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Staying focused

98461833Recently, I had coffee with a friend and colleague with the purpose of discussing useful Twitter applications. Due to both the nature of the discussion and personalities of two people excited about the current and potential use of social media, the discussion went in many directions.

At one point, he asked a very important question: But who has time to do all of this?

Organizations recognize a need to dedicate resources – not only money, but an arguably more valuable resource: time. Then there is something else those making decisions about social and digital approach should consider: focus.

Establishing and maintaining a clear direction – both toward the goals of the organization and in the execution of social media strategy – is particularly important to those with the goal of managing an ongoing social media voice in-house.

We already had a degree of transparency online prior to the increased amount and widespread use of social media tools. With them there is a greater amount of visibility, which is fabulous on many counts. It also creates pitfall potential, such as a loss of focus.

How competitors are successfully using social media is a common distraction. It is smart business practice to be aware of what others in the industry are doing. Reacting to it, changing course because of it, and chasing what others are doing is what will eventually cause a business to build its own roadblocks. If you are running toward the plan of another, you are running away from your own and you will never be in the lead.

Other culprits of digital derailment are the many social media tools, applications, uses and platforms. Avoiding the scattered approach that comes as a result of chasing the latest and greatest thing will help keep the strategy on track.

Establish short and long term plans, with goals that coincide with the overall goals of the organization and with a timeline that provides enough time to fully develop a strong presence for each profile such – e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz.

A social media approach headed for success is the one that knows and chases its own goals.

- Christine Stineman

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