We often talk in terms of social media as a strategy. As such, we put together social media strategies for our clients to ensure that the efforts we put into it are effective. But social media itself is not a strategy, it’s a tool. Social media is the tool we use to implement a social media strategy, as much as a band-aid is a tool used as part of a wound healing strategy.
You probably don’t think that matters, but it does because it’s an issue of mindset. A mistake that many businesses make is using social media as a promotion channel, when it’s most effective as an engagement channel. If you’re calling social media a strategy, then self-promotion and engagement are both, effectively, fulfilling that strategy in that you’re posting content to social media.
But it’s only when you realize that social media is a tool you use to engage with your audience that you come to terms with the fact that everything you do on social media isn’t necessarily valuable or part of any kind of successful strategy at all.
As a tool, use social media to engage and interact with your audience. You can get involved in conversations, answer questions, ask questions, provide assistance, share third party content and maybe even have a little fun. Some of that fits a strategy and some doesn’t, but you need a true strategy to determine what’s what.
Overall, a good social media strategy dictates that no more than 20% of your posts should be about you or your own content. Everything else should be you participating in community conversations. As a tool, social media can be a great one. Just don’t confuse it with a non-existent strategy. Develop a social media strategy and use the tool to make the strategy valuable.