One day, during a consultation session, a consultant of some unnamed company asked his client, “Do you have a telephone strategy?”
His client was dumbfounded.
“What do you mean by telephone strategy??? We don’t have one! How on earth are you supposed to have a telephone strategy? The telephone is just a communication tool. It's only purpose is to connect us to other people!”
Just to let you know, this is just a fictionalised story of an article by Seth Godin. Although the idea of a ‘telephone strategy’ is ridiculous, no one stops to think how ridiculous “social media strategy” is as well. That included me, I must confess.
As Seth Godin said,
And then the internet comes along and it's mysterious and suddenly we need an email strategy and a social media strategy and a web strategy and a mobile strategy.
No, we don't.
It's still people. We still have one and only one thing that matters, and it's people.
All of these media are conduits, they are tools that human beings use to waste time or communicate or calculate or engage or learn. Behind each of the tools is a person. Do you have a story to tell that person? An engagement or a benefit to offer them?
You know why everyone in the Internet business circles talks about “social media strategy”?
It’s to keep up with the Jones.
The underlying fear is that if we do not ‘do’ social media, we will miss out on the promises of milk and honey because everyone else is doing it. If your web consultancy business does not offer ‘social media strategy’, it will be looked upon as primitive and not worth its salt.
But come to think of it, what’s worse than no ‘social media strategy’?
It’s bad ‘social media strategy’. Social media, as I wrote here,
… costs an arm and leg of your time to manage them. Updating, posting, checking for objectionable comments, answering questions, deleting spam, networking, monitoring and reading updates take up a lot of time. If you are not careful, social media can be a time-sponge, draining away the last drops of your precious energy.
If doing social media is going to consume the vitality of your business, it better help your business achieve its mission. If not, it’s a bad strategy and you are better off without social media.
So, what is the better way? First, think about how to serve people better. Then sort out which social media technology best achieves that.
But that does not mean you can put off putting a stake at the various popular social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google+). That’s because if you do not do so, unscrupulous operators may see that and use your brand name to cyber-squat on those platforms.
Later, I will examine how to use each of the social media platforms strategically.