In a recent presentation to a small group of real estate brokers in Atlanta, Adam Japko, Digital Sherpa President and blogger in his own right told the group that the question they needed to ask themselves was ‘Should I seek help for my social media marketing plan or do it myself?’ rather than ‘Should I have a social media marketing plan or not?’

Source: Social Media Examiner

This wasn’t promotion for the Digital Sherpa brand, this was just a business fact. It is no longer acceptable to own a business of any size or flavor and not having an Internet marketing strategy. Social Media Examiner’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report tells us that 93% of businesses are using social media to market their business. (As shown right) It would be fair to assume that number gets higher with each month that passes. A staggering 90% said that social media was important to their business. As a business owner, which piece of the pie do you fall in to? If you are using social media to market your business, have you found it effective? Does the scope of it all seem too daunting or do you feel you simply don’t have the time to ‘tweet’ or ‘Facebook’ amidst the daily tasks and responsibilities of a business owner? Need not fear, you’re not alone. In this blog series, I’ll attempt to address concerns like these and guide you through (hopefully in a simple and sensible way) the process of properly marketing your business through the use of social media

What is social media?

This is a big question, and like most big questions, one that garners a great array of replies. Ask 100 people and surely get 100 different answers. Is it Facebook? Is it Twitter? Is it blogging? The easy answer is yes, yes and yes. I’ll address those facets of the social media universe individually in future blogs. The real answer however is individual to you. The most significant decision you will make as you create and refine your Internet marketing plan is to answer ‘What is social media?’ specifically for your business. Your company’s service, purpose, goals, employees and ideas are unique, and your social media footprint should reflect that.

Think of a time when you’ve had an investor, client or employee prospect to your office or place of business. What preparations did you make then for the meeting? In what ways did you make your business stand out or reflect who you are and how your business can benefit that individual? Designing a social media strategy should warrant that same touch and care. It’s becoming better known now that investors use social media as a precursor to any potential transaction. Present yourself on social media sites as you would in your office to someone that was crucial to the success of your business. Show your personality and whatever unique elements that set yourself apart. If you hire a company to assist in the process like so many now do, spend some time with your representative and really make them understand the way your business needs to be presented.

OK, I get it, now where do I start?

We’re all familiar with the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The same is true for your social media marketing journey. The social media universe is huge, impossible to fully grasp or understand and seems overly complex and time consuming. Start somewhere simple. Create a Facebook page. Start a blog. Consult with peers who have been using social media to their benefit. Talk with a social media marketing company. There is no correct answer on how to begin other than to simply become involved.

About Chris Vaughn

Chris builds, manages and executes inbound lead generation programs and is responsible for new business development and partnership with a focus on growing a brand. In the past, Chris was the Managing Editor at Bluff Media LLC and graduated from Oglethorpe University in 2005. In his spare time, Chris helps run a growing fantasy sports website and hangs out with his dog, Ace.