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Letter from CMO: Get Me a Social Media Strategy!

Dear Marketing/Media Director,

I can’t help but notice all of the buzz on social media in the market. I’m getting a lot of pressure from our CEO, colleagues and peers to define our social media strategy. Why haven’t you delivered this yet?

Yes. We have our own Twitter feeds from the CEO’s blog. We have that community portal we invested in. We have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group and we post our videos to YouTube. We have a few followers and these generate a few views, but how is it translating into customers? I told you to increase the percentage of our marketing spend on social media, but I’m not seeing a return on these time investments. We don’t even have a true social media “campaign” running in the market. You have to figure this out. My butt is on the line.

Every dollar I beg and plead for in our marketing budget must show some type of return. I want metrics and I want them now. I hear examples of how other companies are doing this. Why are we lagging behind?

As I stated, my butt is on the line. But here’s the bottom line: Your job is on the line. Get me a plan in the next 48 hours or I’ll find someone else to do it!

Regards, Your CMO
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Sound familiar? Okay. Maybe overly dramatic. But almost every technology vendor I talk to is still trying to define their social media strategy. Some are farther ahead than others. Some even have a designated “community” or “social media” marketing head. But everyone is struggling with the same challenge – showing a true return on these investments.

One of the biggest problems I’ve seen is that vendors have not started with a clear path. Meaning, they launched social media outlets without defining the metrics to success. The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) just released a Social Media Buyer’s Guide  that includes some helpful hints and case studies. 

The paper starts by outlining four main steps to start the process of planning a social media campaign:
1. Set clear and measurable objectives and strategies
2. Understand your audience motivations and behavior, especially in social media
3. Develop a creative approach appropriate for the brand in one or more social platforms
4. Define success metrics

The Buyer’s Guide also stresses the need to take into account both traditional and digital platforms in creating a social media strategy. It’s easy to follow the shiny object and forget that social media must be tied to traditional platforms that work.

We have a major research study in the field that will define how the IT audience uses, digests and takes-action from social media and are developeing several social media products based on these results that will immediately show a return on your existing social media investments.  Please let me know if you are interested in hearing more about either. We have boatloads of experience to help you along the way.

In the meantime, I would love to hear about how you are leveraging social media and answering your CMO’s questions!