covers the following areas;

    Branding and brand management; this is traditionally not the realm of the SMB as most don't have the budgets to play there.

    CRM - customer relations is an area that is important to all businesses, thus using SMM to reach out and connect with consumers/users is one way SMM can be viable IMO

    SEO - obviously there are implications as far as getting your company in front of more eyeballs and can often lead to SEO benefits in the form of primary and secondary links... useful, depending on the market.

    Qualitative market research; this area I feel is important but very misunderstaood by most in the SMM game.... evaluating market demographics or interacting directly with consumers via SMM can sure make for a stronger offering for most companies.

    Traffic/Conversions; this one, to me... is the least viable. Sure, it 'can' drive traffic and potential primary and secondary conversions... but not enough in most cases to be a primary driver of a SMM campaign.



    I think that if one wants to get into SMM they really need to define their goals (based on the above) and be sure to have some form of guaging success. If yer interested I polled some SMM peeps earlier this year searching for the Value of SMM (I know U read it Steve... for the other peeps ;0)

    Another good read is Maki's; Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing

    Jack Humphrey; How to start a SMM campaign

    ..and there are a bunch more at the end of my 'Value of SMM' post... to continue the adventure.


    I just figured I would ask because I know of VERY few peeps in the SMB space that are really using SMM... I have to wonder if like branding in the old days, that this is more a tool for the larger corporations...
    Last edited by theGypsy; 08-13-2008 at 01:55 PM.
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    I'm with you. For me it's just a general sense of a plan if you can call it that and I see mostly the same value you do. I do notice when a post of mine does well on Sphinn or StumbleUpon that I pick up a few more subscribers than usual, but that's normal with more eyeballs and it's hardly the kind of thing you write home about.

    If I did want to target a specific social site I would just spend some time there seeing what the community likes and tailor my content to have a better chance with success.

    Branding - this is a lot of what it's about for me. I disagree a little that branding has to be expensive. The reach component of brand has typically cost a lot, but it's not all that branding is. Where social media comes into play is that you can extend your reach for much less money than you can through traditional media. I think you can effectively brand yourself to smaller groups of people and little by little expand that reach.

    CRM - I see it the same as you. Depends upon your business though. A smaller service oriented business can probably communicate more effectively through email.

    SEO - I see social media more as an indirect way towards better seo. More connections and more eyeballs should lead to more links, but typically it seems to me it's more a case of the rich getting richer. However if your site consistently does well in one social site I think that improves your branding within that community which starts to improve how many links you can get.

    Market Research - one of the best, though least discussed uses for social media. It's amazing what you can learn by asking a few questions or doing a little searching. I'm also finding it a quicker way to get recent news in many cases.

    Traffic/Conversions - Mostly worthless from what I've seen. Sure a few extra subscribers, but not what you might expect from the traffic. Again this might work better for existing brands and if you do brand yourself with a specific social site you might get more traffic and conversions (depending on the type conversion) Not really a sales vehicle, but perhaps an entry into your site that could lead to conversions somewhere down the line. Still nearly 100% worthless as a direct sales channel.

    If I were to put more of a strategy in place I would target one or two sites related to my topic. Spend time getting to know the sites and their communities and then start participating without any promotion. Submit content the community wants and has showed they liked in order to build a stronger and more visible profile.

    Combine that will creating content that is tailored to the community and that you expect would do well in that community. Make voting buttons for the sites you are targeting visible on your content and contact a few friends you've made in the community to get them to start submitting your content (It'll probably happen naturally though).

    The result I would expect is greater branding within a community of people interested in your topic and a stronger network of people likely to link to you without you having to ask. Ideally you'll end up with more people talking about you and more recognition of your name that can help your other marketing methods to convert better.
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    Because of time constraints I haven't looked at it or done it at all. I also think it would require a pretty big budget to be effective for the types of things I currently do.

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    It's less about budget and more about time. You do have to be involved and participate. It's easy for social communities to spot someone who's not being genuine.
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