The month of September marks many new beginnings: the first day of school, the first month of fall, the start of football and hockey seasons, the beginning of grape harvest season (a significant event for a California wine lover like myself!), the new iPhone 5S . . . the list goes on. And when there are new beginnings, there are new learnings. This is why September is one of my favorite months — for me, September symbolizes advancement and progress.

For marketing leaders, there is no better time than now to start learning about how to advance your social marketing initiatives. Most likely, you have been using social media tactics for some time now. And if you're like many marketers, you may find that you are stuck in a social marketing rut. Perhaps you find yourself unable to optimize your existing strategies or unable to get the results you expect from your social marketing programs. Or perhaps you have hit some major road blocks that are hindering your progress:



The good news: my colleagues and I have been working on some exciting new research this quarter that will help you overcome these challenges and advance your social marketing initiatives. This research will be published in our Social Marketing Playbook and will help you to do these three things: 

Build a better business case. I have spent the past two months interviewing B2B and B2C marketing leaders on how they currently build a business case to secure resources for their social marketing initiatives. I found that 1) most marketers who do not build a formal business case are hobbling along with stagnant social marketing programs, and 2) marketers who do build a formal business case tend to pave the way for incremental resources that help them scale and optimize their efforts. Stay tuned for my full report on this topic this fall. In the meantime, if you find your social marketing efforts have hit a dead end, you may need to start building a business case to secure that additional headcount or budget to jump start it — and hopefully advance it to the next level.

Break down organizational silos. Marketing leaders often ask me for guidance on how they should organize for social marketing. Should they use a "hub and spoke" model? Should they decentralize? Should they outsource? What is the ideal job description for a social marketing manager? The short answer: it depends. There is not a one-size-fits-all organizational model for social marketing, but it is important that resources are allocated efficiently so that the brand can be proactive, interactive, and responsive to customers who are using social channels to discover, explore, and engage with the brand. Stay tuned for my new report, which will dive more deeply into this topic. It will also be available this fall.

Fine-tune your strategies. When it comes to social marketing, there is always room for improvement. Social continues to evolve at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, you need to invest in your own education so that you can fine-tune your approaches. You may find lots of information online regarding how to set a social marketing strategy but may not be quite sure how to pick the right methodology for your unique business needs. If this is the case, then I invite you to join me and my colleague Zachary Reiss-Davis at our September 18 Social Marketing Workshop event in San Francisco or at our October 24 Social Marketing Workshop in New York. We will guide you through the process of creating a social marketing strategy that reflects your customer's social profiles and your specific business objectives. And have some fun along the way!

Do you find yourself stuck in a social marketing rut? Or have you determined a way to advance your social marketing efforts? Please share — I would love to gather more insight on these topics!