There seems to be a million blogs and articles out there about using social media to drive leads with varying views from, “I still don’t get it” to “I can’t live without it.” In either case, the technology is moving at lightning speed and tough to keep up with. But let’s talk about how to actually use these tools effectively.

Take a deep breath and try to remember social media (i.e. microblogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, video, etc.) are tactics. Blogger Lee Odden defines social media as:

“The technologies on the Web and mobile that enable people to create, publish and share content as well as connect/communicate with others.  Brand control is in the hands of consumers, not companies. So marketing on the social Web means informing, educating and even entertaining those communities of people that care about the issues, problems, wants and needs met by your company.”

As with any marketing effort, you need to start with a PLAN. If you have your integrated marketing strategy set for the year, look at your overall objectives to see how social media tactics help to achieve your objectives. (Don’t have a plan developed? Give me a call for help.) I’ve talked to many people who think they can start a Twitter account or a Facebook page and people will find them. Or they’ll send out a few invites and their followers will grow. Ahhh…if it were only that easy.

Growing a following takes time, dedication, thought and (here it is again) PLANNING. Just because you can set up an account in seconds doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think it through and determine how it’s going to help you achieve your goals. An entire industry has grown around planning, implementing, listening to and measuring the effectiveness of social media – Active Integrated Marketing’s services included. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. This is one of those times where it’s worth it to invest in a consultant or to hire an agency that specializes in these areas to help you.

Here are a few other useful tips:

  • Get smart about the new options that are out there for you as a marketer. If you haven’t already, start your own Twitter account or Facebook page. Spend time playing around with it, following people, asking people to follow you. If you do choose to hire an outside resource to help you, you will have an easier job finding the right one if you understand what you’re asking for.
  • Buy a book! If you live in the B2B world like I do, try “Social Marketing to the Business Customer” by Paul Gillin and Eric Schwartzman.
  • Talk to your colleagues that might have some experience doing this and don’t shy away if you’re feeling “dumb” about it. I can see in a client’s eyes every time they are “shutting off” the conversation about these tactics because they are overwhelmed by the technology. We’re all in this together and we’ll learn from each other.
  • Don’t proclaim, “Twitter (or Facebook, YouTube, blogging, etc.) is a waste of time.” These technologies aren’t going away and are going to continue to grow and change rapidly. As a smart marketer, you need to sharpen your skill set to understand them or you’re going to be left far behind your competition.
  • Provide usable and interesting CONTENT. Followers won’t come back if you don’t give them a compelling reason to do so.
  • Incent them. Set up contests, polls, white papers, etc. Giving something back makes the experience interactive and keeps you more top of mind.
  • Connect your accounts. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog and other sites all connect to each other to allow you to easily share your tweets, posts, etc with your network.
  • Have FUN! Let your personal or brand personality come through. Be consistent with your brand tone or message whether it’s 140 characters on Twitter or in longer blog.

So, as you embark on expanding your integrated marketing campaigns to incorporate social media, spend the time, energy and money to learnplan and promote, promote, promote and then promote some more. And if you need some help, please give me a call.


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