Three Questions to Ask Before Launching a Social Marketing Campaign

I have a confession to make. I’m a slacker blogger. That’s right, c21’s VP of Interactive Services has a three-year-old personal blog about a topic I’m quite passionate about, yet I can go for months at a time without uploading a single post. This fact was formerly my shameful secret, but when I work with clients who want to launch innovate social media marketing initiatives that impact the bottom line, it’s my very public example of the importance of proper planning before diving into the deep end of social media marketing. Yes, anybody can start a blog or Twitter feed, but without a strategic approach, a schedule and measurable goals, the effort and expense are unlikely to achieve the desired results.

Below are what I consider the top three key questions to ask on the front-end of any social media marketing effort:
1. What’s the primary objective?
Sometimes our clients don’t know what their objective is for social media marketing –and that’s ok. We figure that as the marketing experts, it’s our job to help them uncover those objectives and determine the best course of action to meet and exceed them. Your needs will impact the mix of social media tools best suited for you – whether you need to drive sales, build brand awareness or change public perceptions.

2. How will effectiveness be measured?
This can’t be over-stated: measurement in social media is KEY. Of course, what you measure may run the gamut from engagement, to site traffic to direct sales, but the point is the marketing team must establish the key metrics on the front-end. Check out Jeremiah Owyang’s article about measuring ROI.

3. What are your available staff and budget resources?
Ok, here’s the deal: Social media is not 100% free. Sure, there are tons of awesome free tools available that allow you to participate and monitor the social media space, but there are time costs associated with that participation and monitoring. You must have an estimate of the people and hours can you devote. Comcast and Zappos are prime examples of the human capital required for true social media interaction.

And the list goes on. Actually, there are at least 10 more questions we work through with our clients looking for social media marketing solutions. Click here if you’d like a copy of the complete list. And leave a comment here to let us know what you think are the top three questions.

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