Online marketing is part of your overall marketing strategy and social media play a leading role.

The secret of success is to have a strategy that identifies what you want to achieve, the resources (time/money/people) needed and the means of measuring your success.

These then need to be accompanied by a management plan; who does what, for how long, when and how?

Sounds simple – but most people don’t think their online marketing through with that level of focus. To be honest, some people don’t think their offline marketing through either!

The challenge is to know what the tools can do and then apply them diligently. Most online marketing is not a quick fix – it takes time to have an effect, sometimes creating this over several months. You don’t build a reputation overnight!

Connecting up tools like Hootsuite to feed your tweets to your Twitter, Facebook, Facebook page, LinkedIn and Ping accounts is a good start. However, you will need to have explored Ping and got that set up first. These and other tools like them need to be explored and understood first.

Having a strategy that dictates the sort of content you will post, how you will get traction on your Facebook page, how you will optimise your LinkedIn profile, etc. is important too.

Setting aside time is critical.

It never fails to amaze me that people are willing to invest time at networking events to raise their profile and promote their business, but not to invest the same amount of time in developing their online reputation in the same way. Consider how much you could achieve in three hours a week online.

Bear in mind that your online and offline marketing are not separate entities – they work together and can yield amazing results. I know of people who have asked their online community for introductions to companies they wanted to work with and have had the door they’ve been hammering on for years opened in a matter of hours.

Take the time to think about your online marketing, include social media, your blog, newsletter, articles, free give aways (reports and white papers), autoresponders, email marketing and using groups to raise your profile, build your reputataion and provide information – but remember, it’s not a one way street – be prepared to give as well as take.
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