Having been in the social space since 2005, we have witnessed a lot as it relates to brands navigating the waters.

We have seen an epidemic of “leaping before looking.” While some looked at social media as just new channels across which to push out marcom messages, some brands tried to apply traditional metrics to the new space. Some, often driven by corporate ego, assumed bigger was better, e.g., our goal is one million Facebook fans, and others created a presence on Twitter because it was there or their competitors were.

Given the shiny new object nature of social and the crazy land grab, this is not surprising. That said, perhaps it is time for you to take a step back and do your due diligence and make sure your social media decisions are on target. And, by that we mean doing a rigorous deep dive to provide insight and identify key opportunities for your brand.

So, what does this look like? Well, we’d recommend you conduct the following research:

  • Brand audit: analyze your social ecosystem and map your consumer’s user experience.
  • Competitive analysis: identify key trends and assess proficiency and performance of competitors both direct and indirect.
  • User research and target analysis: delve into your target’s online behaviors.
  • Content assessment: evaluate your brand’s engagement across platforms and examine some best in class examples.

Whereas this is time consuming and can appear quite daunting, there is plenty of secondary research in addition to many online listening tools available to help you.

This oft-neglected important first step will provide you with a solid foundation for a fully integrated and defendable social strategy and your team the confidence to make informed decisions, based on fact, reality and research.

Isn’t it time to look?