Social Media ≠ Rocket Science

Anyone who pays attention to social media, marketing and PR understands the concepts behind effective use of online tools like Twitter and Facebook. Using them effectively requires only a healthy dose of common sense. So why then are there reports like this (thanks Simone):
A recent study of US marketers by the Direct Marketing Association and COLLOQUY found that brand awareness was the most popular objective of social media “campaign”.

Social media is not another "campaign" like traditional advertising. It requires an on-going, valuable and remarkable relationship with your audience.

Companies and brands get so excited to hop on 'the social' bandwagon that they forget to go through the same processes they probably do before starting anything new: plan! Not that everyone should have a 300-page "Social Media Implementation Plan" but a little groundwork goes a long way.

At the very least, before venturing into the giant ocean that is capital-S Social Media, there should be the following:

  1. Social media plan - This should include things like what your message is, who will manage them, who your audience is and how they are going to benefit from your content. This plan might change constantly, but at least it exists!

  2. Social media policy - Again, this doesn't have to be complex, but if you are going to have more than one or two people managing the various accounts, a policy will ensure that everyone has the same professionalism and voice when posting content.

  3. A very clear focus - Weak and unfocused content isn't useful and doesn't engage your audience. Incentives, interesting content and useful material are the key things here.

  4. A commitment to currency - Probably one of the worst things that can happen is for a company to create various social media accounts, post to them for a bit and then let them stagnate. Effective involvement in social media requires commitment.

Marketers cannot treat social media as another campaign. It's not just another print or billboard campaign. It's a conversation. Start one!