As more and more companies have adopted SEO practices in optimizing their websites, though there is still plenty of room for improvement, it’s no surprise that they have begun turning more attention to social media marketing (SMM). Of course, with all the attention these new venues have gained and become more mainstream, this only makes sense.
However, this has also lead more into jumping in head first without using their heads. Perhaps this is due to the added pressures of a challenging economy or feeling behind the curve. While social media isn’t exactly new, there is plenty of curve left, and using a challenging economy as a catalyst to jump onboard and sinking precious resources into something that you don’t understand or have any idea how to measure is extremely short-sighted.
There are some great examples already of major brands that have successfully adopted social media marketing as a new channel to reach out to the community. Zappos  CEO Tony Hsieh has become practically the default example of Twitter success (hopefully that doesn’t go away with the Amazon acquisition ). Those new to social media may be surprised that Tony’s tweets aren’t a spew of product and sales pitches, but rather more of a human connection, with many tweets having nothing to do with Zappos, and those that do, often just extending this human connection between follower and Zappos.
Comcast has their own spin with comcastcares  serving as a live support channel that even reaches out to you before you reach out to them. Knowing that Twitter has also become a popular channel where people communicate in-the-moment, ask questions, and often use as a means to voice immediate frustrations, Frank Eliason monitors the Twitter-sphere for Comcast mentions, and reaches out to assist. Similarly, Best Buy just launched Twelpforce  as a Twitter based tech help resource .
Twitter isn’t the only social space though. While Facebook is often thought of as a personal pages network, big names like hunting  outfitter Cabelas  and tools  giant Northern Tool  have taken to Facebook Fan pages to interact with fans. But these big name, multi-category companies are just one example. Even more niche focused companies like quality men’s shoes  provider Allen Edmonds  have started to dip their toe into social media with a Facebook presence.
There are many other venues and even more examples, with more being added everyday. There are also numerous blog posts and articles proclaiming the virtues and importance of social media marketing. Before jumping on the bandwagon though, it’s important to understand and start thinking about social media marketing goals, measurement and cost.
So let’s start with goals. The goals used for the “native” site may not always apply to social media marketing, take on less importance, or there may be other or additional goals that are even more important. Just like SEO, it is important to understand what the goals of social media marketing are before undergoing work in this area, especially as measurment may not always be as black and white and it may have additional costs associated with it, both of which we’ll talk about later.
Goals could be anything, but here is a list of 8 common social media marketing goals that might help get you started:
- drive additional traffic to native site
- drive additional sales
- increase followers, fans, etc.
- open additional communication channel, marketing channel, etc.
- increase SERP real estate by boosting social media profiles
- reputation management
- enhance or grow link profile
- increased brand awareness and presence
As you might guess after thinking about these, measurement of these goals, like measuring link bait , may not be as staight-forward as you would like. So I’ll talk about measurement next, but until then, what social media marketing goals would you add to this list? Which of these are most critical to you?