Developing a social-media marketing strategy entrepreneurial
In the past few years, social media and social networking have become integral to Internet marketing. If you are considering using this new marketing channel, but don’t know where or how to begin, then it may be helpful to learn how to develop a social-media marketing (SMM) strategy. Here is what I tell fellow entrepreneurs about developing a strategy.
Define Your Social-Media Marketing Goals
I start off by asking my peers to consider the following questions:
• What are the goals of your organization?
• Do you want to build your brand and increase the number of targeted visitor to your Web site?
• Do you want to improve communication among customers, employees and other stakeholders?
• Do you want to strengthen your relationships and increase profitability?
Determining exactly what you want to accomplish through a social-media strategy will drive prioritization of your actions.
Define Social-Media Marketing Initiatives
How can entrepreneurs use SMM and social networking to improve how a particular function is performed or how the entire organization performs? It’s easy: They can list appropriate programs, initiatives and projects that rely on social media and social networking and how they relate to their business goals.
Implement and Evaluate
Once the SMM and networking strategy has begun, entrepreneurs can begin to evaluate how the strategy meets their organizations’ goals. Interaction and engagement are key elements for building trust in a brand. The beauty of social media marketing is the opportunity it offers for the interaction and engagement that customers desire today.
Consider the amazing growth of the following:
Facebook : In 2007, Facebook had an estimated 65 million users, which is a 120 percent increase over the previous year. It was the seventh most visited site worldwide with an average of 250,000 new registrations per day. More than half of active users return daily for at least 20 minutes per visit, racking up 65 billion page views per month.
MySpace : More than 300 million users visited MySpace in 2007, which is an increase of four percent over the previous year. It is the fifth most visited site worldwide, averaging 320,000 new registrations per day.
YouTube : Every day, more than 100 million YouTube videos are played. Approximately 100,000 new videos were added in 2007. It is the second most visited site worldwide.
LinkedIn : The darling of the business community, LinkedIn has more than 18 million users with more than a million new members joining every month. In 2007, LinkedIn experienced a growth rate of a little more than 270 percent.
Not only should entrepreneurs monitor their own social media activities, but their SMM strategy should also include monitoring customers’ and potential customers’ social-media activities. Web analytics data, as well as active involvement in key social media sites, will help entrepreneurs collect quantitative and qualitative information in order to understand and adjust to the activities and goals of their customers.
These suggestions assume a “top-down,” SMM strategy model where the organization’s leaders implement and lead the adoption of blogs, wikis and social-networking systems. However, some folks may experience a “bottom up” adoption model where employees spontaneously engage in social networking and it rises to the level of an organizational initiative. In this case, a collaborative SMM strategy process that engages employees already taking advantage of social media can provide tremendous insight into ways to use these tools and techniques to reach your business goals.