Starting from scratch with social media marketing

A client of mine inspired this article.  She’d asked for some advice on starting a social media marketing plan from scratch.  This article also marks the beginning of my own 30 day challenge (#30daychallenge) to create value for clients by producing social objects.  Feel free to play along or start your own 30 day challenge for your clients.


Without further adieu…here is my beginner’s guide to starting from scratch with social media marketing.


Step 1 – Open up your calendar


Block off two hours in your schedule on a day where you’ve got some time available in the next 3 weeks.    Go to a coffee shop or a restaurant or a library or someplace away from a computer and other distractions. Read the rest of this article to prepare yourself for this coming day.


Step 2 – Ask Why?


Contrary to popular opinion you don’t “need” to be on every social platform.  However, you do need to ask yourself why you are using social media.

Is it because other people say you have to?

Is it for sales?

Is it for customer service?

Is it for positioning yourself as a thought leader?

Is it for market or consumer research?

Answering these five questions will give you insights as to the purpose for your social media marketing strategy. Once you know why you are using social media, it will become much easier to select the platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc) and tactics (blog, podcasts, slides, videos) you should use.


Step 3 – Ask How? 


How do you best communicate?

Are you great at writing emails, speaking on the phone or talking face to face?  Do you like to draw, take photos or create amazing graphs from crunching data?

The biggest misconception about social media is that it’s free.  It’s not, it’ll cost you your time.  Since you’ll be investing your time, you might as well invest in building on your strengths and communicate in a way that best describes how passionate you are about a particular topic.


Step 4 – Ask Who? 


Who are you doing this for?

There is a great quote from Dale Carnegie that I often think of when answering this question.


[box] “Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?” Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?” [/box]


At this stage, you’ll find an empathy map helpful for better understanding of your customer.  This exercise is particularly helpful to guide every future marketing activity.


Click on the image to find out more information on how to use this powerful tool


Step 5 – Ask When?


Marketing with social media will take time.  When do you have time to spare?

I’d recommend you open up your calendar and reserve time for this project.  Start by blocking off 30 minutes from each day.  To give you an idea, here’s a look at my calendar.  I’ve color coordinated all of my appointments purple means I’m making social objects and red means I’m listening and learning.   The red boxes are Mountain Standard Timezone Twitter chats that are relevant to me.  I promised myself to take part in at least two per week.


Give yourself a chance to succeed and block off some time.
Give yourself a chance to succeed and block off some time.



Step 6 – Ask What?


What platform are you going to use?

What form of communication best suits your skills?

What do your customers want to hear from you?

What are you going to make or share?

Curation and creation are two distinct strategies for social media marketing.   When I say curation, I’d like you to think of a museum.  The museum doesn’t create the art, they just curate it for others to see.  On the other hand, Picasso is the artist that creates art that people want to see.  The creator and the curator have a symbiotic relationship, one benefits from the other.   Try mixing both curation and creation into your social media marketing strategy.


Step 7 – Do











If you get to this point and you’ve done the work, you’ll have a really great head start to succeed with your social media marketing.  I intentionally put FAIL on this list because it’s such an important part of learning.  At first, don’t worry about going viral.  Focus instead on doing something and learning from it.



If you feel stuck or confused feel free to leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help answer any question you might have.

You could also try using this magic button

[button link=”” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] Magic Answer Button[/button]


  1. Another great post Marc! I am stealing your idea of scheduling in the tweet chats. This is something that I am interested in understanding more of. Do you know if there is a place to go and find all available tweet chats — from brand development to shoe collections?

    1. Hey Laura,

      Thanks. You can try this link or search google for Tweetchats by the industry or topic your interested in.



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