If you follow the debate around social media, you’ll know there are a lot of gurus who argue passionately that “social” is the way to go. What intrigues me is the broad array of examples they use to make the case for “doing social media” – they are so diverse it’s comparable to advocating “doing marketing”.

Instead of thinking about social media in terms of yes/no, how about breaking it down further and being more specific about the purpose we’re accepting or rejecting it for – lead generation? Customer education? Reputation management?

Social media is not so much a medium as a delivery mechanism to which people with different marketing backgrounds can apply their trade. Take just a handful of the “celebrated” social media marketing examples – from Old Spice’s hilarious YouTube ads and Twitter conversations have absolutely nothing in common with IBM’s Listening for Leads social media monitoring programme, and neither has anything in common with Fiskars’ Fisk-a-teers craft community.

The lesson? The internet opens up a myriad of possibilities depending on your skill set – bespoke communities, ebooks. Facebook pages, viral videos, automated CRM tools, expert content and more.

So, instead of focussing on whether or not it’s worth investing in social media, surely the right question is which social media applications are interesting for your business?

What opportunities does the internet offer to enable you to reach more of the right people, with the right message, for less money than you are currently able to?

Social media offers many means to many ends. Finding the method that will deliver on your marketing and communications plan requires you to take a closer look.

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