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Social Media

The newest set of tools in a marketers’ toolbox is Social Media. It is current, immediate and exponential in its reach. Social Media should be incorporated into a business’ or brands’ marketing mix the same way other marketing tools are incorporated; by evaluating whether or not it is a viable solution that achieves the strategic objective of the overall marketing plan.

Here’s a six-step primer for either a business or brand to contemplate when considering Social Media.

  • Social Media Audit
  • Reputation Monitoring
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Social Profile Creation
  • Blog Design and Set Up
  • Content Management and Creation

Social Media Audit
At the outset of an endeavor, and then regularly at set intervals, it is wise to conduct a Social Media Audit. An audit will identify the company’s social graph, set measurable benchmarks of involvement, and consider the presence of competitors. It’s a score card of sorts to determine if or where a company is positioned within the Social Media sphere. It also helps a company make decisions about their level of involvement in Social Media. Do they watch from the sidelines, do they make a tentative entry in the space or do they increase their current level of involvement to maximize exposure? An audit can provide the background for sound decisions.

Reputation Monitoring
The natural extension of an audit is ongoing monitoring, especially Reputation Monitoring. It is vitally important for a company and/or brand to listen to what’s being said about them in the market. Whether its sharp criticism or powerful praise, any mention of a company helps them discover their strengths and weaknesses which can be critical to brand management. Negative mentions can be addressed quickly to limit their impact while positive mentions can be exploited to extend their reach.

Social Media Strategy
If and when a company decides to enter the Social Media scene, a Social Media Strategy can help guide their efforts for more succinct success. Each company’s Social Media Strategy is unique, so where and how a company joins the online social conversation is key to their success. Figure out what it is that you’re trying to accomplish and then choose the appropriate platforms to participate. For instance some companies may want to use Social Media as a customer relations contact point. Others may want to create a community of like minded individuals to share knowledge, technology or social commentary around a particular topic. Still others may want to use it to build reputation or as a means of gathering information and feedback for product research. Having a plan in place helps the Social Media team stay on target, on topic, and collaboratively working toward the same outcome.

Social Profile Creation
With a sound strategy in place, the step of Social Profile Creation is made easier. The strategy defines the path to take, so less time is wasted on creating profile accounts in untargeted and inappropriate media. Create the profiles to setup up the accounts needed to participate according to the strategy. You’ll also want to think about profile management so duplicate efforts of posting to multiple accounts can be minimized.

Blog Design and Set Up
If a company decides to dive into the Blogoshpere, some often overlooked aspects are the actual Blog Design and Set Up. Evaluate your goals, determine the most appropriate blog platform for you. Then add the blog to your existing website or create the blog as a stand alone site depending on your needs. It’s valuable to have a designer create either a custom design or a modified template design for the blog to match your existing brand guidelines for a unified visual presentation. You’ll also make research possible plug-ins to improve the user experience.

Content Management and Creation
To fuel your blog, you’ll want to layout a plan for Content Management and Creation. This will provide content topics and ideas, suggested publish dates, will identify the responsible parties and synchronize blog topics with the efforts of the larger marketing strategy. This ensures that your blog always has fresh, relevant content on a regular schedule. Frequent, scheduled updates keep your blog viewers interested and coming back for more useful information. It also provides search food (new content) for the search engines to consume which leads to improved search engine optimization for your site. Creating the content can then be handled by your in-house staff or outsourced to create the original content for your posts.

Social Media puts the "public" into PR and the "market" into marketing.

-- Chris Brogan