With all the attention paid to social media these days, I am amazed at how limited the depth of knowledge and insight many “experts” actually provide their attendees. There is simply too much talk about the tools and way too much talk about what has worked for other businesses. There is not enough fundamental education and strategic planning information for business owners looking for real applicable answers to their social media challenges.
A case in point is this promotion on “how to make the most of your time meeting people online.” This presentation features benefits like “why you should update your status and with what kind of information” and “how you can use social media networking to further your brand” and “which four social media networks you should be using and why.”
This is all good tactical information. Where is the real strategic planning for businesses? What worked for these experts, or examples of what some random business accomplished, simply does not mean that these results automatically translate to success in other situations.
There is a missing component in these social media seminars—how to develop a social media strategy for your business.
Here is another event that asks, “tired of social media discussions that tell you to ‘just do it?’ Wondering how to make key decisions and how to manage and track your effectiveness? Have you signed up for a few accounts but aren’t sure what to do next?” The attendees will learn “which social media options are best for your company, how to measure your social media efforts and how to maintain these efforts in tough times.”
Tactics, tactics, and more tactics. It is no wonder people keep going to these social media seminars. No one has provided them a template to build a social media plan that makes sense for their business. These events are missing the most important element—a strategic planning component. A social media strategic plan asks several simple questions: What do I want to accomplish; Where is my market; and, What is my brand? The result: A social media strategy that meets the business objectives in the targeted market with a clear understanding of the brand and value proposition.
It is not the tools that define the strategy or the tactics. It is the strategy that defines the necessary tools.
Before going to another expert presentation on social media, ask yourself, “do I even have a social media strategy for my business?” If the answer is no, stay home and work on that first. And, if you need help understanding how to develop a social media strategy for your business, call me. I have built the plan and I actively help businesses develop one. Otherwise, keep wasting your time getting little nuggets of what everyone else has done and work backwards – you will eventually figure it out.
Some other blogs for perspective and reading pleasure:
Too busy for Social Media Marketing? Martin Zwilling
Creating a Strategic Communications Plan, Kyle Lacy
Social Media Books and Experts, Scott Monty