I entirely agree, I first became interested in social media because I'd heard about the benefits of blogging for search engine optimization, which there are many, and at the same time I quickly discovered social media was a faster way to connect with customers and reach them in a way that enabled both listening and promotion of content. The biggest marketing benefits from social media come when you combine business goals, say promotion and product development.
I think problems arise when you get carried away with tactics and don't base your work in social media with business planning. Failure comes not from poor social media strategy, but poor business planning; making sure what ever you do in social media at least has some tracking attached so that you can determine the effectiveness of your efforts over time. You might work in a community with 2000 thought leaders, but it may only be realistic to engage 20, and if you have limited resources, who do you engage? The 20 top thought leaders, or 20 of the influencers who actually like your product.
In his post Bill included three factors you need to succeed in PR.
* think clearly and critically.
* be an excellent communicator, both written and verbal.
* understand business from management’s perspective.
All great factors for business communicators to consider today, and being inspired by Bill’s post, I thought I'd describe three factors that are important for marketing success, which are also important in helping to build plans and business processes to succeed in social media marketing:
1) Plan - Use the marketing planning process to get where you want to be.
2) Be prepared to test - A number of factors can affect the success of a marketing program; your company, your products, the market conditions, the customers and competitors. What works for one company in the industry may not work for another. Be prepared to test a number of ideas to find what works.3) Listen - To me marketing is not just about promotion, but also product, price and place, to find the best mix of what a client needs and wants, you have to be prepared to listen, or observe customers. Research whether its as simple as listening in a sales meeting or a full blown market research effort will all help to make sure your marketing efforts have a basis in reality.