Strategy before tactics.
"What are we doing on Blogs, Facebook and YouTube?" is the wrong question to ask (so don’t let those boardroom discussions get too heated). The better question is: "why?" "Why should we be on Blogs, Facebook and YouTube?" As I’ve said before, asking "why?" forces a brand to look at the business objectives and strategy first. "What?" is simply a tactic (which should always follow from the strategy). It’s the same as when initial brand planning sessions immediately diverge into conversations about the color of the logo or what the business cards should look like. We will (hopefully) all agree that the strategy needs to drive the tactics.
But before you get to the strategy, ask yourself this…
What are we really great at creating? Social Media isn’t one kind of media channel. It’s many different type of media that can be interacted with, created and collaborated on in many different ways. If you have a solid strategy that aligns everything to being on Twitter (let’s just say), you then have to find someone within the organization that will not only understand Twitter (what it is, how it works, etc…) but they will have to be good (err… great!) at publishing small bursts of content, frequently and engaging with others within the Twitter community. As obvious as that may sound, I’ve seen many strategies relegated to the bottom drawer of the Chief Marketing Officer’s filing cabinet because there was nobody within the organization who had the passion and skills to be the content creator and see the initiative through.
Remember: being great at Marketing means being great at Publishing.
Yes, you can still use broadcast media to drive a message through, but when you start to connect with Social Media and the many new communications and marketing platforms, you are a publisher, and the best publishers live and breathe the content they are sharing. So, if it turns out that the strategy deck calls for YouTube but there is nobody with a passion for online video, you’re going to struggle (unless you can bring in the right resources). To make Social Media work – in a very authentic way – you need to sit down, review your team and figure out what you’re good at creating, publishing and talking about.
There’s some good news.
Again, Social Media isn’t just one media. It’s many media channels. You can create content in text, audio, video and images. You can create short pieces of content (think Twitter or posting pictures to Flickr) or you can create an ongoing Podcast series (in audio or video). Spend those initial first moments before diving into the strategy to really figure out what type of content you would be best at producing. That line of thought might help move the strategy along, and it will also ensure that there is someone (or many people) within the organization that not only see this as part of their day-to-day job, but enjoy the process of creating it and engaging within it.
Take the time to really figure out what you’re good at before chasing after the latest shiny social media object.