I’ve heard from several people as I prepare for this week’s Webinar “Building Real Relationships: Creating a Strategy for Your Social Media Efforts”, that I’m on the wrong path. “You shouldn’t create strategies for a particular social network site,” intoned one co-worker, “strategies are for audiences.”
Of course, I understand this is the case, but I’m always fearful that once something is relegated to being “tactical” with little or no out-of-pocket cost to get started, it leads organizations to dive in without any plan whatsoever.
On the one hand, strategy is something you apply to audiences (or occasionally campaigns). You need to understand the audience and what messages you’ll use with them, and then you need to determine how you’ll connect with that audience. That connection happens in some venue or channel and social media is dramatically expanding the number of channels available to have that discussion.
On the other hand, many social media channels only work well when you make a long-term commitment to them. In addition to the formal network connections that you develop, you often need to earn credibility with community members. And the only way to do that is to participate.
In other words, while you shouldn’t develop a social media strategy, it’s very hard to be successful with your social media efforts without a strategy.