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So you decided to bite the bullet and get into social media for 2013. Maybe it’s your company’s new year’s resolution. Well, you’ve definitely come to the right blog, and most of the great blog posts here help you strategize: how to add humor, how to strategize for B2B, even signs that your social media strategy will fail.

Once you have a plan outlined and goals set, how do you actually get started? How do you get the social media rubber to hit the proverbial road with your social media plan?

In my experience, I’ve worked as (or with) each of the following options. Here are a variety of ways to begin to implement social media at your organization, from the most cost effective to the quickest and easiest to implement.

Teach Yourself

The easiest way to learn is to jump right in. If you don’t want to commit your company name to a page, create one for your church, little league team, or a friend’s business. Within a few months, you should be able to run basic social media campaigns, and integrated campaigns within a year.

Join your local professional marketing association, interactive marketing association or social media club and attend meetings. Costs will be minimal, and as an expert within your company, you’ll be best able to understand your company goals.

Bring in a Consultant

You can jumpstart your social media efforts by hiring a consultant or consulting firm to conduct some analysis of your business, your competitors, or your industry. Consultants have expertise in understanding social media marketing and can help to prevent any missteps.

Be sure, though, that the advice makes sense and that goals are clearly outlined. Consultants will probably have limited understanding of your products or services, especially if they’re highly technical in nature.

Hire Someone

If you don’t feel like you have the expertise or passion to continue your social media efforts, hire someone to take care of it for you. A full-time employee will give you undivided attention for your social media channels, which can get quite complicated once all of your channels are considered.

If a full-time position isn’t in the cards, a freelancer, part-time employee or intern can help provide the extra manpower you might need to support your social media efforts.

Hire an Agency

Whether you’re considering a small social media agency, full-service marketing agency, public relations or advertising agency, you’ll get added expertise from people who have been there before. Many niche agencies exist for very specific industries as well. If you already have a marketing, PR or an ad agency, ask about adding social media services.

If you don’t currently work with an agency, search for one. Check out their portfolios and see if they have previous clients in your industry and if their voice and content might fit your company. Don’t forget that the best agency for your company might not be local. With online collaboration tools, it’s easier than ever to collaborate virtually.

Evolve from an Agency

If hiring an agency long-term is out of the question, consider working with one to get your social media pages and profiles started. After about six months, you should have an established community as well as enough understanding to carry on solo. This provides an option to get started quickly, while not being completely reliant on the agency long term.

Do you work in one of these roles, or have you worked with a social media person in one of these capacities? Tell us how it worked for you!

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