After seven weeks, our social media marketing 101 series comes to a close. While I’ve enjoyed outlining the script to help you write your organization’s narrative online, I know there is much I didn’t discuss, of which another seven weeks could cover. However, for brevity’s sake, I offer a few last-minute tips, tricks and final thoughts about this thing called social media marketing.

What Happens When You Assume...?

First, this series assumed a lot. It assumed that you have the freedom and time to tackle each one of these issues one by one, week by week. That’s not to say that I assumed that you would.

  • Week 1: Who Are You? What Do You Do?
  • Week 2: Content, Context, Curation
  • Week 3: Establishing Goals, Metrics
  • Week 4: Brand Management
  • Week 5: Sharing, Collaborating and Connecting
  • Week 6: Choosing the Right Platform
  • Week 7: Creating Proactive Policies

In 2011, many organizations are behind the eight-ball and don’t have the luxury of time to strategically outline their identity, vision and goals for a social media presence. Often, their identity has already been defined for them on social media, even before they stuck the proverbial toe into the waters. So what if you’re an organization that is struggling to make amends with the social Internet?

It’s never too late

For every early adopter, there is a late bloomer. For whatever reason (and I know there are many) you’ve avoided social media. Whatever social media means to you, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, or the concept of transparency and giving up control, it can be overwhelming. For a while, it seemed like it’d be easier to ignore it than confront your fears. However, your grace period has ended. It’s time to get serious.

You don’t have to do it alone

Chances are, you’re not the only one. As well, chances are there are others around you who can help. Social marketing is only as good as the socially supportive environment in which you work. Create a team -- let anyone join, there’s no need to be exclusive! As long as everyone knows the objective of the group, they’ll work to achieve an outcome that is both viable and inclusive.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

While there is not a cookie-cutter approach to social media marketing, there are other organizations that have been through what you’re about to do. Learn from them. Look for case studies at conferences, webinars and white papers. Don’t expect it to be an exact blueprint, though. Instead, identify the pieces that you like and that can work for your organization.

Don’t forget the big picture

Social media is not the beginning, nor is it the end. It is a part of the journey. Your organization’s message, be it research, a commercial product or an experience, is your top priority. Use all the necessary channels to meet your target audience.

Ideally, you’d want that message to live as long as possible, as is appropriate. Social media can help prolong the echo and engage users long after the promotional launch has ended, the research report has printed or the deadline has passed. Additionally, social media can curate your content so it can come back to life in new ways. It’s easy to get lost in social media, but it’s important to remember that it may be a supporting role.

Finally, let’s not forget that social media marketing is about making your message social. Don’t use it as a fax machine. Use it as a means to engage, discuss, share and collaborate with others. Social media marketing relies on the wisdom of crowds, community management and a willingness to experiment. The opportunities are abundant and the possibilities, endless.  

Editor's note: Check Marisa's entire series devoted to Social Media Marketing.