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March 2, 2010

Social Media Marketing Strategy: 6 dimensions to consider when you strategize

There are several benefits to introducing social media into your business marketing platform. However, this new addition to your traditional marketing method is not at all similar to buying the latest fashion accessory. If that is the approach or mindset you adopt, then it is like marching with a noisy band with your brand new trumpet, only you have no clue how to play it let alone harmonize and make music! You may need to take trumpet lessons to begin with. Taking time to put together your social media marketing (SMM) strategy is the only place to begin this new journey. Putting together a winning social media marketing strategy is one of the least expensive but most effective ways to attract business and increase profits.

The importance of having an SMM strategy

Do not jump into Tweeting just because everyone is at it. A Facebook or LinkedIn profile right next to your competitor’s will gain you nothing without a strategy. At this point you deal with the ‘how’ and not with the ‘what’.

A plan of action (how) to reach your goal is your strategy. It is a military terminology and implies life and death. You strategize to win. Without a strategy you get into the arena awaiting life or death, without a clue on what you may expect. With a strategy you work your way to your desired goal.

Getting started: 6 dimensions to consider when you strategize

There are some parameters you need to identify in order to form a good strategy. You can get an idea of these by answering the following questions that deal with each dimension that you need to consider.

  • Why do you want to enter this arena (social media)? Three possible reasons can be: a) build awareness b) increase sales c) brand advocacy. Focus on one such aspect. At this point you need to keep in mind that without awareness you will not attain sales, and brand advocates are loyal existing repeat buyers.
  • Where do you stand with your potential audience today? a) Nowhere b) aware c) one-time customer d) repeat customer e) advocates or fans. Focus on two adjacent criteria to begin with. Build your strategy around these two – how will you move from A to B or B to C?
  • Determine how your target audience will use social media on the Internet, what are their media interests? This will depend on their age group, interests, and other social behavior patterns. Young people love contests, freebies, and giveaways. Plan how you can work these interests into your reward programs.
  • What is your USP (unique selling proposition)? This does not mean product features. This means ‘the one thing that makes your company unique’. Define it and coin a word that speaks volumes, and draws attention. This may be your first step towards creating your brand. Once you settle this, get a trademark or copyright your brand identity.
  • How will you nurture your social media participation real-time? Social media networking is all about developing people relationships with the goal of garnering brand advocates ultimately to increase revenue. Your persona plays a vital role here. Give them a human face to interact with.
  • What will be your tracking tool(s)? Keeping track of all online conversations about you or your brand is vital. Invest into one of the several tracking tools available online. Tracking web traffic, conversions, and repeat buyers are all part of this. Set up your key metrics to measure your success also. In my firm, we use at least 3 tracking tools.

The business world has only begun to scratch the surface of the power of the Internet and social media in marketing. The stage has been set and now is the time to plan and enter the arena of SMM. With your unique strategy you will be way ahead of your competitors and others who blindly enter because it is on the news and everywhere on the Internet where the talk is on. Be ready and you will attract prospects and increase your market base long before halftime. To get started, I highly recommend the business networking site LinkedIn.

Koz Khosravani is an Internet expert, an Information Technology lecturer, and a national speaker who has shared the stage with The President of the United States, Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield and many other top speakers. Koz is the president of the firm, Web 2.0 Marketing Systems LLC with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He is available to offer IT consulting and training.