Social marketing also covers blogging, which only really started in December 1997 and started to take off much later around 2003/2004. Similarly Twitter started in March 2006 and continues to gain followers.
Social marketing experts tend to be people who are self-taught and usually have an Internet marketing and geeky background – guilty on all counts!
Why use social marketing at all?
Firstly, there are some companies that don’t even need it.
However, for the vast majority social marketing is a very worthwhile experiment. Be careful though as it does have a time cost and if you’re not careful you can lose your way.
So the most important thing to recognise about social marketing is that it must be integrated into your overall marketing strategy.
Using such an approach means that you can combine your use of social marketing with advertising, customer relationship building, customer service, sales, pr, telesales – you name it!
So social marketing can increase the number of times you interact with your prospects and customers. It can also increase your speed of response, which can defuse critical customer service problems more rapidly.
Your first forays into social marketing should be viewed as experimental and changeable as you need to find what works for your company.
Social Marketing Working For You
It’s easy to get started with social marketing. But it’s important that you work out your goals first.
Do you want to position your company as one of the experts in your field? Maybe you want to be seen as a thought leader? Perhaps all you want are leads or to handle customer service?
Whatever your goals are, they should be written down and agreed before anything else happens.
Then look at your customers and prospects. What social tools do they use? Which ones could you encourage them to use to talk with you?
Then look at the social media you want to use. Find the appropriate tools that make lighter work of social media. For example there are offline blogging clients that make blogging easy. Or Twitter clients that make customer service a snip.
Above all, don’t be afraid to find some help on social marketing. Some of us have been through the learning curve and can help evolve a social marketing strategy and advise on tools to assist you.
The important thing is not to re-invent the wheel and to make a decision about whether social marketing is right for you right now.