Are you a social media marketer with no strategy?

New research has revealed that while over half of businesses are now using social media as a marketing tool, only half of these are actually employing any kind of strategy at all; with the rest sheepishly admitting to an ‘ad hoc approach’.

The report, compiled by the UK print and marketing specialists Catalogues 4 Business, also found that over a third of respondents were planning to add social media to their marketing mix this year, and not before time.

The alarming thing about this statistic is that those businesses investing time in social media without any kind of strategy are, via a process of deduction, investing their own money making time in an activity without any pre-determined objective.

So, for you guys, there are some basic questions you should ask yourself before investing any more time in social media marketing. If for no other reason than having all your people pointing in the same direction will limit the potential for crossed wires and should mean you’ll have a more joined up social presence:

  • What is our stated objective?
  • Who are our customers? How do they use social media?
  • How do they currently engage with our brand?
  • How can I leverage this through a social channel?

Once you’ve answered these, you’ll have a reasonable idea of where you want your social media marketing to take you. But it’s not just a matter of jumping in swinging; you wouldn’t invest hard cash in a DM campaign without doing a bit of research... would you?

Where do your targets engage in social media? Where are you most likely to be able to engage them? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are the main culprits, but key industry blogs and discussion forums shouldn’t be overlooked. Seek out your key competitors and the leading influencers in your industry or in sectors relevant to what you do.

Connect with these people, connect with your customers and get involved in the conversation, sharing your industry expertise by leaving thoughtful, useful comments on blogs.

Social media is all about a conversation, don’t bow to the temptation to use it as another sales channel, while a targeted, exclusive special offer has its place, people will often resent being sold to over social media.

Rudderless pounding away at social media without a strategy isn’t going to destroy your business, true, probably won't do it any real harm either. But aligning your efforts with your wider brand and business goals, ensuring your whole team knows you’re a social business will return far more on the time you’re investing.

Further reading:

We’re partnering with Social Media World Forum 2012, a leading social media marketing event in London on 27-28 March. We’ll be running our own, free-to-attend MarketingTech conference track. It’s packed with more info from leading industry figures, including some of our own contributors, covering, in-depth, how to compile your social media strategy, measure and analyse results, build your brand through social media and much more.  For more information, click here.

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