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Being the Marketing Manager here at The Search Agency, and social media junkie, I was very interested in attending a session at DMA 2012 last week called, “Creating a Social Media Strategy.” I am the little voice behind our company social media efforts, so I work on our own social media strategy every day. I also lend my experience and thought leadership to our client services team on social media projects.
I’ll be honest, when I saw this very broad session title at a conference for direct marketers; I anticipated it to be on the elementary side. I was hoping to be able to learn something helpful aside from suggesting I create a company Facebook page. Well…I got what I asked for because the first thing I heard speaker Murray Izenwasser of Biztegra  say was (obviously I am paraphrasing, but the quotes send a more official message):
“Facebook and Twitter pages will not solve your company’s social media problem. It’s never been about getting a Facebook page, and then moving on to the next social media platform that’s popular. If you don’t have a strategy and approach for the first platform, how can you expect to exceed at the next thing? ”
My natural state of skepticism softened, and I was ready to learn about how I could employ a real and effective social media marketing strategy.
Izenwasser explained that we have to change the way we think about social media. It’s not about having a team of people just working on your social profiles all day. Successful social media efforts come from behaving like a marketer in a social world.
Also social media isn’t technically a strategy…it’s a tactic within a larger marketing strategy. I know; that blew my mind too. It should look like this:
Goal —> Strategy —> Campaign —> Tactic
Social media is a tactic rather than a strategy because it employs tools, platforms, and techniques. Most brands are thinking about their social media backwards, starting with the tactics, before even setting any goals. Well, duh that makes a lot of sense.
So how can marketers start thinking about social media the right way??
- Take a giant step back.
- Look at your overall marketing plan.
- Examine your business goals, and those of your competitors.
- Establish a natural cadence with content generation.
- Listen, monitor, measure, and report.
- Enhance your existing programs.
- Maintain ongoing engagement and seek new platforms.
- Shift and improve.
Most of the presentation was about really taking a step back and considering how social media tactics could improve your overall success, and how they tie back to your business plan. If you aren’t driving people back to your site through social media platforms, then you don’t really own the relationship, which is why it’s so important to understand how social media fits into the bigger picture of your business. If any of your marketing efforts aren’t attributed to ROI, then what’s the point?
Social media is becoming a very viable means of marketing. It needs to become part of a more holistic socialized marketing strategy segmented by Earned, Owned and Bought labels. Earned marketing refers to user-generated content through social media platforms. Owned would include your site and any email lists, and bought would be purchased lists and paid advertisements. This should encompass most of your regular marketing strategy with social media tactic integration.
In addition to socializing your existing marketing strategy, it’s imperative to align your email, search, and traditional advertising and marketing tactics with social. The most important point Izenwasser made was this:
“You don’t have to do everything, but you do need to do it well, and you need to integrate it.”
Social media words to live by. Thanks again for the great presentation.
You can follow Murray Izenwasser on Twitter @Murrayiz .