Making the choice to jump into social media as a branding tool is only part of the decision any marketing professional has to make. Things like target market, time line, message, expected outcome, and budget need to be considered like in all campaigns. While these are standard considerations, social media adds another factor to consider: involvement level.
Unlike most PR/marketing campaigns that offer an all in approach, social media allows you to throttle your involvement. The initial thought might be to jump full throttle into a social media program, but I would advise against that. Much like Neo diving into the Matrix, if you take on too much you can quickly overwhelm yourself.
Use the unstructured nature of social media to your advantage. Using social media to assist in branding gives you an opportunity to experiment. Unlike print or TV spots that cost astronomical numbers to produce and need to be completely envisioned from beginning to end, social media try something for a little bit then change it as needed.
The real reason for throttling your initial foray into social media is far more tangible, man hours. Being effective in social media means dedicating many hours to the work, this should be one of the primary factors to consider when launching a campaign.
Nothing marks a program for defeat like failing to maintain a dedicated level of activity. If in the initial weeks of a program your users and associates become used to a high level of involvement then, for lack of resources, your updates and involvement begins to wain, those you interact with will see this as either ignoring them or that your simply shunning social media.
Do not take my warning as an excuse not to jump into social media for your next branding program. Instead think of me as a guide offering you a moment of pause before you do something wrong. The ultimate decision is always going to be yours but you can always use a little bit of advice.
I believe there is a natural progression to how best to get your feet wet in social media. A systematic approach that will allow you to best segway into a successfully program. Am I wrong? Do you think that social media is more of an all in thing or do you agree with me that you can dip your toes into it? Let me know your opinion I am interested in hearing it.