According to a recent study conducted by McCann Erikson UK, 86% of marketers lack the ability to implement social media programs. And two-thirds of those surveyed said that they didn’t know how to apply social media effectively in marketing. Because these same marketers claimed that they do understand the importance of social media marketing, it seems they’re just short on exposure and skills.

Lack of experience is fairly common among marketers because social media isn’t only a newfangled trend, it’s also one that’s still emerging and constantly redefining itself. For almost any marketing company, it’s hard to juggle pre-existing areas of specialty while keeping up-to-the-minute with the latest shifting social media trends.

What’s really startling are the results of a 2009 MarketingSherpa study which reports that two-thirds of marketers who have no experience in social media marketing claim that they feel knowledgeable—if not very knowledgeable—of how social media works. While in fact most marketers are inexperienced with social media, they tend to have a sense of overconfidence—a devastating trait in the world of business.

Troy Janisch of Social Meteor blames this sense of overconfidence on the disconnect between how an individual uses social media tools in their personal life, and how it can be used in marketing. Marketers’ relative ease with such systems and tools socially leads them to believe their experience will translate to professional prowess.

However, this overconfidence doesn’t mean that you have to go to expensive specialists just to create a social media campaign that parallels your current marketing strategy. Janisch actually believes that marketing companies are more than able to incorporate their given understanding of social media to a larger campaign by identifying goals and then creating a staggered strategy to achieve them. This can be done by breaking up an ultimate goal (the overall social media objective) into small-term steps which build to meet the long-term objective. Janisch suggests 30-45 days per interval as a realistic timeframe that will keep the ball rolling. In each interval, one small-term goal (such as researching trends, collecting feedback or engaging users) can be met.

The overall idea is to avoid creating short-term, simple projects that may find brief success, but fail to accomplish the greater ROI that is easily achievable through social media conduits. Long-term programs are especially beneficial to marketing companies with limited experience in social media, because it allows them to test ideas, incorporate new technologies and adjust their project as needed throughout the course of the staggered project. It’s a learn-as-you-go gambit without the perils of naïveté or overconfidence, which means added security and benefits for the client.

At Mad 4 Marketing, we don’t pretend to know it all. We’ll be the first to admit that we’re always learning and growing, merging innovative approaches with the latest technology to get results. Let us demonstrate our ever-improving social media acumen with a long-term program proposal that uniquely addresses your audience and objectives.