Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing PlanIntegrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Plan
Integrating social media into your marketing plan does not change the process. It just adds new activities. Social media allows you to reuse your marketing assets in new places. Learn how.
Having spent the past two decades in various marketing roles, I have found that starting with a solid marketing plan greatly increases the probability of a successful product launch, awareness campaign, or lead generation program. I generally start with the target audience and our goals and use those parameters to create a detailed plan. Social media does not change this process. It does, however, add some new activities. Social media makes it much easier for you to put marketing assets, which you were creating anyway, in places where your customers and prospects can find them.
When I create a new marketing asset, such as updating a datasheet to support a new version of a product, I:
• Post a status update with the URL on the relevant LinkedIn page.
• Tweet about it and include a link to the document.
• Blog about the benefits of the new version and include a link to the document.
• Upload it, related presentations, and white papers to SlideShare.
• Start an online discussion about why the new features are relevant to my audience and include a link to the document.
• Monitor existing online conversations and engage, quoting the content.
• Invite key customers to participate in the dialogue on social media.
A new customer success story provides you with lots of great content to leverage on social media. If your customer is doing a webinar to share their positive experience with your product, you can promote it using social media and engage with your online community to determine what they are most interested in learning about.
While traditional marketing assets (datasheets, solution briefs, white papers, slide decks) still play a significant role in the sales process, social media has shifted expectations about how people like to consume content. Now, people expect to find information in easy to digest chunks, in a multitude of formats, including video, and in places where they go to find information already, including search engines.
Marketers often make the mistake of viewing social media in isolation when they really need an integrated marketing plan. In this scenario, a social media strategy supports the overall marketing strategy and is not seen as a detached activity.
For campaigns, social media provides additional channels to reach your audience. In addition to direct marketing via email, traditional mail, and phone, you can put your offers and calls to action on social sites where people in your target market congregate. As with other digital marketing initiatives, you can track which sites, headlines, and offers deliver the best results. When you have to provide the return on investment for the time and money you have been spending on social media, you will have the information you need to create reports, analyze, and optimize your marketing spending.
Also consider doing a podcast (see Rule 11, "Podcasts are Easy") or a video (see Rule 20, "Exploit Video with YouTube"); it can be as simple as a 2-minute white board session recorded with a pocket video camera.
Social media provides an opportunity for dialogue with customers and prospects, enabling you to focus your marketing activities on what matters to them most. You can learn their priorities and challenges, allowing your product managers to fine tune product roadmaps as they learn new information about where their solutions fit into the overall market.
If your sales team is typical, they continually request new campaigns and marketing materials so they have a compelling reason to go talk to their accounts. Since you are building these assets anyway, why not leverage them on social media to build awareness and generate leads? Your credibility as a marketing professional, and probably part of your bonus, depends on it.
© 2012 Peter Spielvogel
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This excerpt by Peter Spielvogel, courtesy of Editor Laura Lowell, is Rule 6 from "42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing". Peter Spielvogel uses social media extensively to listen to customer sentiment, build awareness, and generate targeted leads for SAP. You can learn more about Peter at http://linkedin.com/in/PeterSpielvogel. You can get a free, no obligation excerpt for this book and others at the 42Rules book store.