Now, I want you to conquer new business (since you already understand Situation Analysis and Strategy, Conquest is a matter of connecting the dots and perhaps hiring a savvy internet marketing consultant like Sanna Lee to pull it all together). What will you need before unleashing the power?

The Group: Pull together individuals from your employees and collaborators, with the following three traits:
  1. People with an ear for stories and trends that resonate and are relevant to the business.
  2. People with "people skills" who are unafraid to motivate cooperation and inspiration from others.
  3. People who can think/move/respond fast.

The Promise: Does Social Media Marketing really have promise?

If you are a responsible business manager you probably recognize that businesses are managed by humans and humans love to be fooled. And parted from their money. To answer the question... Yes - SMM offers amazing potential for results at minimal cost. First, from a cost standpoint, marketing via the web is cheap, because resources you already have access to are pulled into play. In a cruel twist of fate, Social Media Marketing has yielded success to a stodgy cornerstone of the US Economy; namely, Fortune 500 companies, who first properly embraced and leveraged the newfound power of the net. How can this be? They have the cash. They can throw cash at the problem until its done right. SMM costs a fraction of a large corporate budget; conversely, many businesses that could benefit from SMM don't even have a marketing budget. The majority of businesses attempting to employ SMM are wasting time and money on empty promises from hucksters.

Interested in harnessing the power of SMM for your business? Here's the four part breakdown...

1) Pricing - For years, individuals in your company have secretly envisioned a pricing nirvana where customers are charged more when they are willing to pay more. Practically speaking, you can see the risk in offending your prized customer: "Hey Mel, I see you in here everyday, you love us, I will now charge you double for your cupcake". Powerfully, Social Media allows this. Think Groupon. Or for your business, what if "socially" connected customers (probably newly discovered via the web) get a special discount. Your regulars pay the regular full price. SMM allows varied simultaneous price points, which is palatable because NOBODY KNOWS. If they did know, they would connect with you. Don't confuse this with a "loyalty program", here we are offering different prices to prospect customers we select.

2) Product/Service - Your product/service may be your crown jewel. Hopefully, your customers feel that way too. Speed is critical. Act quickly. Monitor feedback, consider modifications or simply begin the conversation to explain what the customer is missing (making them happier). Don't forget to integrate SMM with traditional functions (e.g. customer service and product development), as they will have valuable input and ability to determine implementation options.

3) Place/Distribution Channel - In the old days the purchasing manager had a rolodex containing names of salesman (and vice versa). Also, important was shelf space, for retail buyers. Today, many of your customers check in daily with the most influential aspects of their lives, usually friends, associates or selected content providers. Whatever these influential entities have to say about your brand will influence the purchase decision. Powerful info is relayed with minimal investment on the behalf of the sender. By the time a purchaser drives to the physical location or picks up the phone, they already know what to buy. How many gamers had to visit the retail store to determine the purchase of "Call of Duty"? Marketing to them at the point of physical contact, is a day late and a dollar short. The rise of FedEx is an indicator that mentally connecting with your customer is key, while physical delivery of items is fast becoming a commoditized element of the value chain - to be outsourced.

4) Promotion - First off, let's discount the typical mentions that don't actually work that well, such as SEO and email marketing. Why? Because they are outdated, reminescent of the era known as outbound marketing. Today, consumers select the information source. To advertise to them you are asking for their time. In exchange they will require compensation (e.g. entertainment, valuable info, etc). What can you give your prospect in exchange for permission to market your wares? Find timely stories (internal or external) that will resonate with the market. See how Nike harnessed the Lebron story.

Don't be overwhelmed. Hire a consultant to make your internet strategy happen. Just do it. Or perhaps you want to learn more. I suggest following @sanna_lee.