How ‘social’ should your marketing be?

Social media for businessI just spent a couple of days talking social media with marketers from all kinds of industries — including fairly traditional ones like publishing and banking– at Marketingprof’s Digital Marketing Mixer in Chicago.

The conference was terrific and filled with useful, detailed information on how to use Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media for business marketing.

But many of the attendees were struggling with the question of not how, but why to use these social media in their marketing mix. They weren’t sure of the applications for their business, and were there looking for inspiration and guidance.

How to use social media in marketing is a question that every business is facing today, and will continue to face. I came away with two key guidelines that I am using to assess my clients’ social marketing needs.

First, your business needs to be engaging where your customers or prospects are. This will be different for nearly every business. You don’t have to be the first one on a channel, but you don’t want to be the last. If your customers are out there talking about you on Twitter right now, then you’d better figure out a Twitter strategy, starting with the simple one of being responsive.

Second, and most important: no matter what you decide today, you need to reassess it soon, maybe only three or six months from now. Just because you don’t need a Facebook fan page today doesn’t mean you won’t need one in a few months. This is all changing much too fast to allow complacency.

Watch where your competitors are, where your users are, and how customer behavior is changing.  And stay poised for change, because that is the only constant in today’s online world.

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