I haven’t been writing much publicly lately – that doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking off completely though!

Although I haven’t been at the computer screen, I have been writing. A lovely thing to be able to research a company and write a battle plan at the beach with the kids. There are a few corporates I’m engaged with at present (even though I swore I was done with large companies). These ones are innovative though, willing to work with me on my terms and making the effort to ‘get’ online social marketing.

While I consult and draft their strategies a few points came to mind that I want to share with you. There’s more coming from my notes, but today I want to talk about making the decision to partake in Web 2.0 marketing and pre-campaign tasks.

Is a social marketing strategy imperative for every business?

Perhaps not, but social marketing will affect every business at some point in time. (HINT: If you’re not talking about yourself, someone else is, or will be, guaranteed!)

Two quick related points about your Web 2.0 Marketing strategy…

1. Be sure your target market is online and you know where to find them.

Of course ‘everyone’ who’s anyone is online right?

Don’t believe it for a minute. (I say that alot.)

I know parents who won’t allow the internet in their house. Have met affluent and educated adults who say the web is as useless as television. And professionals who don’t have an email address, not even to keep in touch with family members overseas!

Of course this seems alien to you or I, but these people exist -and sometimes in large groups (not just the transient few I bump elbows with in my travels).

Chances are your target market is online and either browsing, or contributing to, social media somewhere. What you want to establish at this stage is whether or not there are enough of them there (to make your efforts appreciable) and record the URLs of those sites. (Record them, you’ll use them later when devising your strategy.)

I just finished reading one marketer’s report that stated “Web 2.0 is useless if the people who see your stuff don’t want what
you offer. Or if they don’t look to the Web for information to help them buy what you sell…”

I hope you know what rubbish that is! Gosh, I’ve bought horses online (yes, I said horses) and designed and ordered our 2007 car online – for that matter people are buying land and farms and anything else you could imagine online now.

People research for and investigate everything online. The only question is: “Are there enough of them looking for you?”

2. Arm your business with a customer focused website, interesting literature, photos, etc.

You must have an online presence for your potential or existing customers to ‘click-through’ to, land on, or link to.

There are pages of Do’s and Don’ts a person could write on this subject.

The rule of thumb is to create the site you would want to find. Create the content your target market wants to read.

Stand in your target market’s shoes for a contemplative hour. Know them and talk to them with your marketing message. Stop saying “I” or “we (the company)”.

I’ll get back to this on Friday afternoon. I have plenty more to discuss with you on Web 2.0 but ‘finding’ and ‘building for’ your market are the top two considerations before you begin any social media marketing campaign.

Laura Childs