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What’s your strategy for using the top social networking tools for 2010? Have you put your ideas down into an action-filled plan?Social Marketing Strategy

The problem with using social media in your marketing plans is the lack of a plan. Without a plan, you tend to not gain results because you don’t know what results to expect.

Instead of running without a plan, this year I’ve decided to implement 7 steps into my overall marketing plan, and use them as I would any other marketing tool.

1. Concentrate my efforts on select social tools. Instead of trying every new program that comes along, or focusing on a program when I feel like it or have the time, I’ve chosen my tools and implemented them into my daily routines. For me, this year I’ll be putting all of my efforts into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – and of course my own blogging systems.

2. Learn what I don’t know. I’m using each of these tools effectively, and understand most of the principles behind them. But I can’t say I’ve earned one million dollars using any of these tools – yet! So I’m studying and learning from the best, trying to pick up secrets that can make what I do more effective.

3. Schedule time every day to work with each program. Instead of setting aside an hour for “socializing”, I’ve now created to-do lists with specific items for each system. From researching and using different Twitter applications, to buying a book on YouTube for businesses, I make sure I’m specific about my actions, and focus in on one step before applying it, and moving onto another.

4. Thinking about the future too. Even though I talk about focus, and working through each program step by step, I also know the future is changing technology – FAST. Have you ever thought about moving everything you do to a mobile platform? Or how will the new “iTablet” affect our businesses? The only thing for certain is things change, and you better be ready for them.

5. Being more specific towards my target audience. The best way to reach out with social is to be very specific about who you are reaching out to. While focus has become my motto this year, specific is right behind. I want my clients to be able to read everything I do and say – I get it, that’s me.

6. Backtrack. The problem with being a forerunner in technology is you sometimes have to take two steps back before you can move forward. Pages in Facebook are great – but what if you have a huge profile because that’s the way it worked a couple of years ago? How can you undo things now that you worked hard to create in the past? So that you can take a bigger leap forward in the very near future? I love whiteboards, and the ability to lay everything out in front of you to make sure you are heading in the right direction.

7. Seek advice. It’s amazing how much is out there to learn. And just when you learn more than you thought possible, a whole new level opens up to you. This year I’m looking for top mentors that can help me achieve the exact results I’m looking for. Mentors and coaches are the only way to move forward, yet you have to have the right one’s to do it with.

So that’s what I’ll be up to over the next 12 months. How about you?