If the challenge for 2011 is how to engage, converse and be really social in our communications it would seem that stumbling block to success is a failure to apply the social media mantra: listen, learn and respond.  If we are not basing social content and activity on social media intelligence (listen and learn) how can we respond appropriately?

Innovation is good.  Creativity is awesome. But unless it is based on solid intelligence it is going to miss the mark.  By a country mile.

Sometimes you hit the jackpot without the hard work. Will it Blend was not a planned campaign.  But that’s rare.  And you’re taking a big chance.  Sometimes you have to jump in before you’re ready, with limited or no social media intelligence.  Ask Dell or Nestle how that feels.  It’s always better to build the community before you need it and have a strong group of evangelists that support your brand .  After several years of doing it right, Dell knows what that feels like too.

Now that we’ve done a few years of toe-dipping and experimentation it’s time to treat social media like any other PR or marketing activity.  Do the research, find the audience, figure out what their needs and wants are, what they’re interested in, what they want to hear, what’s motivating them, what they share.

Then develop content that speaks to that specific group of people.  A good strategy based on sound social media intelligence is what will get you to your business goals.  Data mining is the way to hit the jackpot.