Focused on the tool? You’re missing the point of social marketing

I recently read a PR blog post that advised readers to choose between social media tools for business. I couldn’t help but think the writer...

I recently read a PR blog post that advised readers to choose between social media tools for business. I couldn’t help but think the writer missed a key point. Focusing on the social media tool and its “fad fate” – how long it will be around and if it’s better than another tool - isn’t what matters. Focusing on community – the one that matters to your or your client’s business – is what’s important. Today that community is likely to be found in more than one location.

I like to advise professionals to approach social marketing with a clear business goal in mind. In PR that goal is typically built around reaching and influencing constituents that matter to a client’s business at a particular lifecycle stage. Constituents can change as the lifecycle changes, ranging from VCs to prospects and customers, to partners, journalists, bloggers, HR managers and others. As part of the process, our strategic plans and the tactical elements within them also evolve.

Therefore, I don’t advise choosing between social media tools as you consider social media for business. Instead, I suggest to clients that they engage in a variety of topical discussions across multiple communities in which their constituents participate. And at the same time, they employ a strategy to help reach the end business goal.

Finding and engaging with the right audience at the right time with the right messages is what matters. So whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Answers, a blog, a vlog or a community like Sermo, understand and plan for effective engagement across a multitude of social networks. You’ll see that if the right (not the majority) audience is there now, the mainstream popularity of the tool is a moot point.
Christine Perkett, founder and president, PerkettPR

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