Mar 03, 2011 – Source: American Express OPEN website.
The Internet is very much like a toolbox. You have a problem, you go to the toolbox, select a tool and fix your problem. But, with so many options, the question becomes: Which tool is best? Should you devote some of your budget to a public relations campaign or to developing and implementing a targeted social media marketing strategy? What’s right for your company? How do you know?
Well, before you rush off and start your research, it’s important to remember the Rule of ABM: Always Be Marketing. To ensure that you don’t slack off on your marketing efforts, here are a few guidelines:
1. It’s about quality, not quantity. Yes, it’s a cliché but it couldn’t be more appropriate when it comes to social media. Is it better to cast a wide net, or be selective? Too many initiatives or poorly directed efforts can quickly alienate and confuse your audience. If your marketing is worth its salt, it’ll deliver results, without offending or browbeating. If not, at best you’ll be irritating and at worst, you’ll be ignored.
2. To ad or not to ad. The choices are many; however, good choices are few. Should you buy Facebook or Google ads? Should you add advertising to your own website? The answer to this can only come from you. Take a hard look at your objectives and business plan. Are you trying to sell a big-ticket item or service? Do you need to target customers in a particular vertical? Do you have the personnel and infrastructure in place to handle the response ? Examine what your business needs to accomplish and then start small. You can always ‘upgrade’ later.
3. Deliver. If your brand’s social media marketing is done well, the work that’s done for clients and customers needs to have the same level of quality. Nothing is more disappointing for a customer than biting the marketing bait and being interested in what appears to be a qualified business, only to find out that the business cannot deliver on the promises made through their marketing.
4. Stick with what works, ditch what doesn’t. If your company has engaged a ‘big deal expert’ to provide you with marketing guidance and the efforts are not producing results, move on. Experts aren’t always right. Conversely, if your social media marketing strategy is working and someone tries to convince you to abandon it, stick to your guns — and your strategy.
5. Measure twice, cut once. Be sure to measure your marketing efforts and results. When you get a positive response, you’ll be able to pinpoint which marketing activities are paying off and which need additional attention.
6. Treat social media marketing like dollar-cost averaging. You can’t expect to get outstanding results with your first efforts (in fact, don’t expect that at all) – it’s nice if it happens, but it’s rare. It’s important to invest a steady, consistent effort and be patient with your marketing.
Social media marketing is sticky business and the worst part is there are no hard and fast rules. The absolute best thing you can do when it comes to social media marketing is to develop and implement a viable strategy and stick to it. To do so is to find your brand not only ahead of the game, but on solid ground as well.