It’s a debate that’s more common than you might think. Strategy or Tactics first when it comes to social media? Many companies approach their participation on the social web tentatively, picking a popular tool like Twitter, Facebook or for the more adventuresome, a blog. The exercise of setting up and populating a profile, friending others and seeing what happens is akin to the proverbial “throw spaghetti against wall to see if it sticks” school of marketing.
There’s a time and place for tactics, for strategy and for experimentation. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for a company to test certain channels without a broad corporate wide commitment to being more social. However, that effort should be guided by smart analysis of audience, tools and with the aid of goals and measurement methodology. Without a plan, social media efforts often fail, waste time, money and detract from the brand experience.