Social Media is catching up every day. the traditional way of marketing through things like print and TV are losing out to this internet based revolution, When we think of Social Media, what comes to mind is Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. But these are just a part of social media. There are several others. For instance, how to manage social media? How to monetize it? How to strategize. While there are many tools for all these facets of Social Media, what matters is a clear plan to achieve your objectives. Like all business planning, your Social Media Plan should clearly articulate your strategy, the tactics you would use to put the execution in place. Mind you, the most important part is the last one – execution.

Those who are getting started with Social Media, you can read up a lot on the internet. Social Media is about two way conversations. At the speed of light. Very often people who get started notice the difference in this channel. It’s very fast. Response is immediate. Unlike email, this conversation is not passive. It’s like a chat room, where you post your question and somebody answers it almost in a jiffy. The second thing a starter will notice is the ease of use. Tools have become very professional with a smooth user experience manifested in the interface. One can join social media sites very easily. They are mostly developed with a Web 2.0 front end. (lots of Javascripts, jQuery etc) Most of these tools offer a freemium model, which means, basic features are free. However, you have to pay for power features.

One very useful tool for measuring the impact of Social Media is Analytics. Almost all the vendors bundle this as a dashboard. Consider Google Analytics. The basic version (which also gives a lot of features) is free. For power users you have to subscribe to their plans. A tool for measuring your social media influence is Klout. This is simply a site where users vote for you. The more the votes the more is your influence. To gauge your mentions (who all on social media has made a mention about you) you can use a tool called Mention and another one is Social Mention. Both provide a good and informative user experience. There is Zapier, if you want to connect various social media sites and link your actions. There is Quora, if you want your questions to be answered. There is Yelp for uncovering people / events in your neighbourhood. There are many others.

If you want a marketing campaign to be effective, remember it’s not just Google or Facebook Ads. Behind the scenes you have to develop a profile for your campaign on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest etc. Get a home page on all of this and invite your friends to like them. Remember, Social Media is two way. You pat on the back, and you will get a return pat. So read up other peoples posts and comment on them. If you have made a mistake, admit it candidly. Do not run away from criticisms. Face them. Answer them. One very good Social Media tools is blogging. Get an account on Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr. And start blogging immediately. Opt for Adsense if you want to make money through your blogs. However a non-ad site would be considered unobtrusive,

Another hit is video Ads. Youtube, Vimeo are good channels. You can upload your campaign on these and watch some of them go viral.There are many social media experts out there, who can guide you. To get started go to Hubspot.

All in all, there is just one thing to say: Do not miss out the bus in this one. It’s hot like an iron ore melt. Strike the hammer and claim the gold.

Good Luck!