Saturday Sidecar: The Phases of Social Media Marketing – Part II

Written by Gina Blitstein on April 7, 2012. Posted in Saturday Sidecar

Social media marketing has a lifecycle. In fact, I’ve identified a total of six phases of social media marketing as it grows from building your profile to impacting a large community of loyal followers.  (Please read, Saturday Sidecar: The Phases of Social Media Marketing – Part I for what you can expect as you begin your strategy). As a social media ‘newbie” you begin with baby steps, establishing your presence and developing your community. Once you’ve laid a strong foundation and implement a well-considered strategy, you’re going to discover that you’ve graduated to the rest of the phases of social media marketing. Here’s how you may feel during those later stages: 

  • Phase IV – Hey look, I have friends!”

Once you do have friends, treat them right. Engage with them regularly – lest they forget you – and offer content that will make them glad to be following you. Your first friends’ responses to your interactions will help you gauge interest in your message. Tweak and reassess as necessary while your community is small to provide content that is truly compelling to them.

  • Phase V – Hey look, I have a community!”
    At some point, your group of friends will hopefully grow to the point where they are more self-sustaining; interacting among themselves with less reliance on you as the ship’s captain. This indicates that you have been successful at creating a social media community around your sidecar. It doesn’t mean, however, that you can abandon ship. Make certain that the message being broadcast is still genuinely your message and continue to be a frequent presence within the community.

You’ve arrived at the point where you are identified as an authority and people look and listen specifically to you for information. This is the phase when you take advantage of your large community to step up your marketing. Continue to find new and compelling ways to engage your loyal followers.

Your community is now large enough to be extremely effective at spreading your message virally throughout the Internet. What you say will be heard by an influential number of people. Bravo!

  • Phase VI – Uh-oh…I might have a metropolis!” 

Should you or your brand reach celebrity status, this would be your fate. When a community reaches the ‘metropolis’ stage, it has really hit the big time. You as the brand can post content but there’s little chance you’ll be able to effectively interact with individuals of the community – there are simply too many of them.

While it could still serve as a source of intelligence about your brand, at the metropolis phase, it’s really more about the community than about you.

Once you’ve begun your social media strategy, it’s about stoking the fire you’ve already set to keep it burning hot and fast. Continue to implement your core strategy, taking into account that your community as it grows can help guide you as to their needs and wants. Listen to and act on the feedback you receive and your social media strategy will pay great marketing rewards.

Sidecar Tuneup Tip: Knowing what to expect during the lifecycle of a social media strategy will help you implement each phase  to your best advantage. As your sidecar’s social media community takes flight, it really begins to make an impact on your community and on your recognition factor.

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