This is the Myrland Marketing Moment I shared yesterday:

Myrland Marketing Moment:You know these are just tools we’re using, right? Have you decided what you’re building?

I was inspired to write this because in the span of 3 hours yesterday morning, in the midst of a few projects I was working on, I continued to read posts and watch video of people who reminded me to write about how Social Media fit in to what we’ve all known as Marketing for so many years.  When I keep reading and hearing the same messages like that, I know it’s time to write about them.

First, I woke up to about 60 minutes of Jay Baer’s website.  If you haven’t spent time there, you should.  I’m glad I did as he is a brilliant marketer.

You might be wondering how I can afford to spend so much time on one website at the start of a workday. Not always easy to do, but easy answer….I am not only a teacher of Marketing and Social Media to my clients.  I am a lifelong student.

I have learned a lot, but I have much to learn, and feel it is my responsibility to my clients to continue to search for answers to their needs.  Jay’s site, as well as many other classes, programs and sites I know of, and will discover, help me do that.

On Facebook, I was part of a discussion with my talented and kind friends Juli Barcelona and Justin Brackett, who, by the way, started out virtual friends and ended up actual, face-to-face friends this past year, for which I am forever thankful.  Juli mentioned she had recently been asked to speak to a few different groups about Marketing Planning for 2011, and not just Social Media.  Justin echoed Juli when he stated he, too, had been asked to speak about the broader discipline of Marketing.

I don’t know if this is a trend, but it certainly is an important one to talk about.  Many, including me, are excited and passionate about Social Media.  My worry is that some are so passionate that they have forgotten that these are just tools that help us accomplish what should first be spelled out in our Marketing Plans.

Now I know some of you might be saying “Don’t be a kill joy.  We’re having fun here, and all we need is to know is that we are establishing relationships.  That’s good, right?!”   To you I say “Congratulations!  I, too, am having a great time connecting and establishing relationships.”  But I also have one piece of advice which you might have heard me say before in another Myrland Marketing Moment:

Myrland Marketing Moment:

If you’d like to jump in and use Social Media without a plan,

by all means go ahead. Just adjust your

expectations of ROI accordingly.

Even if you have jumped in head first, that’s okay.  Now it’s time to take a towel and dry off a bit, and spend some time planning your growth and retention strategy, also called your Marketing Plan.  Don’t stop using Social Media as you can easily lose momentum.  Just do some advance work to make your efforts more meaningful to your business.

Don’t make it too difficult, or too long, as it will sit on a shelf collecting dust.  Just be strategic about it, and make sure you include your goals, baseline data about you and your competitors, your ideal clients, referral sources and influencers, and what you want each group to know about you.  Spend time deciding how and where you will send these messages to all of the people you have identified.  Make sure you assign people responsible for each task, and give dates for completion of every step, even if it’s an interim step to accomplish a goal if that makes it easier.  Also spend time deciding what success looks like for each goal, and how you plan on monitoring and measuring that success.  Don’t forget to figure out how your budget needs to be structured to do everything you plan to do.

Armed with this Plan of Attack, or Marketing Plan, you should find increased focus, determination and clarity about the direction you are going, and the tools you should be using to get there.

Then go ahead! Dive in to ALL of the tools you have identified, but always remember that these are just tools to help you accomplish the goals you’ve established.  Using the tools is not the goal.  It might be fun, but it’s not a goal.  Using the tools are ways to accomplish goals.  These are called tactics.  There is a difference.

As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Photo Courtesy of The Dow Chemical Company

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  • Excellent post , mind you there is and continues to be great debate within the legal community on the value of any social networking.
    it seems in Canada that the Lawyer’s either “Get it” or “Do Not”, there is little in between.
    I wonder if we need to work towards a structured Social network for vertical markets?
    Certainly at we are finding that by keeping to the legal market in Canada and networking on those topics that affect our lawyers and their market we are seeing a greater ROI that can be quantified.

  • Great post, and not just because I’m in it!

    This is a perfect saying, and I may have to borrow it and credit you:

    If you’d like to jump in and use Social Media without a plan,

    by all means go ahead. Just adjust your

    expectations of ROI accordingly.

    I’m delighted to get 60 minutes (even 60 seconds of your time). You should write a guest post for C&C sometime, if you’re interested. Thanks for the shout out.

  • Thanks for your comment Mark! What you describe in your last sentence certainly shows your focus and intention. I think firms will come around as they witness increased use of Social Media. The tools will change, but the basic behavior won’t, and that’s to establish relationships with those who we are fortunate enough to have follow us. I look forward to helping!

  • Hi Jay! Please do borrow that Myrland Marketing Moment…I’m honored! Also, I would love to write a guest post for C&C, and appreciate the opportunity. Since you’re a fellow Hoosier now, I hope we can find ways to connect often!

  • Nancy, Sing it. There can’t be too many posts about the tools of social media, the need for an actual plan, and most importantly, how that social media strategy should be integrated into the overall marketing plan to achieve the business goals. I agree that there’s no need to go cold-turkey and lose momentum, just take a pause and evaluate what’s working, what’s not and focus efforts on which tools are best suited to achieve your strategic ends. FWIW.

  • Hi Davina… nice to see you again! I appreciate your perspective and your support. ” FWIW?” Your comments are worth a great deal, and I’m happy you share them here!

  • Nice work Nancy. Important considerations for any business or organization. Sitting on the social media sidelines isn’t an good option. Neither is blindly just doing “online stuff” and considering it adequate or effective.

  • Thanks for stopping by Frank. If anyone understands Marketing Strategy, it’s you!

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