Truthfully, I attempt to use social media marketing from a strategic perspective, first understanding the company's marketing goals, determining their target market and figuring out how social media can interlace into the overall marketing mix. More and more though, I'm giving in to the notion that Facebook and Twitter are defaults which should be included in any marketing plan verbatim.
Why do I say that?
For one, everybody is using them. That's particularly true of Facebook. Lately, I find myself literally going back in time being friended by people from as early as high school and college days, many of whom I would never have thought would be using a social network site. That suggests Facebook is just part of our culture now. It has reached mainstream adoption. That's true of Twitter to a lesser extent, but it's growth is so rapid that it deserves at least honorable mention.
Second, your competition is likely already there. Now that the Facebook Page has firmly established itself as a marketing must, I'm seeing tons of small businesses clamoring to set one up. (Again, that's true to a lesser extent with Twitter, but I'm convinced that you really shouldn't have one without the other. They play very well together and serve distinct purposes. Plus, Twitter is hot, hot, hot now!)
So, if "everybody is doing it," including your competition, doesn't it make sense for you to have a presence there as well? While that excuse never worked with my parents (I can still hear my mother saying "If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do that too?!"), I think it's sufficient enough justification to dive into the social media waters.
If you buy into my argument, then the real issue is not in doing it, but doing it well — setting yourself apart from the competition and distinquishing yourself as trustworthy and knowledgeable. How do you go about doing that? Other questions come to mind as well, such as "What do I put on my Facebook Page?" and "What do I Twitter about?"
I'm going to answer those questions and more in subsequent posts, so stay tuned.
PS: None of this is to undermine the value of other social networks such as LinkedIn, MySpace or sites such as YouTube or Flickr. Ultimately, it does go back to what's in the company's strategic best interest. However, to underscore what I'm saying, note this screenshot from an email just received:
"Follow us on Twitter" and "Become a Fan on Facebook." Two mantras you will hear repeated over and over.