Sharon Swender, president of .Com Marketing, is a speaker at the Institute for Marketing, which is part of the education program at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009 this November in Las Vegas. Visit the Expo web site for detailed information on the full education program, to register, and to access other important show information.
Not so long ago, a “tweet” was something heard from a bird and the “little black book” was more important than Facebook. But now, thousands of people enter the social media space each day trying to decipher the new applications and determine what’s right for them. While there’s a lot of buzz about social media, there is even more confusion. For those seeking to market themselves and their companies, social media can be a powerful strategy—if used correctly.
There are three important considerations each person should make before launching a social media campaign:
1. Tactical – Social media is nothing more than a marketing tactic. It is one more communications vehicle in an arsenal of ways to communicate with target audiences. Just because thousands of people will be exposed to your messages doesn’t mean the right ones are tuned in.
2. Integration – Like any other tactic, social media must integrate with and support the overall online and offline marketing plan. The key here is online engagement. Does social media help engage customers and/or thought leaders in a way that moves them into action?
3. Cost – While online applications may seem free, the hidden, recurring costs must be considered. Who will set up the application? Who is responsible for ensuring messages are continually refreshed? How will success be measured? What activities or other job responsibilities are being sacrificed?
The bottom line is simple: Don’t focus on the technology—focus on the relationship. If social media can help you engage with your prospects and customers in a meaningful way, then it can be a valuable addition to your communications strategy.