“We need a strategy for Social Media – can you help us?” Many of my clients and business friends have me asked this popular question in recent months. “I need to be on Twitter asap.”

Given that that Social Networking and Social Media gained new attention in most business, yes, a game plan is dearly needed.

However, it’s not about a Social Media strategy. It’s about a solid business strategy.

A strategy that centers around Social Media will sub-optimize sooner or later.

Social Networks are made of people. Who do you want to reach? What do you want to achieve with these people?

Business needs to be clear about their Customer Acquisition strategy. Do you have a Customer Retention strategy? Do you have a bought-in strategy for managing Customer Relationships? Employee engagement? Reducing service cost?

If the business objectives are understood, then yes, Social Media provide powerful, evolving tools to engage with customers. These tools require well thought out tactics, making them serve the business strategy effectively. However, the strategy won’t be centered around the tool set.

If we were in gardening, would we formulate a “wheelbarrow strategy”?

Most businesses need plans and skills to use the tools available. That’s what Social Media and Social Networking are – a set of new tools to engage with people.

Social networks are for people. People – customers, prospects, members, employees – have been using the Social Media tools more and more. Yet their lives cross the boundaries of specific media or life contexts. Any customer-oriented business is served best with strategies anchored around customers, not specific toolboxes.

On the other hand, a customer strategy that does not include a deliberate game plan for using Social Media tactics will fall short of engaging with customers where they choose to engage.