There are seemingly endless opportunities to connect with consumers online – but how do you pick where to put your resources?  It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the cool thing of the moment and bet the farm on it.  However, with the landscape changing so rapidly, that course of action can be perilous for brands.

Consider for a moment the idiosyncrasies of each network or platform that you can engage consumers on.  What works on one doesn’t necessarily work on another.  For example, many companies developed custom applications for Facebook, but when MySpace opened up their platform to applications, not everyone jumped on board.  Why?  For starters, MySpace didn’t give the applications as much leeway as Facebook did for activity based alerts.  Also, members on MySpace had fewer reasons to dive into the applications – much of the functionality that Facebook lacked in its core platform has been part of MySpace for years (think Top Friends or FunWall), and thus custom apps weren’t needed as much.  Now imagine the quirks across the vast social network landscape and it becomes clear that brands cannot just blast their message out to all of the networks and expect the members to flock to them.  Each community has to be approached differently and with sensitivity to how members are engaging on the site with their friends, not how brands want them to listen to their messages.

And of course, there is the mobile world.  What if you have developed a program that targets Blackberry customers, but now you want to copy and paste that program for the iPhone.  Is that the best approach?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Blackberry customers are different than iPhone customers, and the devices themselves present unique opportunities.  I recently wrote a White Paper about Embracing the iPhone Phenomenon – check it out if you would like.  The White Paper speaks to a specific niche, and attempts to spark ideas on how to engage this audience in an effective way by providing value to their mobile experience while interacting with the brand.

So, what’s the bottom line?  You need a Social Media Strategy if you are going to be effective. One size does NOT fit all!  Sometimes it’s best to stick to a couple of proven tactics.  Sometimes venturing out and being on the edge will bear more fruit.  It’s OK to not know – that’s what Strategic Consultants are for.  🙂  Just think about it before you put yourself and your company out there.