All or nothing

All or nothing
All too often I speak to individuals or companies who are considering using social media as part of their marketing efforts and yet they haven’t got a clear idea as to how it will fit into an overall plan or strategy.

I truly believe that social media marketing can be a very valuable part of a company’s marketing tool kit. But as with any other tactic or communication channel, it needs to be integrated into the overall business or marketing strategy effectively, with clear goals, objectives and milestones in place. Creating a one-off Facebook page or Twitter steam without an endgame in mind is simply using social media as a marketing ‘add on’, separated from from the core values, personality and image the brand is aiming to portray. Consistency is key and social media plays a vital role in generating brand awareness across both the traditional and social web.

Unless you are prepared to commit to social media entirely and use it as a genuine part of your marketing plan then I would recommend that social media isn’t used at all. Many may say that this would be far too drastic and that not participating in any social media channels would be a backwards step. However, the consequences of poor social media implantation has the potential to be much more damaging, with the possibility of frustrating followers or even customers through inconsistent participation and tone of voice.

A social media strategy doesn’t have to be a weighty tome, but it does have to coherently map out why you want to use social media, how you are going to use it and with whom. If you’re not prepared to take the time to put a simple plan together, I doubt you’ll have the time to consistently engage with communities using social media. It’s better to focus on the channels you can use really well (whether they be online or offline) and add value, rather than spread yourself – and your brand – thin across a variety of social media sites where you rarely turn up and join in.

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