There is a lot of talk about Social Media but how does it really fit into your business? The need to create a social media marketing plan is an important step that can not be taken lightly. Often with new technologies that lack of understanding will cause mixed messages in the market. When potential and current customers get confused they keep going past you. Before you create a social media marketing plan, think long and hard what you want to accomplish. Do you have sales staff doing lead generation on Twitter? Or do you have marketing departments trying lead generation on LinkedIn by searching profiles and setting up groups. Often companies have a knee jerk reaction and sales, marketing and customer service go their own directions. The result is time, money and sales potential lost without a clear top down plan.
So what is the definition of Social Media? It is information content created by people using blogs, forums, RSS and websites. It is a fundamental shift in how people receive, read and share information and content. Social media transforms conversations from "one to many" to "many to many". Social media is a marketers dream and worst nightmare all at the same time. Potential customers can view current customers complaints and their good comments. Other people can suggest alternative products to yours and let thousands or more know about the alternative in less than 140 characters.
When you create a social media marketing plan, customer service must be part of the plan. This is the best way to perform damage control and is fairly simple to setup. Google offers two tools that are very useful, Google Reader and Google Alerts. You can set up Alerts that will search the news, web and blogs when your keyword is mentioned. A keyword could be your company name or product, you will get notified via email, feed or use Reader to organize the alerts. A customer service department now has the ability to head off any upset customers and become a customer's white knight.
For marketing, this is an excellent way for lead generation on the web. Not all news will be bad. When there is good news, that can be used for product development or a reference. Lead generation on Twitter is an excellent way to find groups of people that would be interested in your products. This information could also be used as product development and thought of as a large focused group. Twitter is also a great way to get your message to those people that are most interested in your products.
When you create a social media marketing plan it will also include lead generation on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has the ability to setup groups that would match your industry and perform lead research on potential customers. The information found is much more focused than just doing lead qualification by normal means. It is important to create a platform of sales and marketing to work together.
Steps to create a social media marketing plan:
- Define your goals – Lead Generation, Customer Service, Brand Awareness are some key areas, so weight them. Like any goal, create ways to measure success.
- Develop a virtual team – The team would have made up from several departments with a senior exec responsible for the team. Note: this should not be set up as its own department to prevent another silo from being developed.
- Determine what existing processes can be used or enhanced – Do not reinvent the wheel. Most current process can be enhanced and made more efficient.
- Identify customer niches – Look at the types of people that use your products and look at new ways to reach them. Remember selling 40% to 5,000 is better than 1% of 100,000.
- Create a "Cost Per Lead" model – ROI is more of a big picture of a campaign but it can give false information for day to day.
As you start to create a social media marketing plan, opportunities for lead generation on Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs will start to show themselves. Please understand that SEO was not discussed since that is a result of a well defined and management supported Social Media marketing plan.
To learn more on how to find niches, lead generation, social book-marking and cost per lead visit NewAgeLeadGeneration.com . Learn to use tools to find niches and keywords to pre-qualify leads to save time and effort.