Header - 36 Theories About Social MediaWhen Fast Company asked 36 social media experts for their bite-sized philosophies on social media theory, answers ran the gamut, from the snarky and facetious to the downright serious.

Take all of these tidbits on social media strategy, snowball them into a palatable infographic (via Infografías), and add a grain of salt. The finished product is below. (By the way, I’d love to know what social media theory you would add to this list. I’ve included a few of my own below.)

Three BuzzPlant Social Media Theories

#1 Social is not about the platform. It’s about the people.

Forget “social” marketing… this is a concept that can be applied to marketing on the whole. Too many marketers and brands idolize the latest apps, plug-ins, analytic tools, website widgets, etc. Don’t misunderstand… these tools can be extremely valuable in the Social Age. (Whenever my team is in the building phase for a new client, we’re constantly digging around for tools that might add value for the client.)

However… slick tools are often major distractors for marketers and their clients; all too often, the cart gets put before the horse, and the marketing team and client spend more time and money on the fancy gadgets that “enhance” the user’s experience without considering what’s native to that audience. (Which brings me to my second theory.)

#2 Learn your audience first. Create your content second. Strategically distribute third.

Sure, this is basic strategic advice. But, again, it’s incredibly overlooked. You can never spend too much time learning about your audience. From population sample surveys to analyzing your competitors’ traffic to outright asking your fans questions about how they interact with your brand online, options abound for being a listener – an undervalued quality in many marketing teams.

Once you truly know your audience, then create your content. The “strategic distribution” part of this game plan refers to my first theory above (caring about people, not platforms).

#3 Marketing is a fluid landscape. Marketers must constantly adapt to stay current.

Lastly, marketers need to be prepared to quickly adapt their communications. Again, this goes beyond switching social platforms. As Michael Lebovitz, CEO of Big Spaceship, says below, “It’s an organism, not a process.” We aren’t laying railroad tracks here. Rather, we’re actively involved in listening, reacting, and building a live environment for our audience to thrive in. Keep moving; stay current!

36 Theories On Social Media Strategy

I’ve shared three of my own social media theories. Now, take a look at the opinions of 36 other expert social media strategists below. Have a theory of your own? You’re welcome to share it with us in the comments below.

Read more: The Weaponization of Social Media