InterestOver the past week, I’ve had a chance to listen to various business owners’ impressions of what constitutes digital marketing these days. The conversations have been interesting and revelatory, so over the next few posts, I want to review the very basics of these channels for folks who aren’t marketers. If you are a digital marketer by trade, I’ll tell you up front that you can probably skip this series and go read another blog; I won’t be telling you anything you shouldn’t already know. If you have bosses, clients, or friends who are not marketers, however, this series might be helpful. Today, we’re going to tackle the state of social media in 2013.

Most folks who are not digital marketers want their businesses to succeed and understand that social media is one of the driving forces in digital marketing today. Why? Because it’s relatively low cost to start (though that ramps fast) and results of some kind generally happen very quickly. So what matters in social media?

  • Context: Knowing what goals you intend to achieve is most important. Are you trying to generate more leads for your business? Are you trying to retain customers? Defining the context will let you know if you’re succeeding or not, and how to measure it.
  • Content: Having something worth sharing is the new table stakes in social media. Here’s how to know whether you’ve got something worth sharing.
  • Conversation: Be ready, willing, and eager to have conversations in social media – even if they’re conversations that aren’t pleasant.
  • Community: The people that make up your social media audience are going to help you achieve your results if you build the right audience, the audience that wants to talk about your topics and what you can do for them (and rarely, if ever, what they can do for you).

Rather than rewrite the same words over again, I’m going to give you two resources that should be of help in making a general starting social media strategy for a small business. First, this simple (but not easy) one page slide that you should have in your office and reference when you’re doing social:

Social Media Strategy

Want to download this as a printable PDF? Click here and it’s yours.

In terms of how to publish content on a schedule, I’ll refer you to this video (free, registration required) I did for my employer, SHIFT Communications:

Content Strategy
Basic Content Distribution Strategy for Social Media

If you can make these two sets of basics work for you, your social media program will be off to a good start.

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