Apothecary

Curing your marketing ills

Social Network Marketing – Questions answered that you had not asked.

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As usual, I am going through the myriad RSS feeds on marketing, and I came across a brilliant article that posed “The Top 10 Social Media Questions Ad Agency Clients are Asking“.  What you will find below are my short answers to those questions (cause whhhooo boy do I ever have some long answers)…

What are the best tactics to use?  Before determining which of the social mediums are best for your business you need to determine how you plan to use social network marketing.  After this determination, you can look at which social medium has been the most successful for your marketing needs and your marketing demographic. 

How do I measure the effectiveness of social media?  Social Media is still a young advertising medium and there as many different ways to measure as there are social media networks.  The simplist is to simply aim on reaching the largest amount of customers and prospective customers possible.  Can you extrapolate sales directly from any of these mediums?  In my estimate, not directly.  Social Media is simply one more touch in your series of marketing touches to your customers and prospective customers.  Remember in this economic climate, it is taking significantly more touches before a customer purchases a product or service.

Where do I start?  My honest answer would be to contact me to help you!  Realisticly, where you start is dependent on what your goals are.  My usual advice is to start with Twitteras it is the easiest entree into social media marketing.  Be certain to follow others in similar idustries and to talk about your product and service.   Facebookis another easy entry into social network marketing, however, facebook does require you (personally not as your business) to reach out to others to become fans of your business.

How do I manage the social balance?  This is a great question as managing social media can easily become overwhelming and also be used at the expense of other marketing opportunities.  Plan to expend extra time initially on social media networks.  Do not become singularly focused on the mediums.   Remember that social network marketing should NOT replace your traditional advertising and public relations; social network marketing should complement your marketing. 

What are the best sites and tools out there?  There are new applications and websites coming out daily, weekly and monthly and you want to be where the most people are.  Dependent on your product, the gimmees are Facebook, Twitter – in addition to hosting your own company blog.  You may also want to consider Flickr, MySpace, YouTube or perhaps even starting your own community with Ning.  What social medium will be the preferred social medium in the future?  That is a magic question.  And one that no one can answer.  So don’t let someone tell you they have this answer.  What is big this year can be so over for your demographic next year.  Be prepared to change course as the social mediums change course.  The common social network marketing element is being able to interact with your consumer and vice versa, the medium may change but this core element will not.

How do I make the most of my available time? As I mentioned with managing the social balance, it is very easy to get sucked into hours (and hours) of toiling away with social networks.  I can not underline enough – this is only part of a larger picture.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, allow an employee (or employees) or hire a marketing firm to update your social networks.  Another approach, and this is really common sense,  is to allot a certain amount of time a day to each.

How do I find and focus my efforts on my target audience?  Your business plan should have already prompted you to develop your core (and likely secondary) demographics.  Where do people of this demographic go online?  If they are interested in your product what might their hobbies be?  What magazines or blogs might they read?  Go to these sites and “follow” leaders.  You can follow blogs via RSS feeds and you can follow people on Twitter (in addition to the many other ways of following on any of the social network sites).  Become PART of their conversation, and the likelihood is they will become party of yours.

How do I convert my social media marketing efforts into tangible results?  I think rather than the lengthy answer I might provide here I will provide you with a great ROI chart created by FrogLoop.  This rather in depth chart will provide you with a great starting point as to what actual dollars (you and your staff or marketing firm) are being used to develop your social network marketing plan. 

How do I cohesively tie different social media efforts together?  As stated several times previously, social network marketing should be PART of your marketing plan NOT your marketing plan.  Your social networks that you participate in can encompass public relations and advertising.  All of these should loop together to form a cohesive, united and branded message.  This basic message that all your communications relate should go back to your core brand promise (and positioning).

Does social media marketing work, and if so, how effective is it?  Well now.  I think you know what my answer will be to this.  Of course it works.  The question is what do you want your business to get out of it.  Are there documented success stories?  Many, and I list them on this blog regularly.

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Written by apothecarycomm

2009/09/09 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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