There sure are a lot of people and organizations jumping on the social media bandwagon these days. Most are doing so without a communications plan, let alone a brand strategy. I equate this situation to the Gold Rush Days in the United States during the 1800s. People thought they could get quick rich by coming to states like Alaska, California and Colorado. They sold what they had, bought a wagon, packed everything they owned and headed west.
Before they knew it, the Gold Rush folks realized that they had not learned how to mine, failed to understand how to navigate mountainous terrain and knew nothing about the culture of the west. While a few lucky ones made it big and other savvy business people achieved a return on their investment, most did not attain the goals they hoped for. Why? Because they acted without a plan.
At warp speed people and organizations are embracing social media. Many are diving in head-first without a plan (or diving board and pool). First of all most organizations do not understand (or have) their mission and core values. As a result they have not effectively recruited and retained champions for their brand. Secondly, they have not taken the time and devoted the resources to develop a brand platform to guide their communications. And finally, they are unable to communicate their brand strategy with the appropriate social media.
While it is important to blog, tweet, follow, friend and connect through other means, make sure you have something important to say that educates, entertains or otherwise engages your brand champions in the brand development process. Then make sure they align with your mission, core values and strategic plan.
I look forward to continuing this dialogue tonight with attendees at University College at the University of Denver as part of the Colorado American Marketing Association Knowledge Series.