Are Your Social Media Efforts Addressing the Right Questions?

I work regularly with businesses, and independent consultants, on their marketing communication strategies, including social media strategies. The first two key points I address with my clients (whether for traditional or online media) are:

#1 – Developing a very clear understanding of who their target audience is and which of the social media tools they are likely to be engaging with (if any).

#2 – Clarifying their overall objectives and, based on the desired audience, considering the likelihood of achieving these objectives (in whole or in part) via social media channels.

These are really the top two considerations for *any* communication effort and they start with the right questions: who is my desired target audience and what do I want them to do? (e.g. become aware of my products/services, develop a preference for my products/services, seek more information about my products/services, purchase my products/services).

Many, however, start out by asking the wrong question. The wrong question is:  “How can I use social media?”

Effective marketing communication doesn’t start with a tool. Tools are selected after careful consideration of the two core considerations discussed earlier. Based on those considerations, marketing communicators must consider which of the multitude of communication tools at their disposal, used in combination, can best help them achieve  their marketing communication goals.

Social media tools may certainly be part of that mix, but it shouldn’t be presumed that social media is a “must do” any more than running television ads is a “must do.” Just because a tool exists doesn’t mean it will be appropriate for all.


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