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Social marketing is no longer solely about having a Facebook page or a Twitter account. It's about creating rich opportunities (contests, communities, polls, games, and other approaches) for fans to engage with the brand—and, by doing so, attracting the fans' circle of friends to the brand as well.

By taking engagement to the next level, marketers can advance their social media strategy and grow their marketing database, making the transition from broadcast to unicast, and making that one-to-one connection with the customer.

Of the 1 billion-plus Facebook users, 584 million are daily users. Of the 517 million twitter users, over 140 million are active at least monthly. In the course of 60 seconds, there are 695,000 Facebook status updates and over 98,000 tweets.

With such numbers, marketers who fail to take advantage of social engagement opportunities will see customers shift to more socially aware competitors.

By engaging social customers and prospects with interactive activities, companies can create considerable brand loyalty, increase their fan base, grow their direct marketing database dramatically, and generate greater revenue.

A Checklist

How do you know whether your business is ready for social engagement, and how do you plan for a successful implementation?

The following five-step "Social Readiness Checklist" from ClickSquared and Peppers & Rogers Group provides a great foundation for building a successful social engagement program:

  1. Understand the social media landscape, including what other companies are doing in and outside your industry.
  2. Be clear about what you want to achieve with social media.
  3. Have a listening program in place to determine which customers are talking about what topics and where they interact most.
  4. Experiment with pilot programs.
  5. Ensure that social media initiatives are not conducted in isolation.

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image of Kerry Reilly

Kerry Reilly is vice-president of product marketing at ClickSquared Inc., a SaaS-based marketing solutions company, where she manages product and corporate marketing functions.

LinkedIn: Kerry Reilly