It is no longer a question that social media is an important factor that contributes to the success of a holistic marketing campaign. But who should a client turn to when they need to ‘Get Noticed’ in the social media hub? Well, there are a few things you need to consider when engaging in social media. What platform is best suited for your business? There are a myriad of social media tools on the internet such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Squidoo, Blogs, Youtube, Flickr and so on. Moreover, within Facebook alone you can add various widgets, create a fan page and group, or even a customized application. The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis provides a holistic map of the social web and EASTWEST also created a Chinese equivalent of it. Investing in all of these platforms require large amount of resources in order to ensure that there is an active and regular stream of interaction. The key then is to select one or two platforms to represent your social media ‘voice’ and focus your resources on them to build up your social media presence and create a marketing hub. How do you engage with Social Media?One of the major mistakes in the way businesses approach the concept is thinking of the multitude of social media as a shopping list, happily striking off item by item as you create a new account. You engage a creative webpage designer to construct this fantastic immersive blog with all the latest web2.0 innovations, but do not create enough content to update it regularly. While it may generate a transient hype about your brand like a sensational advertisement, you are blatantly wasting the potential of the medium to build closer and stronger relationships with your target audiences. A good social media campaign requires the deployment of tactical communication tools and a dedicated team on standby to address any comments, questions, or complains that a fellow user may make. Similar to crisis communications, responding in real-time to your fans will become a valuable asset in building a good reputation for your business. Who should clients turn to? According to Sean deCuirteis who wrote the article ‘Social Media Campaigns: Who should clients turn to?’, clients are apt to look for creative agencies as a social media campaign requires creative development for group pages and applications. However, creative agencies may not have the skills needed to manage the communication aspect of a social media campaign. Sean adds: “PR agencies are well practiced in flexible, proactive and reactive communication and therefore well suited to manage consumer generated feedback and direct interaction with consumers. Other agencies don’t necessarily have this skill-set embedded in their agency DNA.” While there may be many solutions and choices available in the market, it is critical for clients to invest their resources in a trustworthy source. When should you start using Social Media? Time is of the essence and there are several sources ( Forbes, MarketingProfs) that report on how many businesses are scrambling to adopt social media into their marketing strategy. However, it is also important to consider the medium within the context of your specific business objectives and resources. Keith Kochberg writes on Forbes.com: “Don’t underestimate the time and effort it takes to build a viable social media presence, especially if it comes at the expense of other initiatives that might serve your business better. The fact is, social media is like a plant. Water it constantly and it can grow and thrive; leave it unattended for a few days and… you get the picture. Social media may present many opportunities, but the true test of its success is what you can actually get from it. Determine how much time you can–and want to–devote to cultivating your social media brand and getting the biggest impact from it. Remember that a successful advertising and marketing strategy employs a holistic approach, and be sure to maximize the performance of your existing activities before kicking off a new campaign.” Social Media at its bestStarbucks, one of the leading retailers, roaster and brand of specialty coffee hailing from The United States of America, came up with a campaign that not only boosted their brand image but also gave back some to the community. The Starbuck’s “I’m In” campaign created an online buzz with over a million unique visitor hits on their website, and more than 200,000 people pledging 5 hours of community service each, which enabled them to achieve their goal of 1,000,000 hours of community service. In addition, a Youtube video was published in conjunction with the campaign and has a total 1,005,182 views as I am writing this. The Starbucks Facebook fan page alone has 6,135,835 fans. Another great social media campaign by Starbucks was an idea submission webpage which encourages its loyal supporters and everyday customers to make suggestions about what new beverage, snacks, services or merchandise they would like to see in a Starbucks outlet. Social media campaigns offer an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to foster a meaningful multi-channelled conversation with your audiences, but you should first analyse how you want to approach it, who you want to engage, what reasonable goals you want to achieve, and more importantly, whether you have the resources needed to sustain an effective social media campaign. Afterall, social media marketing is all about influencing the influencers.