The second segmentation category is stakeholder. Different segments respond to different approaches. The fastest growing Facebook segment, for instance, is women over age 55. Very few of them, however, are on Twitter. The approach taken to entice an impulse snack food purchaser will be very different from the one used to communicate the benefits of baby nutrition to a new mother. You need to be clear on what segments you are targeting and adjust your social media strategy accordingly.
The third segmentation category is application. If you have properly segmented your approach by objective and customer, then it will often be quite clear which social media application to use. B-to-B firms may have less need for Facebook than, say, Coca Cola, but they might get a lot of value from an innovation tournament or an RSS feed. You have to understand the pros and cons of each application and play to its strengths.
Many firms have a scattershot social media strategy. They may have a couple brand-focused Facebook sites run by different divisions, and PR may have a Twitter account, but there is little consistency or coordination behind the scenes. Dangers lurk if a structured approach is not taken. Many firms have paid a steep price for undisciplined social media practices—some recent examples include United Airlines (United Breaks Guitars!), Kenneth Cole (Egyptian insensitivity), and Nestle (Kit Kats and Orangutans).
Your social media strategy should be well-coordinated. This means implementing rules and codes of conduct, training employees on social media norms, articulating a consistent corporate message, measuring performance, implementing strong governance, and avoiding unnecessary proliferation (including shutting down sites where necessary). This part of the strategy is a necessary evil.
3. Critical Mass
If you build it, will they come? Probably not, unless you make it worth their while. Of course, social media is only effective if there is a critical mass of people using it. In this respect, it's not really social media at all, but collective media. There is nothing sadder than a corporate Facebook page with 86 absentee fans and stale content. Building critical mass is hard work. It requires lots of content that is updated regularly and a high level of engagement—often including senior management involvement. Practically speaking, it requires well-trained, full-time staff to monitor and respond to consumer questions, comments and concerns.