New Social Media Network Road Map

04/03/2012

Recently Jay Baer asked a question on his blog that led to over 100 comments. Based on an interview that Guy Kawasaki conducted with INC Magaine, Jay wanted to know, "Is social media strategy required or redundant?"  As I began to join the comment thread, I realized that my response was a "post" and not a "comment." Toss of a pink boa to Jay for inspiring this post.

From the content on Diva Marketing, you can probably guess which side of the fence I'm on. Not to make things more complicated, but especially in social media marketing, you can't expect to build a strategy without first understanding the "tools" e.g. blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. 

Much of our learning about social media/networking is derived from experience and experimentation.

When a new social network tool hits the virtual scene making the decision to include or not to include and when takes you down a different road than if you were to incorporate email, advertising or public relations. Why? Glad you asked.

Answer: We have no history to base our decision. At the early stage there are probably few examples from specific industries or customer bases. Dare I say it, at this point in the game there are no "best practices." It's not a surprise that many marketers take the wait and watch approach

Although I agree strategy is critical, in order to determine if a technology should be considered you must first understand the tool. Although most social networking platforms include some sort of engagement and sharing features, each new category tool is slightly different. Each also brings a unique set of benefits and challenges.

I created a 4 step, call it a road map, to help you think thought the process. Let's use the newest darling of the social networks -- Pinterest as an example.

World map free digNew Social Media Network Road Map

I.  Before You Begin Questions

1. Does the brand lend itself to social visual content/communication?

2. Do we have the resources e.g. time, people and budget to create and maintain?

3. Will our customers and prospects enjoy and use this tool? Note: Your answer to this may be "yes" but your customers may not be using the technology yet. Now would be a good time for early learnings and testings. 

4. Is our culture open to learning without direct ROI? Note: In the early stages of a social media technology don't fool yourself that you know where the real benefits will occur. 

5. What unique issues might your company face? For Pinterest that might include: Terms of service, copyright, pinabilty of your own visuals. 

II. Tool Specifics Incorporated Into Enterprise Social Media Guidelines 

Example social network: Pinterest

Note: We'll assume that your company has created Enterprise Social Media Guidelines. If not here are some examples.

Note: These are not strategies 

1. What type of graphics are appropriate and which are not?

2. What type of sites will you pin from and which will you avoid?

3. How will you manage Terms of Service and copyright?

4. How will links to your pins be handled?

5. How will attribution be acknowledged?

III. Create A Whisper Campaign

1. To learn in a (relatively) safe environment, I encourage clients to explore and experiment with the tool by creating a page that does not relate to the company, brand or aspects of their personal lives that they don't want to share in a public forum.

Perhaps it's about a hobby, favorite sport or your favorite shoe designer. Not only will you have an understanding of the logistics but of the culture .. critical in social media/networks. Have fun, learn and when you're done feel free to delete the page. 

2. Don't have time to develop your own knowledge base? Find support through a consultant who has done the ground work and understands not only the tool but how it can support your brand, your culture and that of the social network. She can share critical learnings as she guides you to avoid mishaps in a new social networking space. 

 IV. Strategy 

Now you're ready to hit the strategy route.

You know the drill here: goals/objectives, metrics, content and the beat goes on ..  Keep in mind there are two ways to incorporate social networks into your marketing or business plan.

1. Stand alone - the social network is maintained as a long-term tactic.

2. Integrated - into other initiatives e.g. advertising campaign, trade show, new product launch campaign. For the most part, integrating social media into an imitative has a beginning, middle and end.

An example is the Pinterest Kotex Campaign where the boards were deleted after the campaign was over. (Diva Marketing Post: Kotex + Pinterest + Innovative Campaign) Or for a trade show the social media/networking elements may live forever on a special micro site.  Luggage free dig

Good luck on your next social media adventure! 

 Grapic credit: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grapic credit: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Comments

Marketing is the all-encompassing process of getting a product or service in the hands of your customers. The steps involved include market analysis, product creation, advertising strategy and distribution. It took me years to just get my foot in the door, but all the time and effort was worth it. I have free information about this on my site http://urmoneymarketing.web.com

Posted by: Ali on Apr 8, 2012 4:27:22 AM

Social media is indeed a great spot for online marketers. I am using the Facebook Marketing Strategy and these road map you've shared is very interesting! I can use it then. Thanks for sharing :)

Posted by: Vicky Morgan on Apr 12, 2012 6:36:06 AM

the key to social media is to mix with old school methods of marketing. You want people to embrace your product. Therefore, you need a personal touch.

Posted by: benita wheeler on Apr 13, 2012 8:41:01 PM

You should consider entering into a new river like Pinterest, but you shouldn't wait to long - it's a big opportunity to be the first mover and gain a lot with your fast move... Pinterest is a good example - try to craft a tactic for your company with Pinterest and just jump there, and then you can learn it and decide if it's ok to stay there.

Posted by: Michał Sławiński (The Digitals) on Apr 19, 2012 9:31:01 AM

In business marketing, we need to be smart in our ways in order to bring out the best strategy in every moves we make.

Posted by: Steve Prayer on May 23, 2012 11:24:40 PM

Smart planning helps social media work. You need to be very sure about everything.

Posted by: Jessica M. Obrien on Jun 4, 2012 9:13:14 PM

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