If you still don’t have a major presence in social media channels, you are late to the party. But you still need a starting point and this article gives you one  It gets started in answering these questions: Where do you start amidst existing marketing spends? Do you replace things you are already doing with social media efforts incrementally? Rearrange your mix completely? Add the effort to existing teams? Create a new team? And how the heck is it all measured?

At Least Augment
One approach is to augment existing efforts with social outreach. So what do I mean by that?
Well, for each successful digital marketing effort you currently deploy, add a social component: add the ability to share socially each email you send, add social icons to your web site so visitors can quickly and easily share your content, socially promote contests and sweepstakes. You get the picture.

At Least One Happy Social Soul
Social Media consumer trends are aggressive and suggest that you add at least one full time staff member to your marketing team that focuses solely on the addition of social efforts to your marketing efforts. A solid social marketer will understand both the awareness and traditional ROI value of social media and understand how to test with each effort what the best use of Social Media hours and dollars is. If your opportunities are obvious and you decide to build a team, supply that team with representatives that understand each of your target markets to ensure messaging, reach, platform choices are made based on solid knowledge of the customer.

So What‘s the Bottom Line?
Socialize existing efforts well – and then begin the process of adding projects that are specific to the social medium itself. In other words, the low hanging fruit opportunity is to make sure you are advertising your existing past successful offers using social media. The next step is to do on social media what it does very well which is build relationships with your customers online and grow awareness. (Even create leads if you set it up right) You can also use social tools to learn your audience by deploying web monitoring tools. Use your social media expert to identify the largest and  most likely to succeed social efforts to launch.

Measuring the Spend
Like any marketing spend, measure the effort in hours and dollars invested, against return. Like most other digital efforts, social efforts are spent building content (strategy, calendars, and actual content) and then taking that content to market – across the social platforms most likely to succeed for your brand. Measure the number of impressions, level of interaction, likes, comments, growth over days, weeks, etc. For starters, Facebook and YouTube are a fit for most B2C brands, LinkedIn and other industry specific sites for B2B outreach. There are many others, do your research first before attaching your brand to a major platform – be strategic in placement and messaging just like you would any other media type.

So from my view, the way to get started is to augment existing digital marketing efforts with social initiatives, get some help from a social media expert, and even consider adding one or two to your team, add social specific projects based on it’s inherent strengths (get help figuring out where the biggest opportunities lie), measure like you would any other campaign.

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