Most marketers start with social media tactics instead of goals. In fact, eMarketer finds that 80 percent of marketers incorrectly begin with social media tactics instead of goals.
Here is my take on why its hard to build a strategy around social media:
1. Social media strategy requires collaboration across the entire executive team
Execs are busy. They have a lot on their mind. Social Media is probably a hot topic for the CMO, but may be the last thing the CEO is thinking about. Plus, it takes time for each department to clearly articulate their goals and then collaborate with the other leaders to build and approve an overall strategy.
2. Authority must be placed in the hands of someone who can communicate in real-time
Social media marketing is about conversation and relationships. The person responsible for managing the overall conversation and developing strategies to convert those conversations into real dollars must have unprecedented authority to act in real-time. How many companies are brave enough to give this power to someone on their team to do this?
3. Social media marketing takes time
We are a results-driven culture. Social media marketing takes time. Building relationships takes time. While there certainly are tactics that can immediately result in success (like the list growth scenario we often describe), the best companies know that it takes time to build relationships and that social media is the most effective way for brands to do it. Once those relationships are established, brands can ask more of their customers.
That said, it is worth it. I encourage you all to work with your executive team to begin building your strategy. In ExactTarget's Executive Alert Letters to the C-Suite: Getting Serious about Social Media, we'll help you navigate the social media waters and get your strategy in place for 2013!