Putting the Social Web to Work

Going into this weeks Super Bowl both Green Bay and Pittsburgh will have game plans. Those plans will likely evolve throughout the game but before the first snap there was a plan.

Most successful businesses have an overall business plan that likely includes an individual marketing plan. It makes sense, right. So why, when I talk to people about social media, do I find many that have no social media plan?

You need to have a social media strategy in place with goals and objectives. This plan needs to be incorporated into a marketing plan, which is then part of your overall business plan. Without these, how do you know what actions you should be taking?

Before we go any further lets make sure that we understand the landscape. What most people call Social Media is really the Social Web. The Social Web is made up of Social Networking and Social Media.

  • Social Networking: Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter where a primary emphasis is on building networks of people ideally made up of your target prospects.
  • Social Media: Sites such as You Tube, Blogs, and Flickr where the primary emphasis is on sharing content. These sites provide space to host and disseminate your content.

The interesting thing is that there is a cross over on social networking and social media sites. You can share content on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can also build communities on You Tube, Blogs, and Flickr.

One of the key differences between Traditional Advertising & Marketing, and the Social Web is how you interact with your prospects or communities.

In most forms of traditional advertising you are sending out a message that is one sided. You hope that those who respond do so based on your call to action. You can drive responses but typically this requires sending the recipient to a location where they have the opportunity to respond.

In the Social Web, the response is in the medium itself. When you post content your communities or prospects can respond through the medium. This allows you the ability to engage in a two way conversation. It allows the communities to engage within itself.

You have the opportunity to communicate and engage in a number of ways. You can start conversations, build credibility through the content you share, build trust, educate, inform, and even entertain to share value. In addition Google is indexing a lot of the content you share which helps you be found by those who may not yet be a part of your community.

Regardless of the type of product or service you offer, someone out there is looking to be engaged and educated about it in order to make a more informed purchase decision.

When you build your communities make sure that you do so with purpose. While it’s great to say you have a LinkedIn network of 5,000 people or 10,000 Twitter followers, the value will be dependent upon the number of potential prospects that are in your networks.

At Social Media Sonar we are what you would call open networkers. If someone feels that we are worth connecting to we will generally accept the connections request, friend them back, or follow them them back. You never know where that next opportunity might come from. When we initiate a connection, though, we do so only if its a potential resource, partner or prospect.

Many people use social networks for personal and business reasons. The goal as an individual is likely to be to share and learn from others, and have a social space to interact. As a business the end goal should be to simply monetize your efforts.

That doesn’t mean that you should focus exclusively on selling. But rather, you should seek to share content and value that is desired by the community of your prospects so that if they ever have a need for your services they know you, like you, and trust you.

It’s not an overnight strategy. You need to take the time to properly ingrain yourself into the community and understand that over time your results will be dependent upon how the community views the value of what you share.

Combined with traditional advertising & marketing, the Social Web forms and effective means to engage self built communities on an ongoing basis to drive sales from conversations rather than sales pitches.

What do you think?

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Published by

Sean Nelson

Sean has been a Keynote speaker at Norvax University, conducts social media workshops and webinars, and has released three books on LinkedIn and written several social media guides. Sean currently runs Social Media Sonar, which in addition to providing free resources, manages social media strategies and tactics for companies. He is also a partner in Surge Labs, a conversion rate optimization company, helping companies improve conversions and profitability through scientific testing of Landing Pages, Websites, Email communications, and Shopping Carts.