The good folks at Sprout have published the Sprout Social Index.

If you do social-media marketing, it’s a good read all the way through—but something we found particularly interesting was the list of most-reported challenges in social-media marketing:

social-media marketing

Image: Sprout Social Index

First, let’s address Challenge #1: Identifying and reaching our target audience.

Every marketer knows what a Customer Persona is, but very few actually take the time necessary to truly research their ideal customer. When you do, you’ll be forced to identify the customer AND determine where to reach them. Follow our Customer Persona training here.

Second, let’s address:

  • Challenge #2: Measuring ROI
  • Challenge #3: Supporting overall business goals
  • Challenge #5: Monitoring our competition
  • Challenge #6: Securing budget and resources for social
  • Challenge #7: Aligning social strategy with other parts of the business
  • Challenge #8: Demonstrating social’s impact to other departments

Each of these challenges is solved when you understand that social media marketing is a broad discipline. It includes all of the following:

(1) Social Listening – Monitoring and responding to customer service and reputation management issues on the social web.
(2) Social Influencing – Establishing authority on the social web, often through the distribution and sharing of valuable content.
(3) Social Networking – Finding and associating with authoritative and influential individuals and brands on the social web.
(4) Social SellingGenerating leads and sales from existing customers and prospects on the social web.

Each of these activities has distinct strategies, tactics, metrics, and skillsets. Each of them achieves different business goals.

When you’re preparing a social-media marketing plan, Step One is figuring out the business goal and Step Two is choosing from the four (very different) types of social-media marketing activity.

For more on the four social-media activities, click the numbered links above. 

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