imagesLike a Business Plan or an I.T. Strategic Plan you should know why you are using Social Media Networks. Most businesses are oblivious to this marketing phenomenon and really don’t understand it’s value. The challenge is that when someone asks what it is, they talk like it’s a bunch of friends getting together for coffee and chatting it up. It’s more than a water cooler. In my opinion, FaceBook has cornered the market on catching up with old school buddies but it really hasn’t figured out how to be more than a playground for old friends on recess. Just my point of view, you may feel different about it.

If you think you have to have a large business to enter into the Social Media arena, your dead wrong, all you need to do is build a plan, then you will experience it’s true value. Despite what you may think, it’s not about advertising, positioning and jockeying for the #1 spot on Twitter Grader, that isn’t the goal. Google does this already but doesn’t tell you their secrets on how they control who gets ranked the highest. If you don’t plan the use of this new marketing environment you will waste time and wonder what happened, you’ll wonder if it wasn’t a distraction from you current goals and objectives. You will eventually use those tools as one way to measure your standing but you will be planting a banyan tree so don’t expect an immediate return on your investment.

So what’s am I talking about?

Let’s assume you have a business plan and you actually sat down and built an I.T. Strategic Plan, which one does the Social Media Strategy fit into? Truthfully? It doesn’t fit into either, it should be in your Marketing Strategy, unless you’ve decided to build your own Social Network, build a team to run it and build the infrastructure to support it, only then should it go into your business plan as a way to promote and develop brand. I’ll also assume you have a good understanding of the fore mentioned plans, if not, go study them before you start down this trail.

Building a large following is not as hard as it may seem, it does requires time & effort, it also requires a carefully crafted message to ensure you obtain reach that will generate activity and eventually revenue. So, your vision should be more about how you will use it rather than making it an entity all it’s own, where will it fit in the marketing strategy and what resources will it require, how big will it be and who on your team knows anything about it? Do you need to hire a consultant to help you incorporate Social Media into your marketing efforts? The questions are many and there many of us that can guide you to a sound plan in using the likes of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the great many others.

First Steps:

1.) Review your Business Plan

2.) Review your I.T. Plan if you have one

3.) Build a team to work with a consultant

4.) Hire an outside consultant to walk you through the need for Social Media Marketing

Wading into the Social Media Environment doesn’t have to be difficult, get help and build your plan. Until next time, be good, if you can’t be good, be yourself 🙂