Stevens & Tate Marketing Shares Social Media Best Practices in New White Paper

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Stevens & Tate Marketing, Internet marketing experts, has released a white paper discussing the best practices for social media in the new age.

Stevens & Tate Marketing, a full-service advertising agency offering award-winning marketing strategies, has published a white paper titled “The Power of People: Social Media for 2011 and Beyond.” This white paper addresses several aspects of the new social media mix including: social environment, consumer behavior, benefits of being social, social involvement ladder, valuable ways to use social media, and how to measure results.
According to Dan Gartlan, Stevens & Tate president, the social media white paper is the latest educational tool the company has employed to assist marketers by providing them with valuable insights. He believes that every executive looking to move their business forward—not just marketing professionals can benefit from learning more about this rapidly growing and changing media vehicle.
“Companies are still struggling to understand how to monetize social media,” he said. “The key is to treat social marketing like any other corporate initiative—establish a business and messaging strategy that elevates the brand and execute on it.”
He explained that social marketing has completely redefined the digital media space and, in the process, changed the way companies disseminate their messages. Marketing has moved past an era of simply pushing messages at consumers through mass media and into a world where building relationships and dynamic two-way conversation is essential. Customers expect to be able to access a brand in real-time on any given channel, and be able to offer feedback, comments, questions, complaints and praise – whenever and wherever they choose.
“However, as a business you must be able to guide the conversation to achieve the results you desire,” said Gartlan. “That ability comes with understanding, planning and utilizing experts who can execute.”

Stevens & Tate’s new white paper highlights best practices that will help brands create social media success.

1. Define objectives and social media goals – Establish objectives up front: short-term sales, to complement a promotional campaign, to engage existing customers, raise brand awareness, increase searchability, encourage word of mouth, or spread news and information about business.
2. Develop a social media policy and strategy for success – Start by assessing customers, the tribes they are a part of, how they use social media, and their level of involvement with competitors.
3. Make it personal and relevant to what people want to talk about – Post relevant, timely and meaningful content that engages customers and they will be more encouraged to “spread the word” to their network of peers.
4. Partner with causes customers care about – Whether it’s being green or feeding the hungry, people flock to support causes, ideas, organizations, or programs that they care about.
5. Engage customers through polls and contests that get them generating the content – By posting surveys, polls and trivia questions, consumers respond and spark conversations among their friends as well as a company’s followers.
6. Reward customers for getting involved with the brand – Contests, promotions and giveaways are excellent drivers to get more followers to social sites and they reward the time and efforts people spend supporting the brand and sharing it with others.
7. Keep it simple and consistent; stay active – Create a set timeline for posts; and post relevant, meaningful and respectful comments.
8. Protect the brand – Create a custom URL and be smart about privacy and the company’s confidential information.
9. Evaluate and track results – By using a series of free social media monitoring, tracking and ROI tools, it is easy to evaluate the success of social efforts, and immediately make changes to campaign or take steps to help improve social strategy.

About Stevens & Tate Marketing
Stevens & Tate Marketing is a full-service advertising agency offering award-winning, on-strategy creative; integrated message development; and cost-effective media planning and execution. Stevens & Tate creates focused, targeted solutions for all its clients in the business-to-business, hospitality, travel, retail, healthcare, resort, and real estate industries. Call 630-627-5200 for information.
To learn more about how Stevens & Tate Marketing can help grow a business’ social media strategy and to read The Power of People: Social Media for 2011 and Beyond white paper in its entirety, visit: http://www.stevens-tate.com/white-papers.

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Debbie Szwast
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