Social media is a channel … not a strategy

One of the most common marketing mistakes made by today’s companies is regarding social media as a strategy. It isn’t.

Social media is a channel, like the many other channels that are available to your business. Now, how you use social media and those other channels — that’s where the strategy comes in.

I’ve seen so many businesses embrace social media, investing a significant amount of time in their programs, only to watch their activity sputter and die out. When asked, they’ll admit that they were disappointed with results that just didn’t seem to justify the investment of time.

Most often, that’s because they feel prey to the misconception that social media is a magical strategy that works by existing. “We just have to do social media, we don’t have to think about it.” “If we put three posts a day on Facebook, we’ll be swamped with business.”

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Social media can be a powerful element of your overall strategy, but it’s simply a channel for communicating with your stakeholders (and ideally, for giving them the opportunity to communicate with you). What makes it succeed or fail is what and how you communicate. That’s your strategy.