Most companies are now looking to take advantage of the ever growing number of social platforms in their marketing mix. But the problem with many social media marketing strategies is – a lack of basic strategy. Let’s face it,  throwing together a Facebook page and encouraging friends and colleagues to like it or become a fan is not  exactly a focussed use of the social media channel.

There is an age old rule in communications to not say something because you want to be heard, but to say it because you have something to say.  But social media isn’t about communicating about how great your brand is, and how your offering is exactly what we all need, it’s about getting other people to say this for you.

More and more pSocial Mediaeople are taking their behaviors online, and businesses have to follow.  The effectiveness of your evangelical supporter in spreading the word is (almost) immeasurable in marketing. Social media  platforms give the early adopters and evangelists the communication tools and audience to spread the word like wild fire, providing a potent catalyst to a dynamic we already know exists.

Get off the band wagon and on the boat

A social  undertaking has to have a set of aims on which to gauge your campaign’s success. Without a clear plan and strategy of using social channels to under pin and support your overarching business objectives, your company is in danger of jumping on to the social media bandwagon and missing the all important boat.

Some examples of those aims could be to:

– Drive more traffic
– Uplift sales values
– Increase conversion ratio
– Reduce strain on customer services
– React quickly to negative PR
– Drive recruitment

The following video, Social Media ROI: Socialnomics, gives some inspiring examples of successes through social media marketing, and most importantly, the ROI figures to back them up:

So social marketing isn’t simply about us broadcasting our message via these channels, but how we can employ them to make relevant connections. Just as off line sales is more about listening (for a requirement, for a problem) than talking, social media gives us the window to look through and see what people are saying , as well as the tools to make positive connections and have some influence over what is said.

The video above  was found on Shannon Paul’s very official blog – a must read for anyone interested in no-nonsense approach to social media marketing. You may also want to check out Johann Ronnestam’s  Social Media Marketing Simplified questionnaire too for more insights and to see if you are adapting to this channel shift.