Social media and conversation marketing transform brands like no other communication methodology previously, because it changes the fundamental nature of the brand/customer relationship.
But, social media and conversation marketing are inefficient vehicles. It's difficult to achieve economies of scale when you're developing relationships with customers on an individualized or small group basis.
Thus, social media is not a solo act. It's best as part of a jazz combo.
Instead of thinking of social media as a freestanding tactic, first consider how you can add social media components to your existing marketing initiatives.
1. Devise an appropriate, tactically-agnostic social media strategy
2. Audit your current marketing, and add social media ingredients
3. Where necessary, add new social media programs
1. Social Media + Search Marketing
Core tenets of inbound marketing. Create content about your brand, and distribute it as widely as possible. Get more bait in the water. Optimize EVERY piece of content for search.
2. Social Media + Email
Good email and good social media are much more similar than different. Add social sharing to your emails. Promote your email program in social media, and vice versa. Use your social initiatives to try out new content approaches, adding the most successful content to your email program.
3. Social Media + Virtual Events
Your audience isn't the number of people in the room, it's the number of people in the world. Take your presentation, add it to Slideshare. Promote it on the social Web. Most of my live presentation are to ~40 people. Most of my presentations have been seen thousands of times subsequently.
How can you redefine virtual events by adding social media components? See Radian6 Twebinars that combine Webinars and live Twitter streams. See #blogchat and similar live Twitter chats. See my own Twitter 20 series of live social media interviews on Twitter.
4. Social Media + Live Events
Extend your event before and after it happens, using social media. Think Tweet-ups and other ways that social media can come to life in three dimensions.
5. Social Media + Market Research
Perhaps the most untapped advantage of social media participation. Ask your customers and fans what they think. You can create all-new products via consumer input. You can execute very simple crowd sourcing programs using CrowdCampaign and similar tools.
Social media works best when it's part of something bigger. Are you ready for some synergy?