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Oh the places you will go

Social Media Marketing Madness Cartoon by HubSpotImage by HubSpot via Flickr

It is not new advice to start with a plan.

Determine the objective before you take action. Look before you leap. The same approach applies to launching anything from a new product line to a marketing campaign and the same basic principal applies to social media. An easy concept to grasp and many are following through.

One question that seems to keep bubbling up with those clients making an entrance into social media and with those looking to beef up their engagement is: Which comes first?

Building a community to gain a better understanding of your audience before you launch an initiative or launching an initiative in order to build the right audience.

Bravo for understanding the importance of the audience! It’s a great question and it is telling about general attitude toward social media. It has rapidly shifted from the question of “to tweet or not to tweet” to deeper questions about timing, audiences and creative tactics. Even more revealing is the fact that businesses and organizations are beginning to recognize the fact that the audience plays a critical role in successful engagement in social media.
 
As to the question of whether to build up the audience first or develop the campaign to attract a broader audience, it is more complex and individualized than a simple answer can offer. A series of questions need to be answered first, including: Who is the current audience (online and offline)? Is the goal to reach a new kind of audience or a larger audience that meets the same demographic as the current audience? Is it a new product, business or initiative, or part of an existing effort? Are you aiming for a sustainable, long-term audience or one that is finite?  

Answering some of these fundamental questions internally will help customize social media to fit the needs of the organization and lead it down the path to success.

Oh the places you will go.

- Christine Stineman

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