Before jumping on the social media bandwagon …

A report published yesterday by eMarketer revealed that within a year, a whopping 82 percent of brand marketers will use social media as part of their marketing plan. Naturally, you may think. After all, more than half of all brand marketers already use this medium to their advantage. But is it peer pressure or a natural progression?

Beware of jumping on the bandwagon before you have a solid plan of attack. As with any marketing tool, if your social media strategy is not well thought out, it could backfire and end up hurting your brand or siphoning precious company resources. Take the time and effort upfront, and you, too, can reap the benefits this medium has to offer—namely building a community that’s engaged with your brand.

Here are three questions (originally from the folks at Marketing Profs) to ask before your organization takes the plunge:

  1. Do you have the resources? Consider time and manpower. Social media often appears to be free, but it takes research and time, which equals money. Are there social-media-savvy individuals at your company? Will you assign a team to learn about social media from scratch or hire outside help?
  2. Can your staff create the necessary content? Think blog posts, Facebook updates, a constant Twitter feed, video, podcasts and more. Social media is anything but stagnant and needs constant updating with valuable content. Don’t stifle your social media initiatives by over-policing content, but make sure it’s relevant and useful to your audience. Social media should help build your brand, not dilute it with unrelated, inappropriate posts.
  3. Is your company’s culture ready for social media? If not, it’s time. If you’re reading this, YOU may be your company’s social media advocate. Embrace the role, and make it happen. But don’t wait too long … the wheels are rolling. Don’t be left behind!

– Karla Gordillo