In my last post, I talked about social media fails and how doing social “right” is about trial and error or learn­ing through fail­ure what works and what doesn’t. Of course no one wants to fail, but we all do. While I have cer­tainly had my share of blun­ders, I’ve also been lucky enough to gain a few insights along the way. Last week I had the oppor­tu­nity to talk to a local col­lege that has just started offer­ing a for­mal social media degree. I was encour­aged by the progress the indus­try is mak­ing and thrilled to see so much inter­est from young stu­dents. In fact, if I were to have a con­ver­sa­tion with a social media mar­keter who is just start­ing out, either in this major or as an entry-level pro­fes­sional, this is what I might say to them:

Dear Young Social Media Marketer,

Wel­come to one of the most reward­ing, yet strangely unsat­is­fy­ing careers around—social media mar­ket­ing. Your job can be intense, excit­ing, and even exhil­a­rat­ing, yet so much of what the indus­try might define as stan­dard process is still to be deter­mined. There’s an art to social media and it takes a cer­tain amount of skill, dex­ter­ity, and let’s be hon­est, a lit­tle luck to get it right. Here are three things I know now that I wish some­one had told me along the way.

No. 1: Resist the Urge to be Every­where All the Time

Most busi­nesses under­stand the need for an active social media pres­ence, but with new plat­forms seem­ingly pop­ping up every day and other “cut­ting edge” mar­ket­ing tools on the rise, it’s a chal­lenge just to stay cur­rent. How­ever, don’t assume you need to be every­where, now. The truth is it’s a bet­ter strat­egy to stick with the one or two plat­forms you’re con­fi­dent in and mas­ter your approach before try­ing to jug­gle a few new ones. Why? It takes time to get a han­dle on not only your voice, but also your tar­get audi­ence and what it is they want to hear from you.

Each plat­form deserves its own time to prove value. Besides, in efforts to be every­where, there’s a strong chance that you’ll do all the chan­nels just okay, but none of them great. In other words, don’t make the mis­take of try­ing to eat the whole ele­phant. Twit­ter boasts over 20 mil­lion active users, send­ing an esti­mated 500 mil­lion tweets per day; mas­ter that and you’ll make inroads faster than you think.

No. 2: Be Social Net­work Agnostic

It’s easy to get lost in the excite­ment of watch­ing a social media pres­ence grow—it’s fun stuff. But keep in mind that suc­cess on each indi­vid­ual plat­form, while impor­tant, is not the end goal. Gain­ing Face­book fol­low­ers or reach­ing more of your audi­ence with tweets is good, but it does not auto­mat­i­cally trans­late into increased rev­enue or lower costs. Try to look at your active chan­nels and plat­forms as vehi­cles to help you get where you’re going instead of the end-all strat­egy them­selves. After all, a healthy skep­ti­cism isn’t a bad thing and it can help you keep a bet­ter focus on where you’re headed and why.

No. 3: Have a Plan that Sup­ports Your Busi­ness Outline

I can’t stress enough the impor­tance of hav­ing a solid, work­able plan in place that sup­ports busi­ness objec­tives while pur­su­ing a social media strat­egy. Sur­pris­ingly, the major­ity of social media strate­gists have no plan and no idea how to do what they’ve been asked to do. A con­crete struc­ture and strat­egy can help gov­ern day-to-day activ­i­ties, max­i­miz­ing your invest­ment, and more impor­tantly, your time.

As most of us know by now, social involves more than engag­ing users with per­son­al­ized con­tent across their devices. It’s about build­ing rela­tion­ships with cus­tomers and the peo­ple you want to reach. For the young social media mar­keter, this is an excit­ing time with the chance to cre­ate real busi­ness impact—despite unknowns.


Cory, very good points and I think the last point is the most important. Planning is really important and before that setting a realistic goal is also required. Different website/companies depending on the niches use social media in different ways. So identifying the real audience, their pain points, needs and preferences are really crucial before starting a social media campaign. Catering the right content to right people at right time can be awesome. Planning is the most important. True and agreed. Additionally analytical skill is also required to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign depending on their goals and targets.


Sam Mudra