Let’s take a quick look at a typical social media marketing campaign structure (I’ll skip over the defining objectives as I’ll take it as a given you wouldn’t start any marketing programme without at least defining what you want to achieve):
1. Start by researching thoroughly the social media landscape to identify where your target audience is already engaging online
That’s right, the first step is not to set up your facebook page / linked in profile / twitter, which generally only takes only time. The first step in any campaign is to look at what is already being said and where around your brand, or the issues you want to address. This research can take time, expertise and money.
Of course setting up a facebook page is free, but what’s the point if your target audience is already engaged on a forum, or Linkedin group elsewhere?
2. Analyse what’s being said and identify core influencers
More research work I’m afraid. If you can identify what is already being said about your brand, you are in a better position to either create proactive messages to address any negative sentiment, or reward and thank your advocates – who by the way you want to ensure you build a strong relationship with.
I won’t go on because the point of this post is not actually all about social media marketing. There are oudles of other blog posts about that.
Instead I want you to think about the true cost of a marketing programme and how you can align your resources and expected value of any marketing engagement by selecting an appropriate tactic mix.
For example, many of you might have an objective of qualifying sales leads through your marketing. This can be done in a number of ways, such as through events or telemarketing.
However, which are you more likely able to achieve with your resources? Events are expensive both in time and money but could the same impact be achieved through a good telemarketing campaign?
What if you want to drive web traffic? If you are shy of money and time, should you opt for a Payperclick campaign instead of SEO? I would suspect the short answer there is to run with PPC in the short term and build SEO on top for long term view.
However, I’ve pulled together the chart below to illustrate my thinking here. Don’t be mistaken in thinking you will have the resources to deliver the type of engagement you need at every level and through every campaign. Social media marketing is not free and there may be other tactics more suited to your objectives and your available resources.
Dollar image courtesy of yomanimus on flickr.