As an integrated marketing firm we are often asked by prospective clients, “Should we set up a Facebook page?” Our answer is always, “It depends,” followed by a few questions of our own:

  • What is your marketing objective?
  • Who is your target?
  • How would you describe your brand identity?
  • How will Facebook work within your integrated marketing plan?

If they can’t satisfactorily answer these questions, we recommend that they work with us to address them before even considering Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube, or the new-social-media-tool-of-the-day. Only once these questions are adequately addressed can we begin making tactical marketing recommendations (including creative direction, channel placement, content ideas, etc.).

Too many so-called social media “experts” answer the initial question differently. They say something like, “Yes! Definitely. Let’s set up your Facebook page today. We’ll run it for you. It’ll be great and easy to do.” As is often the case with a simplistic answer, it’s probably too good to be true.

Before you determine that social media is an appropriate marketing strategy for your brand, there are some things you need to know. They fall into four categories: WHO, WHAT, WHY and HOW.

This is the first of a four-part series that will cover each of the above categories in turn. As we begin with WHO, we want to examine the resources required to run an effective social media campaign. If you were our client and we decided jointly that social media was right for your brand, we would ensure that you understood:

  1. We won’t manage social media for you; ultimately you have to do it yourself
  2. Social media requires resources (people and money)
  3. It’s a company-wide initiative (not just the “marketing” department)
  4. Social media must be integrated into everything you do
  5. Someone senior (emphasis on one) must take the lead and be held accountable

As an agent acting on behalf of our clients, we make it a point to ensure they know what they’re getting into with respect to any marketing decisions they make, especially decisions to dive into unfamiliar territory like social media. The WHO is just the beginning; stay tuned for more cautionary statements regarding the WHAT, WHY and HOW.