Your focus list for social media marketing

Every Saturday there's a farmer's market down the street from us. We love to go mingle with the neighborhood folk, shop for locally grown fruits and vegetables, and listen to some live music.

A cacophonic community of organic conversation. Kind of like social media marketing, or at least the way it's supposed to work.

In the old school rules of marketing and PR, there were very definitive processes about direct marketing, PR, advertising, and measuring the return of all those.

But social media marketing is messy and not as clear on how to track results, and ain't that a beautiful thing?

However, we don't go to the market without a list of things we need every week, and HR suppliers invested in social marketing shouldn't go without one either.

My friends at The Glowan Consulting Group shared a great tip yesterday about making two lists (brief segue here that ties in):

List 1: Your Focus List (the road ahead)
What are you trying to achieve? What makes you happy? What's important to you? Design your time around those things. Because time is your one limited resource and no matter how hard you try you can't

List 2: Your Ignore List (the distractions)
To succeed in using your time wisely, you have to ask the equally important but often avoided complementary questions: what are you willing not to achieve? What doesn't make you happy? What's not important to you? What gets in the way?

These lists are more work/life lists than anything else, but when immersing yourself in social media, it can all be quite overwhelming. How much time do I invest? How much information do I have to try to consume everyday? There's a lot of stuff out there, a lot of noise, and a lot of crap to wade through.

Make a focus list that includes:

The communities you want to have "marketing" conversations with. There are the big three with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but what about other communities like and (and isn't there a new SHRM community coming as well?). And don't forget the Ning networks like RecruitingBlogs and RecruiterEarth and so many more. But don't overwhelm yourself; you'll have to have an ignore list as well.

Building your network connections organically. Listen to what they're talking about. Comment on it. Share information of your own. Just don't force your marketing rap on them from the get go; you can't game social media, because it can and will game you right back by biting you in the butt. This isn't like direct marketing, so if you aren't hanging out and chatting and sharing information and paying it all forward - being authentic - then these folks are going to get that quickly and your connections will dissolve.

Contextual posting of information. Remember, your social media marketing "conversations" can and should be contextual and aren't always for every social networking audience.

Listening to the influencers in the HR marketplace. There are too many to list here, and I'm not including a lot of valuable supplier blogs and resources, but if you're targeting HR and executive management, here are some folks across the space I try to "listen" to regularly:
How much time do you want to invest. Other HR marketers have told me they invest on the average 30-60 minutes per day. That's a good average that I invest as well. Don't spend ours jacking around on Twitter. Trust me, you can, and so you may as well stay up all night playing Legend of Zelda (oh, that was me in college - sorry).

Tracking visibility, traffic and leads. Who's sharing your contextual contributions? Who's retweeting you? Who's quoting you in their blogs? How much website traffic are you generating from your content marketing in social media circles? How many folks are downloading your content from your social media efforts? You can measure all these things.

Whether or not you want to hire a firm to help you with social media marketing. Yesterday, David Meerman Scott wrote:

There is really only one question to ask your prospective social media agency. It doesn't matter if they are your existing ad agency or PR agency or a potential new agency. Ask the prospective agency to show the agency social media presence. Ask about such things as blogs, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, Web site(s), Facebook profiles, ebooks, and any other stuff they have. Make it an open-ended question. This not to say that an agency needs to do everything. But they should be out there.

Yes, they should be out there (and we are). 'Cause if they're not, then you're certainly getting gamed. Enough said there.

Man, I gotta work on my ignore list.

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