Thirty social media marketing questions every marketer needs to ask.
As you make your 2012 marketing plans, consider what you need to do to take your social media marketing to the next level. To ensure your firm's maximizing its social media effectiveness, now's the time to check your organization's social media marketing IQ.
Here are 30 questions to help determine your firm's social media marketing IQ. These questions will help you assess where your organization is in terms of social media marketing maturity and where you may need to improve effectiveness. Depending on where your organization is along the social media adoption curve, some of these questions can help you develop plans going forward.
Do you have brand monitoring and/or other analytics in place? If you don't have the budget for professional social media monitoring, use free options such as Google Alerts, Twitter Search, and Google Analytics.
Are you analyzing the information collected?
Are you taking action where appropriate based on your brand monitoring? Remember, about 2 percent of the comments require any company interaction.
Social Media Guidelines
Do you have social media guidelines for how employees should represent themselves and what they can say?
Do you have guidelines for what's acceptable for customers and the public to contribute on your organization's website, blog, and/or forum? This doesn't mean you can delete negative comments! Customers will say whatever they want on their own and third-party social media networks where you have no control.
Do you have a crisis management plan? If so, do you review it regularly to ensure it's up to date and employees know what to do? If not, here's help to develop one.
Do you have goals for your social media marketing? This is a critical first step of any marketing strategy. Don't think it's just a test and we'll figure it out later. If it works, you'll need to make a case for more resources.
Are your social media marketing goals related to your overall business objectives? This is a must for any marketing plans!
Is your social media marketing driving revenues? For many businesses, this is a sign of social media maturity.
Does senior management buy into social media as part of your marketing and business plans? Recognize this can be difficult to achieve. Research shows leadership at one in three businesses supports social media marketing after three years.
If management doesn't buy into social media marketing, are you bringing them up to speed? Chances are that you need to show how it drives results associated with business goals.
Are you expanding buy-in beyond senior management? Think customer service, sales, product management, human resources, investor relations, and other organizational departments.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
Do you have a social media marketing strategy? What do you want to accomplish?
Are your social media marketing strategies integrated with your overall marketing plans?
Are employees monitoring social media marketing implementation(s)? Customers will use every point of contact to reach a human being.
Are you promoting your social media marketing efforts? To drive customers and the public to your social media marketing, you must continually promote it. Use internal media.
Do you make it easy for social media participants to share your content? Think social sharing including Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Do you have tailored call-to-action and tracking mechanisms integrated into your social media marketing efforts? Prospects and customers need to be guided through your sales process.
Social Media Marketing Content
Are you creating tailored content for your social media marketing initiatives? Since social media thrives on content, ensure your social media efforts have the fuel they need.
Have you created a variety of content formats?
Does your content support every stage of the purchase process? The information consumers need may cut across your organization. To support these efforts, use an editorial calendar and marketing personas.
Is your social media-related content integrated into your search optimization efforts?
Social Media Marketing Budget
Do you have a dedicated social media marketing budget? Social media marketing isn't free! You can't count on having a robust social media marketing strategy without financial and headcount resources. If you don't have a dedicated budget, can you leverage other resources or hide your social media marketing budget?
Do you have headcount dedicated to your social media marketing efforts? If not, are social media marketing activities incorporated into specific employees' job descriptions? If no one's required to do the work, it won't happen.
Do you have social media training to ensure employees understand how to engage on social media platforms and are consistent in how they represent your organization? Many firms overlook this important factor.
Do you have a social media contingency plan to ensure you have personnel involved and monitoring social media 24/7? What happens if your social media manager's sick or unavailable and there's a problem?
Do you have established metrics to track social media marketing efforts back to marketing and/or business objectives? This is best done when you're planning your strategy.
Do your metrics include the full purchase process not just the last marketing touched? Social media can influence customers before you realize they're shopping and after they've bought your product or service.
Do your social media metrics go beyond marketing? Think broadly across your business such as customer service.
Are you measuring the ROI of your social media marketing? Understand it takes time to have a well-integrated social media marketing strategy where you can measure your investment and results accurately. Short-term, determine whether your social media marketing contributes to achieving your business goals.
Social media marketing is a growing part of every marketer's plans and budget. Regardless of where you are on the social media marketing continuum, you must assess the effectiveness of what you're currently doing and implement strategies to enhance your results.
Are there any other questions that you'd add to this social media marketing IQ list? If so, please include them in the comment section below.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.
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