Venturing Out Into Social Media? Start Here

Although many major companies are still skeptical about getting involved in the social landscape – research shows 96% of these brands expect to dedicate more time and resources to social media initiatives over the next year.

While more brands are familiar with social media now, knowing that you probably need a presence in the social space and knowing what you’ll do there are two entirely different things. And, speaking from personal experience, selling social to the skeptics – in the C-Suite and beyond – is still a whole lot of work. As it should be.

It always helps if you come prepared with a concrete outline of exactly what you can expect from spending time, effort and budget dollars on integrating social media into your marketing strategies. It also helps if you can be sure you’re working with a team who understands marketing – and the importance of a comprehensive strategic plan – and not just some social media ninja who talks a good game but wouldn’t know marketing if it bit him – or her – in the nether regions.

The good news is the perceived value of being engaged in social media is becoming more apparent to brands. 85% of marketers view their Facebook fan pages as a good place to gain consumer insights – as well as a tool that can help them build consumer loyalty. A lot of brands seem to be putting more eggs in the Facebook basket than what I think is prudent, but that’s a topic for another post. Smart businesses – and smart business people – are also flocking to LinkedIn which, with 100 million users, only makes sense. We spend a lot of time using LinkedIn for our own business, as well as training our clients to leverage this powerful platform for networking, prospecting, sharing resources and more.

But, knowing where to spend your time in the social media realm is always the difficult part. We don’t ever recommend diving into social media without a solid strategy in place – one that takes into consideration where your customers and prospects are, what your ultimate goals for reaching, connecting with and/or engaging them in the social space is, and what represents success for you as the result of the effort and monies you spend.

So if your brand is starting to “get it” and you want more specifics about various social media sites and what you can expect for them to provide (e.g. more web traffic, better SEO, more opportunities for engagement, etc.) check out this chart that was developed by the smart folks at CMO.com called The Social Media Landscape 2011. This chart outlines a variety of social networks and includes key features and benefits of each.
CMO.Com Social Media Landscape 2011

And, because we know you’ll wanna, if you’d like a handy-dandy downloadable PDF of the chart, get it here. Of course, if you’d like some help with figuring all that social media stuff out, we’re here to help. We’ve been told we’re pretty good at it.

Photo credit: brycej

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Man, I love me some chart!!!

    I can’t wait to get all nerd with this one!

    That’s also awesome how you manage a client’s expectations by helping them see realistically what success will look like for them. I imagine, when done right, this saves you a ton of drama. Thank you Shelly for reminding me of such an important point!

  • Heather Ostrom

    Great post Shelly!

  • GK@Kieding Office Architects

    It should be obvious from these posts why people and companies–like ours–are confused and overwhlemed as to where to start andwhat to do after that. Everybody is a social media “expert” these days, and it’s nearly impossible to accurately determine who is and who isn’t, until you drop a few hundred bucks on it–if you’re lucky…

  • http://twitter.com/barrettrossie barrett rossie

    Shelly, thanks for sharing the chart. The one thing I tell clients (and have to remind myself sometimes) is that you learn by doing. If you’ve decided that this stuff isn’t for you, and you don’t want to spend any time on FB, Twitter, Linkedin, etc., that’s ok if you want to avoid your customers and prospects. Most people and companies I know are not in position to retire just yet, so we’re dedicating time to social media.

  • http://twitter.com/barrettrossie barrett rossie

    Shelly, thanks for sharing the chart. The one thing I tell clients (and have to remind myself sometimes) is that you learn by doing. If you’ve decided that this stuff isn’t for you, and you don’t want to spend any time on FB, Twitter, Linkedin, etc., that’s ok if you want to avoid your customers and prospects. Most people and companies I know are not in position to retire just yet, so we’re dedicating time to social media.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad you enjoyed, Lewis. I love charts!!

  • Anonymous

    More importantly, what did your peeps think, HO?

  • Anonymous

    Always a good strategy, Barrett. I know a fair amount of people who have been looking down their noses at social media for awhile …. and those very same people are starting to email about getting together to “pick my brain” about “this whole social media thing” because they realize it’s not going away. All social venues aren’t right for all businesses – but figuring out where your customers and prospects are is a good place to start. Thanks for coming by!

  • Anonymous

    I can certainly see why people are confused and maybe overwhelmed, but figuring out what to do and/or who to hire to help you isn’t really all that hard. Not much harder than figuring out what architect to hire. There are a lot of crappy ones out there, and some who are amazing. Finding the person or firm who resonates with you and who can help you figure out what elements of social media to integrate into your marketing efforts should be just like hiring any other professional. Ask your friends. Check references. Use your eyes and visit websites, read blogs and do your homework. It’s really not hard – or even all that overwhelming – once you just set you mind to doing it.

    And, of course, please let us know if we can help in any way. Thanks for coming by – your comments and input are always appreciated.

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