Is Social Media really Dynamite for your Big Picture Brand Strategy?

Social media is much more than a newfangled marketing trend like skywriting or hot air balloon advertising. It’s here to stay and it’s happening with or without you. At The Sponge, we recommend it almost universally as part of the big-picture brand strategy work we do here.

Not everyone knows that The Sponge holding company owns a Social Media Marketing business called ThinkSocial. That’s how much we believe in the power of social media as a critical means of marketing for any business. It’s extremely rare that businesses should not be doing this.

Many of our clients say the same thing. Yeah…we have a Facebook page but we haven’t seen much action with it. It doesn’t seem to be generating any leads. What’s important to recognize is that social media needs to be part of a larger strategy. You wouldn’t use the Yellow Pages as your sole means of creating leads, would you (especially today)?

Social Media is a potent marketing tool if used effectively. What does it mean to use it effectively? For starters, it means there’s a lot more to it than creating a Facebook page and waiting for clients to flock.

It’s an expert strategy that drives leads through social media. Without one, you’re spinning your wheels. It’s fine to be running your profile, but it can be unproductive and a waste of resources without that critical strategy. Do you even know what resources are really needed?

That’s why I’m so proud of the products ThinkSocial is offering and why I want you to be aware of the work they’re doing. Social Media is filling a space that Yellow Pages and newspaper ads just can’t fill anymore. These channels are simply no longer relevant. It’s time to refocus that energy.

Social media is where the people are. In fact, there is a great webinar over at ThinkSocial that shows you the stats on that. It’s the fastest, most direct and cost-effective way to reach your end users, to communicate your brand story and attract those raving fans.

The amount of weight you should be giving it isn’t the same for everyone. Not every business needs to be one hundred percent focused on social media. That’s something we look at as part of our brand strategy work with The Sponge.

The products ThinkSocial provide aren’t necessarily a match for your business. That’s something we’ll look at together. On the other hand, as a marketing channel social media is appropriate almost one hundred percent of the time. Whereas in the past you might have sent a physical letter or email newsletter, Social Media is now the best way to deliver that same information. Rather than slugging it out one cold call after another, LinkedIn is a far more effective way to reach those same people.

To give you an idea, we recently did an experiment with one of our clients, HealthStreams. On the one hand we had four phone sales staff doing cold calls for several days. On the other hand we had one social media manager at ThinkSocial doing outreach on LinkedIn. One person. Guess which method performed best?

Lead generation wasn’t just better. It was exponentially higher with LinkedIn. So you see what I mean when I say it’s cost-effective.

Yes, it works. It’s been proven again and again. But what I really want to communicate today is that social media should be part of a bigger plan. How does it fit in with your overall strategy? What needs to be in place before you can really capitalise on your social media efforts?

Timing is critical to a holistic marketing plan. Web. Print. Packaging. Brand Message. All that needs to be worked into a well thought out timeline for execution.

A social media campaign has it’s own unique timeline that has to flow with the greater branding scheme. What’s happening in the market? Are you making a special offer? Why? When does the offer start and complete? When does it need to be delivered? What will you do to follow it?

It takes time to develop and deliver on a promotion. You have to warm up the audience, prep them before the typical buying time. Some businesses forget this. “I need to do marketing now because I need to generate sales,” they say. Not good enough.

You need a comfortable lead time to come up with something compelling. That’s why that big picture brand direction is so critical.

It’s not enough to jump on the bandwagon. You want to be the one holding the reins. And in order to do that, you must first plot the course.

Do you want expert help to plot your course?

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