Interesting post from Jay Baer about social media, strategy and how all that fits into a business plan. Here’s the beginning of the post, which, like all stuff I link, is worth reading in full:
I don’t have a problem with Guy Kawasaki. I enjoy his books. His track record in business is substantial. We have friends in common. But on the subject of social media strategy, we disagree in every possible way.
Last month, Guy was interviewed (that happens a lot) in Inc. Magazine about social media, as was asked whether entrepreneurs should hire a consultant and develop a social media strategy. To which he replied:
“No. Just dive in…It’s very difficult to create goals and strategies for something like Google+ or Facebook or Twitter if you’re not familiar with Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.”
I reject everything about this sentiment, but perhaps most vehemently the notion that you should have a strategy for Google + or Facebook or Twitter per se. There is no such thing as a Twitter strategy. Or a Facebook strategy. Or a Google + strategy. Participation in these (or other) social outposts are tactics used in service of a social media strategy, which in turn is in service of a marketing (and sometimes customer service/retention) strategy, which is one element of an overall business strategy.
The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business because of social media. Never forget that.
Emphasis in the original. In terms of learning how to best use a medium and interact with people, I agree, to some degree, with what Guy Kawasaki is saying. I don’t dispute Jay’s overall point about having a strategy. I think that makes lots of sense. Where I think Guy’s argument is much more defensible, and in some respect I’d agree with it, is with regard to social media usage.
For any medium (Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc) there’s no blueprint that guarantees you success, no matter how you define success and measure it. There are a lot of great places that can point you in the right direction and analyze content creation and curation (when’s the best time to blog, what’s the best ratio of tweets to RTs to interactive questions, how often should you share content on Facebook, what’s the best balance between topical and whimsical content, etc) but all of that is no more than a reference. In terms of trying to discover what works best on an individual basis, I think Guy is right that the best (and really only) way to do that is to get out and test the water.
For my part, I think a consultant can help with that and be a valuable soundboard, especially if that consultant has experience working with similar organizations. But at the end of the day, even if that consultant has extensive experience, that’s no guarantee of success. So, I think that jumping in and experimenting is a good thing to do.
Of course, I’m strictly speaking about answering tactical questions that are unique to every business’ social media plan. I’m not saying that there aren’t any universal underlying threads because I think there are. How the platforms fit into your overall strategy, how you’re going to define success, the expected time frame of that success, those are all examples of questions that make sense to answer. And with regard to those questions, and other similar ones, I think Jay’s post makes a pretty persuasive case.