There is overwhelming and convincing data out in the marketplace about integrating social media (SM) with other business development activities. But as with anything out in the market place, there are those who will follow blindly and those who will think, plan and implement. I’m of the latter variety and to clients I always ask them why do they think they need SM. The answers range from we need to market but our budgets are limited (seriously, when has ANY budget had free rein?) and my fave is that SM just may be the solution to their problems.
Truth be told, all types of business development has to be done consistently. Otherwise, it’s the ole feast and famine cycles. In fact my business coach recently said when you first open/start a practice, 80% of your time should be spent solely on business development.
So if you or your firm are thinking of social media. Here some practical tips to get you started on your social media plan:
Step 1: Do your own research on how to best leverage social media to meet business goals and objectives for your practice/firm. For example:
Identify objectives for your Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter and other social media efforts:
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Build your email list
- Sell more products/services
- Announce special offers and promotions
- Announce events such as educational webinars/teleclasses
- Share news
- Share educational content
- Improve search engine rankings
- Facilitate client/customer engagement
Step 2: Develop a plan for reaching objectives with benchmarks.
Step 3: If you don’t have the skills and knowledge of social media internally, GET HELP. Just as random networking doesn’t work, neither do random acts of social media. Face facts: just how much time have you spent dithering on SM without any concrete results? Hmmmm….
Step 4: Integrate social media into your business plan with a focus on leveraging social media to support business goals and objectives. Your business plan may need to be adjusted based upon your new findings and research of the social media landscape.
Step 5: Execute the integrated marketing, social media and business plan.
Step 6: Continuously analyze, measure and refine your approach, strategies and tactics based on the achievement of goals and objectives.
Step 7: Be warned: If your firm has a great plan BUT lacks alignment from the powers that be in the firm, OR is not implemented consistently, the results will reflect this and at best be a hit or miss.
Finally, there are risks associated with social media. What happens if some disgruntled client starts bad mouthing your work? A reputation management plan needs to be in place. The two go hand in hand. Stay tuned for a post on that subject matter.
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