When I wrote about the need for a social network like Twitter - several years before Twitter was conceived - I never thought that my days would be filled teaching veteran marketers how to build social media service offerings.
Based on my daily interactions with marketing agencies, I believe we've finally reached the point where convincing companies that they need to be using social media to build awareness, audiences, traffic and leads is almost over.
Now it's about being able to speak to them in terms they understand (rather than in terms our social media peers understand), to explain why a social media strategy is absolutely necessary.
They've spelled out 12 key things you must consider when developing a social media program for your business.
It's a good handbook for in-house marketers, as well as agencies, who are still trying to figure out how to replace their piece-meal campaign-after-campaign approach with a full-blown social media program.
Here's the 12 Steps:
Audience Identification. If you know who your audience is, you're already one step ahead of the game. The next step is to figure out where they interact online.
Platform Development & Design. Figuring out how to engage and interact with this audience.
Brand Campaign Integration. It's possible for a social media program to piggyback off a good brand campaign, but it has to be transformed into its cooler younger brother.
Content Creation/Coordination. You must create a consistent message.
Goal Mapping. In other words, how do you measure your success? Is it brand mentions? Traffic? Email sign ups? Leads? Sales?
Brand Identity. Everyone that is engaging via social media on your team must understand your goals and messaging.
Audience Attraction. Larger brands like to start spreading the word of their new, fancy and glossy initiatives at the outset, but if your social media program is good, your audience will find them on their own and the spread the word for you.
Social Media Listening. If you don't know what people are saying about you and your products, their related interests and more, how are you going to interact with them?
Community & Social Responsibility. Social responsibility is increasingly expected of everyone - and this engagement is an essential part of your online identity.
Internal/External Community Engagement & Response. Be everywhere. All the time. It's up to you to let people know that you are listening, engaging, helping, and offering solutions.
Brand Advocacy. Authenticity and transparency are such huge aspects of social media, your social media and management team must be 100% on board.
Customer Service. Good customer service involves listening (within and outside of social media) and responding appropriately.