You could substitute the last word in that question with any new social media application. Should I be using LinkedIn? Should I be using Facebook? Should I be using (insert the next shiny new object here)?
While the service may change, the essence of the question remains the same. Companies, small businesses and individuals alike are all asking the same thing: “Should I be using BLANK?”
And the answer is: “It depends.” It depends on what you hope to accomplish with social media. What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve?
Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation has often said in the past that social media applications like Twitter and Facebook should be thought of as “tools not strategies”. I really like that point of view. But what does that mean? It means that the applications themselves (the tools) are not going to dictate your success on the web. It’s how you apply those tools that will determine whether or not you accomplish your goals.
Let me provide you with a metaphorical example to help illustrate the point.
Asking whether or not you (or your company) should be using Twitter is like asking whether or not you should be using a hammer (a common tool). So, should you be using a hammer? Well, if you ask me I’d say that it depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to build a birdhouse; then YES. A hammer is a fine tool to accomplish that. However, if your goal is to…let’s say…brush your teeth; then NO. I would not recommend you use a hammer.
The same is true for Twitter and Faceboook and most of the other social media applications. If your goal is to connect and listen and engage in conversations with your customers, users or prospects; then YES. Twitter and Facebook are fine tools to accomplish that goal. If your goal is to pimp your product or service to largest amount of people possible without providing any supplemental value back in return; then NO. You shouldn’t be using these channels.
How about you? What are your social media strategies? Do you have a strategy?