Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When should we start social media marketing?

Recently on MarketingSherpa, this question was posed in an article (Full link here):
When should we start with social media marketing?

Their response follows:
Social media is a powerful channel, but it works in conjunction with other efforts, such as email. You should get your email marketing tactics nailed down first, before you make a big social media push.

Here’s why: Engaging with customers and prospects through social media is another channel for two-way communications, like email. A well-developed email program can help you learn important things about your communication strategy, such as:
  • What types of content resonate with your audience
  • How frequently they want to hear from you
  • How to segment your audience to deliver relevant messages
  • How to convert visitors into subscribers who want an ongoing relationship with your brand
I’d like to add:

Before doing the above, make sure you have the infrastructure in place to handle a two-way conversation.

If you open a dialogue by sending an email, it’s important to have measures in place to keep up your end of the discussion. This means assigning someone to check the inbox of the reply-to address on your emails. It’s important to remember that someone may reply to your message with a question or solicitation for more information. Having an email like that go unanswered is a surefire way to lose a customer and inspire bad word of mouth.

The exception to the above is transactional emails. In those messages, be sure to include something like the following in your footer that’s linked to the page on your website with contact information:

Please don't reply to this email. We don't monitor this email address and won't be able to reply to email sent to it. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

Above all, ask yourself, “Why are we doing this?”

If the answer is, “Because everyone’s talking about Twitter so we may as well do it” then you need to re-think your plan. Email is a great way to stay in touch with your constituents. Shore up the points above and you’ll be well on your way to having an email program in place that will complement your social media strategy.