How many times have you heard “my objective for 2011 is to do social media”?  I have heard it far too many.

If you are in business to make money then your objective should not  BE social media.  Your business objectives and goals should come first.

Social media should support your business objectives and goals, not be them.

I know some of you are reading this with a raised eyebrow not having a clue what I am talking about.  While others are thinking, “this is common sense”.  The funny thing about social media is most of it is common sense.  I think too many business leaders over complicate it.  They over complicate to the point of missing what should come as common sense.

Would you plan any other type of marketing that doesn't support your business goals and objectives?  Why should social media be any different than any other business investment you make?

So why is it so many businesses avoid the integration discussion? Why are so many businesses sitting on the belief that social media will pass, that the yellow phone book will continue to deliver them customers for years to come or that it's better to be left behind than to get ahead of their competition?

Why is it that so many approach social media in such a way? Is it because it seems overwhelming? Is it because they want to avoid it? Is it because they don't want to take a look in the closet for the business process, customer service and sales skeletons that are going to come out by truly engaging in social media?  From what I have seen with businesses, it is all of the above!

It's easier to state your goal or objective is to do social media than to state you are going to better meet your goals and objectives by leveraging and integrating social media!

To integrate social media it means you have to:
1. Have goals and objectives.
2. Have a plan to integrate with.
3. Be ready to invest the time, resource to understand social media, integrate it into the DNA of your business and commit to execution.
4. Be flexible and ready to adapt to the market, technology and your changing business.
5. Get over your insecurities personally and professionally and realize the benefit of letting the skeletons fall out of the closet far outweighs the risks.

Your Social Media Challenge for 2011: Integrate social media into the DNA of your business with a focus on supporting your business goals and objectives.

10 Tips to Stop Social Media From BEING the Objective in 2011:

1. Do not let any stakeholder including your CEO set “doing social media” as the objective. If this happens do your research and present them with a comprehensive plan with data, actions and case study examples of why this is a bad decision. If you need back-up call me or any other agency or consultant that has a 3/4 a brain for understanding social media.

2. Build a business plan inclusive of goals and objectives.

3. Build a marketing plan inclusive of goals and objectives.

4. Build a social media plan based upon business and marketing goals and objectives.

5. Integrate the business, marketing and social media plan. This means integration of everything; marketing, communications, sales, go to market, strategies and tactics. Everything folks!

6. Obtain buy-in by all necessary stakeholders such as management, investors, partners, clients and others as appropriate.

7. Be flexible and dynamic. Social media and the economy today demands flexibility. Ensure your plan has several options and paths for success to support key goals and objectives.

8. Do not assume social media is FREE. If an agency or consultant tells you social media is free, RUN Forrest Run! Social media will consume your greatest asset which is time. Staying focused on the core goals and objectives will help you maximize your return on investment.

9. Social media is not all about you. Focus on leveraging social media to help you inspire and connect with your core audiences. The best way to build a relationships and a community that takes action is to inspire and connect with your core audiences contiunally.

10. Keep your business, marketing and social media plan RAMMIE free. Basically this means you will avoid Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) and Random Acts of Social Media (RASMs) at any and all cost.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Are you guilty of letting social media be “the objective”? If yes, why? Do you have the guts in 2011 to focus on developing an integrated plan where social media will support your business goals and objectives, not be them?