As social media starts to ramp up and not just become a fad, but a reality to how organizations need to adapt, there is still way too much focus on the tools. I have had the luxury of speaking to many people trying to do what I am (building social media adoption), and have noticed that most conversations start with the tools. Things like, “Twitter has X number of users and Facebook has X number of users, we need to be on there.” Yes, great to know these stats, but brands that just go to the tools without going back to the basics will utimately fail.

Marketing 101. Most of us in the industry have gone through it. It’s all about identifying your target audience, creating some goals/objectives of reaching that audience, then creating a strategy around it. With all of the hype, I have seen a trend that ultimately cuts out what we have learned in marketing 101. Instead of indentifying the things we learned in Marketing 101, we just focus on hype –  twitter, facebook, youtube, yammer, etc.

The tools are great. I am a huge advocate and try to be a user as much as possible don’t get me wrong. But what we don’t realize is that not all of our target audience is on each tool. For example, look at this article in the WSJ that got a ton of traction that talks about how “teen don’t twitter.” I have heard from many industry connections about horror stories of companies trying to market on twitter to gen-y. Guess, what – not very good results.

So let’s all take a step back and go to the days of $5 AYCD, PBR, and Natty Ice…and Marketing 101. Before you determine what tools you want to use in your social media strategy, determine your target audience, goals, and strategy. You may find that twitter is not the way to reach everyone.