Social media is one piece of your marketing pie
Social media is picking up steam in both the traditional media & in corporate boardrooms day by day. Everyone wants in on the action and wants to figure out how to use social technologies to their brands benefit. With this type of attention brings thoughts akin to “get rich quick” or mistaking a sound, over-arching, communications strategy that integrates social media, with executing social media tactics. Tactics and tools employed are not a strategy and won’t work just because someone tells you that you have to “get on Twitter”. If a consultant or agency pushes a particular tactic your way, ask them to explain why, outside of “it’s hot right now”.
When thinking of social tools there is no set formula or one-size fits all approach. What you get out of integrating these tools is dependant on the strategy you set at the outset. Twitter won’t work for every company, nor will having a blog. What will fit is what is determined based on the same principles any communications strategy or marketing plan is: knowing your product, your audience, your strengths and your weakness. Research is a must – not only what the current sentiment surrounding your brand is, but research into the established norms of the types of tools that may be right for you to use. Communities have a tricky habit of having their own way of doing things and it helps to set expectations up front before deciding, for example, that micro-blogging is the right approach to take. Not every brand can (or needs to) crowd source and not every company can afford to have constant interactions on a micro-level, in fact, sometimes the change that is most beneficial will have little to do with “getting the message out” and more to do with internalizing your customer.
Knowing your limitations and setting realistic goals up front will help determine how social media will fit within your organization and to do that you have to understand your internal, as well as the external landscape.
Social media is not a cure all for what ails you, and not all of your customers want, or need, to have the same type of relationship with you. Blending how you interact, how you internalize, and what you can offer of value with how your marketing/ corporate message is/ can be disseminated is the path to take when planning. Don’t fall into the trap of taking a short-cut, integrate at the outset.