This is a no-brainer, right? Because we all know you create the strategy first, then find the tactics that help you best execute that strategy. Right?
So many companies are jumping on Twitter and Facebook (for example) because they are the 'hot' sites of the moment, and/or because they think they need to be there. They use these sites for a couple of weeks, then realize they have absolutely no idea what's going on. That's when I get the 'we started using Twitter/Facebook but really have no idea what we are supposed to be doing with it' email.
I get that email because the business started using Twitter and Facebook without first having a social media strategy in place. They assumed they had to be on these sites, and once they were there, had to scramble to figure out how being there was going to help their business.
Get the strategy in place first, then decide on the tactics that help you execute that strategy.
Don't focus on social media tools, focus on the reasons why you are wanting to use social media. What are you wanting to accomplish? Some examples:
1 - Grow awareness of a particular product or service, or your entire company.
2 - Establish your expertise within your industry.
3 - Provide greater customer service.
4 - Share and communicate information more quickly with customers, especially during a crisis situation.
Once you know what your strategy is, then you can talk tactics. Because each tool works in a slightly different way, and as such, makes it more or less likely to work for your particular strategy. If you want to connect with your customers quickly, as in a crisis situation, or to provide customer service, a tool that facilitates more real-time communication, like Twitter, would probably work well. If you want to establish your expertise within your industry, maybe a blog would be your best bet.
But before you jump in and start using a particular tool, you have to make sure that it fits your strategy, and that it fits your existing human, skill, and time resources. I understand that many companies now feel the need to 'do something', but you still need to have a plan. And if you aren't sure how your company should craft your social media strategy, please email me and I'll be happy to help you!