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Tips for 2010 Social Media Marketing Strategy


eMarketer reports that as marketers become more experienced using social media, they naturally progress from the "trial phase" of their online marketing efforts toward a more strategic use.

While most marketers are still in a state of flux, according to the MarketingSherpa assessment, about one-quarter of social media marketers have already made it to the strategic phase of their efforts. Frankly, I doubt that percentage is accurate, based upon what I've witnessed.

eMarketer says that gaining maturity means improving the ability to tie objectives to specific metrics. Marketers in the strategic phase are significantly more likely than those in earlier phases of the process to measure their success across all objectives.

That said, an increase in Website traffic was the number one objective targeted and measured by all marketers surveyed. In contrast, finding mentors and retraining your legacy marketing staff, to regularly interact and engage online, should be the highest priority.

Meaning, you simply can't adequately scale your daily online activity if it's the responsibility of a few people that are deemed the "social media expert" group.

"Defining specific objectives for a social marketing initiative is only half the battle. The other half is aligning those objectives with corresponding metrics," according to the MarketingSherpa report. "This alignment is important because it enables an organization to measure its progress in achieving the objectives and proving ROI."

Therefore, how many members of your total marketing team are fully trained and aligned with the essential acts of content re-purposing, online discussion monitoring and active participation?

If your organization is typical, then it's likely to be very few people -- and there's your challenge for 2010, as most traditional advertising and marketing communication practices are proven to be totally ineffectual.

Most social marketing budget investment (60 percent) next year will go toward staff salaries for activities -- such as blogging, content development and monitoring of social channels. Another two-fifths will be consumed by outside help from agencies, consultancies and service providers.

So, I offer these two key tips to help you make the most of your marketing budget in 2010, and truly evolve to a strategic use of current social media marketing techniques.

Raise the bar of expectations, and develop a meaningful plan to "mainstream" this essential activity in your marcom team. Note, your first priority is to retain the talent that is able to create content and actively engage. Next, determine who is willing and able to learn new skills. The remainder of the team must go, so you have available budget to perform the tasks in-house or via external talent.

Don't rush to hire agency talent or consultants. First make sure your internal team fully utilizes the free social media tools before you spend anything on fee-based professional services. Then, selectively hire supplemental talent to fill any skill or resource gaps -- insist that mentoring and skills transfer (to your internal marcom team) is an integral part of the project statement of work.

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