There are many reasons social media can be a productive marketing channel or platform. A few common outcomes for social media marketing efforts include:

You can run all the customer surveys you want, but some of the most interesting and progressive market research can be found within the social communities where your customers interact, share information and make recommendations.

You’ve heard it before, “Conversations are happening online about your brand, with or without you.” You might as well participate and do so in a way that pays close attention to the interests and needs of your customers – providing them with information and interactions that further support your brand.

Becoming a power user of several social communities involves consistently contributing quality content, rewarding those who vote positively on those content as well as growing large base followers. That base of like-minded connections can serve as an effective distribution channel for unique and interesting content which drives traffic to ad supported blogs that host the content.

The mechanisms for putting these strategies into action vary depending on the resources and time allocations a company can make on its own, or when working with an agency.

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Social media initiatives don’t start when you register a Facebook or Twitter account and start posting announcements, it begins much sooner.

The steps in The Social System are as follows:

  1. Social Identity: This is “the root from which your social strategy will develop.” It’s important to define who you are, but from the perspective of a two-way conversation. Developing a brand identity is pretty standard. However, two-way conversation requires brands to define the parameters — what to say, what not to say, and the tone to maintain — for the person or team managing the social media accounts.
  2. Community Activation:  In this step, companies need to understand themselves from the perspective of who their audiences are and what those audiences expect from them.
  3. Content Strategy: People understand the need to create content but they’re taking a “throw it up against the wall see if it sticks,” method rather than building based on the first two steps. The problem with this approach is that you can’t create an effective content strategy without first knowing who you are and, second, knowing who your audiences are.
  4. Social campaigns:  Without the foundation of the first three steps, the said campaigns provide short-term wins, but no sustainable growth.

   5. Social intelligence Social intelligence is not the beginning of social strategy but where social strategy is executed through            policies, procedures, metrics, tactics and tools you use to listen, measure, respond, integrate and engage in real-time online conversation.