Tag Archives: A-path

Digital Marketers Should Start to Build Relationships Off of Their Home Court

digital marketing

A good part of my working day is spent thinking about how I am going to build an audience from zero to one million and beyond. I have recently started at a new company where I am responsible for social marketing and audience development. (DivorceForce is an Online Community for those in a divorce, contemplating a divorce, or seeking knowledge to better plan their future… launching August 3rd) So as I have the responsibility to grow and cultivate the audience, I want to share with you my strategy for doing so.

I am lucky to have an exceptional digital platform with stellar content and forums for engagement as a starting point. You cannot have a mediocre home base and expect people to value your offering. Likewise, yon cannot build the field of dreams and just expect people to show up. This is the reality and challenge for all digital marketers.

I go back to a concept I have been preaching for well over five years. Some of you might be familiar with my A-Path methodology. If you want a full explanation of the A-Path, please see the “Holistic Social Marketing” section in the piece titled “Three Social Marketing Fundamentals”. For now, I want to concentrate on the beginning part of that path where you get people’s “Attention” and get them “Attracted” to your brand and its digital presence.

In the referenced piece I take you through the theoretical steps. But here, I will share with you the exact operation I am practicing. My objective is to collect followers and drive people to our site. BUT while that is my objective, my execution has to be externally driven, not internally driven. Thus my approach is to find people in my target segment that I can help. This is key … helping people. Try to captivate them by simply helping them. Aren’t you automatically interested in someone if they truly help YOU? Marketers are often handicapped at this, as they are often too caught up in their professional responsibility. This clouds their strategy and execution to the detriment of attracting people.

The first step of my execution is to select a limited number of keywords. The keywords are used to search social platforms, blogs, and other online media sources. I use the search to better understand people’s behavior and communication on the topic of interest. First I listen. Then I plot how I can get engaged in the conversation. It is not just about helping people… flattery goes a long way. I want to reinforce people that represent a similar position to that of my brand. I want to tell them thanks, great job, and what an inspiration they are. This emphasis must be authentic. At the same time I still want to find people that need help. I want to be there for them. I forget about my internal objective for a while, but really just want to find the right people and determine the best ways to engage with them – either reinforce what they are doing or support them in some manner. This is the essence of social marketing relationship building. At the same time, I start to determine which people have the greatest reach and influence on my potential target audience.

As I start to engage with people, I find the right moment to mention my brand and possibly our online assets. This must be at an appropriate time. Not forced. Not pushed. Following the A-Path approach, I want to make sure that I am attracting people (not being pushy with them). I want to introduce them to my brand digital assets when I really have their interest and start of trust.

Once you get people to your digital assets you must wow them. You only have one chance to make a first impression. You can further read the A-Path approach in the section recommended above to learn about building affinity, your audience, and advocacy. For now, I just wanted to share with you how you get audience development started. Often, that is the hardest part. Even if you are not starting at zero, don’t you need to build your audience? Think about the approach I have recommended here and …

Make It Happen,
Social Steve



Filed under brand marketing, marketing, social marketing, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, website

The Art of Marketing to Get Attention

attention As we experience The Super Bowl we question whether the football game or the commercials are the spectacle. Actually prior to 1984, football commanded the interest. But all changed that year on January 22nd when Apple’s “1984” commercial might have reshaped the highlights of The Super Bowl. Since then, we have seen countless extravagant commercials and our expectations are to be wowed at each commercial break.

There is a massive amount of creative work and planning that goes into a Super Bowl commercial. Now I am not suggesting that you need to put in the budget and time that the major brands do for a Super Bowl commercial, but I am suggesting that your marketing efforts include a heavy dose of creative time and resources. You cannot just wing it. You need to thoroughly understand your audience and create something that peaks their interest. This is a requirement of all brands … Not just big brands.

And creativity is not just reserved for commercials. Take the next marketing milestone for Super Bowl marketing … The “dunk in the dark Oreo” tweet. What is noteworthy about this social media marketing moment is that the tweet did not come from one guy/gal just sitting in the dark with an epiphany. A creative agency and Oreo executives all huddled together to brainstorm, copy-write, and image the tweet. Creative planning allows you to seize a moment and get ATTENTION.

This takes me to the second point about attention … Scale it appropriately for your brand. Yes, Budweiser is big enough to go for an audience of 170 million, but that is likely a bit big for your brand’s budget. You don’t need to blow your budget on the price of Super Bowl commercial to get attention for your brand. Even if you are simply a local brand, work your creativity to get your audience’s attention.

So let the Super Bowl marketing motivate your creativity and don’t think you are too small to grab some attention.

A Path Circle

But that is not the end of your marketing plight. It is just the beginning. And this is the last point I wanted to make here. What good is getting your audience’s attention if you do not activate them further? If you have read me before, you might be familiar with my “A-Path” methodology. cAs a brand, first I want to get your Attention; then I want you to be Attracted to my brand; then I want you to build Affinity for the brand; then I want you to opt-in in some fashion and become part of my Audience; and finally you work to get a subset of your audience to become your Advocate. And the cycle continues. Your advocates then work to get your brand objective attention.

So if you were wowed by The Super Bowl XLVIII commercials, think about how the brands are continuing (or not) to move their audience along the brand journey beyond attention.

Are you working on your brand’s complete marketing journey? Work hard for attention and even harder to get them emotionally tied to your brand by continuing on the A-Path.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve

Acknowledgement – Kimberly Potts – Is Oreo’s Super Bowl Blackout Tweet the Apple ‘1984’ of Social Media Advertising? for information regarding Apple and Oreo’s Super Bowl marketing milestones.

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Filed under ads, brand marketing, brands, Creativity, marketing, marketing plan, Social Steve, SocialSteve

Social Media Model that Defines the End of the World as We Know It

If I offered you $0.01 to work for a week, but promised to double your pay each week, would you take the job? If you work the math through you will find that by week 28, you would be making over $1 million a week. Started off slow, but the pay-off and long term result is big. You know, social media works the same way, but too many people are looking for the quick sale and looking for an immediate ROI. The wise marketing executives are in it for the long haul and are investing in social media to produce sustainable growth over time. If we look at the economy in the past four years, isn’t long term sustainable growth OK? Heck it is better than OK. Relatively speaking it is great.

And for the reasons above (as well as some great conversations with social media thought leaders), I am abandoning the social media marketing funnel that I have been trumpeting for a good while. It came down to one fundamental reason. The issue of sales. Here is the question – how does social media relate to sales? This is what so many are after when they bring up the question of social media ROI. Well here is the answer … social media increases the probability of sales. It is part of a marketing mix.

It is possible to define social media as a function of sales with extensive evaluation and regression analysis looking at all the marketing mix components and capturing cross media measurement. There are companies like MarketShare, ThinkVine, and SymphonyIRI Group that can do this for you. But in many cases, that is cost prohibitive. For many, they can intuitively accept that social media increases the success of SEO, SEM, paid media ads, as well as the non-digital traditional marketing endeavors. Social media contributions to sales is not immediate and is long term. Therefore it is difficult to measure. So why not simply look at the things that are easier to measure that lead to sales as well as looking at post sales metrics that contribute to customer life cycle value as well as word of mouth marketing.

If we concentrate on the things that lead up to a sale and the things after sale that are easily tracked, is this not an acceptable way to measure success? Is there not a value in looking at ROE (return on engagement) and recognizing that there is a definite value in engaging with your target audience; making them feel like your brand is a part of their life; building a relationships and trust? Does anyone debate that measured success here will lead to an increase in sales. So let’s measure and report on things that can be done quickly, won’t cost a ton to do so, AND ARE RELEVANT.

Take sales out of the equation. I am not saying that there is no sales attribute of/to social media. I am saying it is difficult to measure, if not cost prohibitive. If we take that stance, you should ask how then does social media relate to sales? Answer – it increases the probability of sales. It does this by generating awareness and influencing buying decisions (consideration) before a sale. Social media also increases loyalty and breeds advocates after a sale. So what we are left with is the social media marketing funnel I have previously defined without a sales stage. And if there is no sales stage in the measurement model, we certainly cannot use the funnel. What we are left with is “measuring social media success” as shown in the circular diagram below:

Yes, there can be other things that are measured, but this gives you some concrete examples of how we measure social media success. These four attributes increase the probability of sales and allow us to start measuring social media success.

A couple weeks ago, I recommended “How Social Media Helps Brand Building and Driving Profitable Business.” I suggested it was the intersection of “how customers engage with brands” (called Social Business) and “the way companies conduct profitable business” (called Relationship Enterprise). Relationship Enterprise is the diagram above and for review, Social Business is the way organizations should execute social media and looks like this:

This is also called the “A-Path.”

Now if we bring these two together, we have now defined “Social BrandAction” …

So, yes – it is the end of the social media marketing funnel. This new model represents the true business world of how customers engage with brands, and how brands build value. It also includes a scheme to measure profitable transactions that is easy to execute, not cost prohibitive, and unveils a true degree of success. It is based on return-of-engagement (ROE). ROE has long term ramifications. There are no short term scenarios to make a quick buck. Invest in long term sustainable profitable endeavors. Invest in social media and have realistic expectations and a method to measure your success.

I’ll leave you with a tribute to a great band that called it quits after five decades of awesome music. In the words of R.E.M. – “It is the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” Do you feel fine?

Make It Happen!
Social Ste


Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, BrandAction, brands, change management, Social BrandAction, social media, social media marketing, social media performance, social media ROI, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

How Social Media Helps Brand Building and Driving Profitable Business

Yeah, yeah, yeah … social media is getting beyond hype and everyone is getting in the game. And you are thinking, “There is no way I am going to get left behind”, but you’re concerned … how is it going to produce results for your business?

Let’s start with some simple basics. You need to build brand value that fits with your customers’ behavior and you need to drive profitable transactions that relate to your specific business objectives. So the building of brand value translates to how your customers engage with your brand and profitable transactions translate to the way your company conducts profitable business. In a social context, I call this “Social Business” and “Relationship Enterprise.”

What is a “Social Business?” First and foremost it is a business that is customer centric. And that customer centric approach needs to be very human and not corporate-like. Remember – people do business with people, not companies. And this requires engagement with the target market. Engagement such that there is brand-prospect-customer relationship building. The ultimate success is creating brand ambassadors and brand advocates. So social business is really the equivalent of relationship building. And social media relationship building is the A-Path (Attention > Attraction > Affinity > Audience > Advocate) that I have mentioned many times and defined originally in the article “Using the Social Media ‘A-Path’ to Capture Ultimate Customers.”

Now “Relationship Enterprise” is the way companies conduct profitable business. So many have asked, “How does social media contribute to sales?” I think the answer is straight-forward … social media increases the probability of sales. If you are part of a marketing organization you must be accountable and contribute to the business. The way you do this is with the Social Media Marketing Funnel I have defined. The Social Media Marketing Funnel describes how we lead prospects and customers through decision points to yield a sale. And after the sale, strengthen the customer-brand relationship. It consists of five stages (Awareness, Consideration, Conversion/Sale, Loyalty, and Advocacy) and defines a target segmentation or group, and psycho-demographic or individual state for each of the stages. The original definition was presented in the article “Social Media Conversion and the Social Media Marketing Funnel,” but I later recognized that the definition was not sufficient. Marketers need to be responsible to business objectives, so I introduced “Measuring the Stages of the Cyclic Social Media Marketing Funnel.”

So in essence, when I talk about social business I am talking about the social media A-Path which is a guide for social media execution. And when I talk about relationship enterprise, I am talking about the social media marketing funnel which should be used to identify your social media KPIs (key performance indicators).

And if you will allow me now to do a shameless plug – at MediaWhiz (where I lead the social practice), we call the intersection of building brand value and driving profitable transactions, BrandAction®. In our social media practice this is how it lines up …

Let’s get past my shameless plug. Social media is extremely powerful if you think of it in terms of Social Brand Action.” Social Brand Action brings together “Social Business” and “Relationship Enterprise.” The marriage of the two brings together an empathic focus and understanding of how your customers engage with your brand while examining the ways your company conducts profitable business. Work to find the coexistence of the two, you WILL have a kick @$$ social media program that produces measurable results.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve


Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, sales conversion, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

Where “Audience” Fits in Social Media

Hey, I love music and when I think of a great audience, I think of a Bruce Springsteen or Arcade Fire concert. Set your sights high – don’t you want to make that kind of a connection?

For those of you that have followed my blog, you know I often talk about the social media A-Path – Attention, Attraction, Affinity, AUDIENCE, and Advocate. (See “Using the Social Media “A-path” to Capture Ultimate Customers” and “How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully” for more information.) I think it is worthwhile to drill into what it means to have a brand audience.

Let’s start with the basics. Your target audience is really a target market segment. A target market segment is a set of prospects and customers with common needs, wants and preferences (requirements and buyer values) who reference each other when making buying decisions. YOUR audience is a subset of the target audience. It would be excellent if you capture the entire target audience, but that is unlikely.

Your audience is that group that continually comes back to your brand to hear what you have to say and engage with you and your brand. And it is not just to communicate with you. If you go back to the definition of target market segment remember that this group “references each other when making buying decisions.” So you don’t want your audience only to converse with you, but communicate among each other as well. All under the umbrella of your brand. And today, this is what we call a community.

You see “Audience” is a much richer experience than “Affinity.” Affinity means individuals like you, value what you have to offer, but “Audience” means they are “signing up” with you. As I previously mentioned in the article “How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully,” audience members show some type of investment. They provide equity of sorts and in social space – personal information is equity. It usually starts with a login name and password or could be as simple as an email address.

So now let’s relate audience and community. There are different types of community and they have different assets. No one community is right for all brands. You must state your objectives of the community and implement the appropriate community. BUT remember one thing – a community is not about your brand – it is about the people that are the members. You may draw people to your community because of your brand, but ultimately, you must deliver value to the members, give them freedom and control to involve the community as they see fit. To quote Mitch Joel, “The community decides when it’s a community… you don’t.” Yes, you set up the platform and people may start to come, but really the community environment and functionality are maintained by the members.

There are three basic types of communities in a social context.

The first, and maybe the most widely used, is a Facebook fan page – now called a “like” page. Facebook users like your brand and become a member. This means that your wall postings show up on their news feed. If a given Facebook user comments on your brand or writes a status on the like page wall, it shows up on the Facebook users’ friends news feed. This is extremely useful to produce sharing and viral content. But Facebook like pages have a significant liability. Facebook holds all the data on users of your like page and you have virtually no data on them. It is very difficult to engage with the users on your like page beyond the Facebook environment. From an “A-Path Audience” perspective, Facebook like pages are very good for CPG (consumer package goods) such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but pretty poor for B2B plays where greater audience-brand connection is required. For B2B, Facebook is a good starting place for “A-Path Attention and Attraction” but you want to go beyond that.

The next type of community is a “group” within a social network platform such as “LinkedIn.” (There are certainly other platforms where you set up a group, but I’ll use LinkedIn as an example here.) You can set up a group and use the LinkedIn platform as the channel for your brand community. There is some sharing and viral aspect here as one can see their connections groups and posting/comments to the group on a LinkedIn page. Here, you also have a little more data on the members than with Facebook. It most cases you have the individuals email address and this should be the start of your social CRM database.

The third type of community is building your own social network. This takes the greatest investment and on-going support requirements. The value here is that you have all the data on your audience. This environment makes sense for organizations that are content rich and plan to produces continuous content. Content by itself is not enough. You also need to concentrate on engagement. You must have a community manager that is responsible for brand monitoring, and engages, responds, and is accessible to the community members. The functionality and design of the brand community is imperative and is a topic that requires much more than I’ll go into in this post. (I am actually working on community strategies, implementations, and successful execution in my “day job.”)

I will offer up a few points that you must consider when planning your brand’s audience platform(s).

1) Recognize that a Facebook community is very different than most other communities from a “friend” perspective. In Facebook, most of the users are friends with their connections. They know each other from childhood, college, or later in life. They connect with acquaintances, if not friends. The same is not true in a LinkedIn “group” or brand developed community. People join these communities because of common interest and usually not based upon acquaintances. This means that for active participation and overall community success, the functionality, UI (user interface), marketing and incentives of the community need to be designed very different.
2) Monetization: For non-CPG environments, I often ask this question. If you had 100K Facebook fans or 100K members of your own community, where do you think you can monetize the users more easily? It is a rhetorical question.
3) The most important aspect of audience and community is planning. Know your target audience. Know your objectives. Make community platform decisions based on this. Have a plan and resource allocations in place to ensure continuous brand investment in your community.
4) Look to influence your community, not control it. Allow a strong sense of democracy and not a dictatorship. Otherwise the public will revolt.

I have just scratched the surface on the topic of audience and community. There is so much hard work that needs to go into this to generate success. This is not a free social media thing. But these are the fundamentals to set you on a positive path.

Please share your community experiences (positive and negative) here on this blog. Thanks!

Make It Happen!
Social Steve


Filed under brand communication, brand marketing, brand reputation, brands, community, Facebook, LinkedIn, social media, social media marketing, social network, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Uncategorized

How You Can Execute Social Media Successfully

You know you need social media to connect with customers. You are beginning to hear more success stories. But connecting the dots and defining how YOU can leverage social initiatives to win over customers has been elusive thus far. You are not alone – I hear this from so many. So let me help.

Almost one year ago, I wrote an article “Executable Game Plan for Winning Ultimate Customers with Social Media.”. I wanted to give some real examples and direction of how you could use the A-Path to deliver social media results. I made some simple suggestions defining how to find the right keywords to use; tweeting; reinforcing your position; using RSS, Facebook, LinkedIn and enewsletters; and establishing key one-to-one relationships with influencers. While all these examples are still applicable, generating positive results with them is a little more difficult than a year ago when I suggested them. Why? – The social space is more crowded now with more noise. You’re focus and objective must be to rise above the noise. Thus, this is kind of a re-look and a revamp a year later.

The way to rise above the noise is to have a kick @$$ marketing campaign using social media. Now I know there are many comments that social media is not a campaign; that it needs to be a continuous way of life for corporations, and I totally agree. It’s just that it should START the way marketers define campaigns, but run perpetually by having on going elements that always focus on relationships with your audience and delivering them value. The initial campaign definition should address solutions for accomplishing the sequential elements of the A-Path. How will I get someone’s Attention? Attraction? Affinity? How will I get them to be part of my Audience? And then turn some audience members into Advocates? Recognize that once you have advocates, they refuel the A-Path. They do crowd sourcing for you and get attention and attraction to your brand. This is what Jeff Hazylett often refers to as having others doing your marketing work.

So let’s take a quick look at ways to execute on the A-Path. Certainly not an exhaustive execution plan, but hopefully enough guidance that should put you on your execution path specific to your brand and its position …

First recognize the difference between being a known brand versus a start up. If you are a known brand, your “attention” efforts should be focused on endeavors that are likely to provoke sharing. Use your existing audience to tell their friends and network about your value. Put incentives in place. This could be as simple as bartering mentions (blogroll and tweet mentions). If you have a Facebook fan page, your members’ likes and comments show on their friends’ news feed. Getting them to “Like” the post makes your post show up on their friends’ news feed. This is a form of sharing and getting attention.

If you are not an established brand, you need to do something to stick out. DO NOT think, oh we’ll create something that will go viral. As Jay Baer says, “It is not viral unless it is.” Many have set out to accomplish this and failed … far, far more than those that have succeeded. Restating what I wrote in an article a year ago … understand how your target might capture information. Understand the keywords they use. Compare related keywords using Google Trends. Tag these keywords to your content. Define a plan for your content distribution looking at all the possible channels. Where is the target audience already congregating? Go there for starters and engage. Join the conversation.

Consider use of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, and other niche platforms, communities, and forums specific to your industry focus.

Gaining attraction is really just a continuation of getting attention. You’re activities and channels and really pretty much the same. But, once you get someone’s attention, you need to add two things to move them forward to attraction. First, you need to continue providing valuable information to them and reinforce both your brand position and the reason why you got their attention in the first place. Second, you need to engage with them. Not just broadcast. Think about what customer service really means and how you feel when someone at a company gives you the time of day, stops to respond to you, or simply says, “Thank you.” Continue to use the same social channels you used getting attention and engage there.

You move to affinity from attraction by having a greater focus on relationships. This will be accomplished by continuous engagement. To quote Mike Lazerow of Buddy Media, “the only way to scale social is with people.” People want to do business with those that they feel comfortable with. It takes people to build relationships – not an automated process. Affinity means people are latching on to your brand. You want to increase the number of Twitter followers, RSS subscribers for your blog, followers on a Tumblr blog, Facebook fans, bookmarking of your content, etc. You need to set (continuous) campaigns to increase “opting-in” at these channels. There are three ways you increase these numbers: 1) define incentive promotions for signing up and friend-sharing, 2) continue to deliver valuable and/or entertaining content, and 3) cross promote your socials channels.

From an entertainment perspective, an audience is usual a group of people that have paid to see a movie, show, or concert. They are one step deeper than an affinity group because they have invested some equity. In social space, personal information is equity. It usually starts with a login name and password or could be as simple as an email address. Ultimately, you want customer information so you can segment them appropriately and interact with them. Recognize you don’t get this from your Facebook fans. I am not knocking Facebook – it is an awesome platform to engage with your audience, but I would argue that you can only go so far as gaining affinity with your target market on Facebook. If you really want to take this one step further and have a true social audience, you need to define where you bring together your audience and be able to collect information about them over time. Some examples include email newsletters and social networks platforms (OneSite, Ripple6, KickApps, Elgg, etc), (You should have an information collection strategy that aims at getting more data, slowly over time, as your participants get deeper into brand loyalty and usage. You do not want to turn them off by asking for too much early on. Normal relationship building principles apply similar to building your personal relationships.)

Once you have established an audience you will notice some power users. These are the people that are on the platform on a regular basis, peruse most sections, and often are the most vocal. This subset of your audience represents potential advocates. The way to persuade them from being power users to becoming advocates is to acknowledge them and give them things that are special and unique. Recognition might be the most valued attribute as discussed in “The Power of Generosity” by Josh Bernoff.

So just a couple more things here. I realize this is long, but my wife has been bugging me to put some more useful information in my blog.

1) When I address the brands I work with, I often say one slide shows our social strategy. Here it is …

What I want you to take away from this is what I covered about the various A-Path steps described above. You start the early stages of the A-Path offsite. Then there is a cross over to your site or your platforms. You have the strongest success of the A-Path steps offsite in the beginning and the greatest success of the A-Path steps in the later stages on your platforms.

2) Many people ask me which social platforms are best. I have said numerous times, there is more to social media than Facebook and Twitter and even wrote an article “In Social Media, Twitter is Just the Start.” When selecting the most appropriate you should consider Brain Solis’ Conversation Prism. It was introduced in 2008, and an update was provided in 2009.

While new platforms continue to be introduced and gain popularity, the categories of social channels have not really changed. You should look at the bullet list of types social outlets, understand your target market preferences and plan appropriate places to get attention and attraction, build affinity and audience, and acquire advocates. I do really like the mind map method Solis recommends in the Conversation Prism V2.0.

This is a game plan to drive success, but no game plan ensures success. Winners take some calculated risk – they are not followers. Are you ready to be a winner and willing to create something new and innovative?

Make It Happen!
Social Steve


Filed under brand marketing, brands, community, Facebook, marketing, marketing plan, social media, social media marketing, social network, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Twitter, Uncategorized

Practicing What I Preach in Social Media

It is not a question of “to be or not to be.” Rather “how to be.” My emphasis lately is highlighting the “how” of social media more so than the “if”. I lived through a number of “how to go about social media” preparations this week as I have been preparing for three presentations on social media strategy for three different brands. Two of the presentations are for brands at Hachette Filipacchi Media (www.hfmus.com), where I work, and the other is to kickoff a film festival, WilliFest. Each offering (and thus each social game plan) were very different. Even the two at Hachette – different industries, audiences and objectives. One size does not fit all!

I went through the same process and approach for each. Maybe you can benefit from me sharing my take and some good reference points to help you develop your social media strategy and plan …

No matter what the product or content offering is, you want to provide something compelling and of value to your audience via your social media activities. You do not want to be selling to your audience but rather traversing them through a loyalty path as suggested in my A-Path approach. If you think in terms of achieving Attention-Attraction-Affinity-Audience-Advocates as a sequential process and design execution stages to accomplish this, while being sensitive to building relationships as opposed to selling, you’ll begin to appreciate the difference of social media implementations for any brand or person. The use and selection of onsite and offsite social channels will vary. (I’ll probably write an article about this shortly.)

For starters, think about what you need to decide before starting with your social media initiative. Well over a year ago, I provided a high level primer to help you structure these prerequisites. Also, recognize that your emphasis is on building relationships, not sales. People like to buy things from people (or brands) they feel comfortable with. This requires what I have termed the LCR Mentality – Listen-Conversations-Relationships.

Now at the end of the day, we all need to be accountable to driving revenue. After all, we’re not going to get a pay check if there is no revenue. And while I continually evangelize that social media is about awareness and lead generation as opposed to sales, I am not foolish enough to ignore sales. Social media needs to be INTEGRATED into as sales function. Social media is NOT a stand-alone thing. I like to use the traditional sales/marketing funnel approach. Know where the hand-offs are between sales, marketing, and social media.

So while it has been a challenging couple of weeks pulling together social media strategy and plans for numerous brands, the guidelines that I have been sharing with you for the past two years are really what I use myself. I thought it was important to review, re-emphasize, and share these foundations with you.

Try it out. Let me know if it works for you or not.

Make It Happen!
Social Steve

PS – If you are still questioning if social media is good for some business and not others, read “Is Social Media Right for Every Business” by Mitch Joel … great stuff.


Filed under brand marketing, marketing, marketing plan, social media, social media marketing, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve, Uncategorized