Social Media Mapping: Discipline, Please
Four out of five U.S. online adults now participate in social media. Social networking penetration climbed from 58% of Internet users in 2008 to 86% in 2009 and 80% of female Internet users said they had become a fan of a product or brand on a social network.
Given these surprising adoption statistics, I'm perplexed about the lack of investment, trials and cases proving social media ROI. It's time we brought social media more credibility. Like every other medium, there needs to discipline around the strategy, technology, process and measurement of social media.
Of course, there are companies that are testing social media strategies, but it seems like everyone is throwing anything and everything at the wall to see what sticks. People are tweeting from conferences and events, ads are populating Facebook and YouTube and spam is sloshing around forums and chat rooms like beer at a tweet-up.
Anyone with a Twitter handle gets instant credibility. It's time we increased the discipline and strategic planning around social media and give it the same respect we do every other marketing channel.
Companies should utilize traditional strategic mapping and channel mix analysis with their social media programs in the same way they apply these discipline to other channels. Discipline forces consideration of return-on-investment and leads to better integration with the other channels. This "Social Media Mapping" will result in better results, which will fuel further investment in this underserved medium.
Here are six points to help you map a more effective social media marketing experience:
- Always start with your legal team to review your corporate non-compete and IP policies. They can help with trademark and domain questions that often arise. You want this team involved early to help inspire marketing programs that follow FTC guidelines and your own policies.
- Focus on your primary marketing objective, including strategy, tactics and measurement for any social program. Apply these disciplines and I guarantee it will shape your program with intelligent rigor.
- Lay a positive foundation by providing social media guidelines for your employees. In the absence of leadership, your employees will make up their own rules. Get in front of it and guide their participation (especially if you plan on launching a social media marketing program).
- Monitor other social media sites that are relevant to your business. There are great tools to follow company names and keywords to help you stay in front of opportunities.
- Develop a crisis strategy in advance and anticipate eventualities and how you will respond. Time is of the essence in social media and your response time will determine your ability to successfully participate in the conversation.
- Build measurement tools into links so you capture the data that will determine success or failure. There are powerful link strategies that allow you to gather data beyond "follows" and "friends."
By applying these traditional marketing disciplines to social media, we'll bring more credibility, accountability and innovation to marketing.