One of my responsibilities at work is to develop social media strategies.
After spending a week @SXSW - one would think this would be very easy. But it isn't. Even for someone who has done this before at previous jobs and has been using and participates in social sites for a few years now.
Why? Because not everyone understands or cares (nor should you expect them to). OR, business partners want to participate but not necessarily in places where their audience is. This is okay. There are ways to handle both.
Where do you start? Know your audience and your business partners' audience. To develop a strong and lasting strategy, you need to make sure that what you are proposing is relevant to who you are marketing to. Afterall, there is no point in being somewhere if your customers are not there. Or, if is really important to be somewhere, if that is where your customers are.
How do you gain a better understanding of your audience?
1. A good start is the Forrester Social Technographics profile tool. (NOTE: If you haven't already - read The Groundswell). It gives you a great starting point for how your audience likes to participate - whether it is simply just reading and watching to actively developing content online.
2. Use resources like eMarketer or other research that tells you by age, region etc. what your audience is doing online. Supporting research always helps sell your strategy.
3. Join and participate where you think or know your audience is. Get a feel for how they are communicating, the rules of the sites, how to be transparent and overall, how to participate by providing value back.
The more you know about your audience, the better targeting and participating you can do.