Getting social media right

Marketing Sherpa is a must-follow site for anyone involved in online marketing. Sherpa provides invaluable insight into current online marketing trends and solid research to support its conclusions. In a recent article, titled “Perceptions about Social Media are Changing,” Sherpa offers some priceless advice on corporate forays into the Facebook/Twitter scene.

The 17% of organizations who still believe social media marketing is basically free and should stay that way, are destined to get what they pay for.

Not surprisingly, those who have reached the strategic phase of social marketing maturity are far more likely to be producing measurable ROI or at least seeing signs of a return on their investment on the horizon.

On the other hand, marketers in the trial phase of social marketing maturity are more than four times as likely to not recognize the value this tactic has for organizations willing to invest appropriate time and resources.

Getting social media right takes time and planning. Jumping in haphazardly will only produce haphazard results, or none at all. Setting goals, and then devising a plan to achieve them, is the only way to go.

Your newsletter, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages should represent individual parts of a total marketing strategy. Each piece should work symbiotically with the others.

Readers who congregate on different media are often interested in different aspects of your company. Take the time to find out where their interests lie, and then cater to them.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have grown so rapidly because the personal interactions they provide are far more compelling than passive Web experiences offered elsewhere on the Internet. For companies, this offers an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to potential customers.

But attitudes on the Interent are far different than those encountered in traditional media, where audiences are largely passive. Talking at your readers, or trying to steer their conversations, will only drive them away. Once gone, they are unlikely to return.

Engage readers openly and honestly, and be part of their conversations, not a television blaring annoyingly in the background.