Originally posted at ZuberRants

2011 needs to be the year of strategic intent with regard to social media.

Social media is hot, hot, hot, and it can be tempting to just dive in and ride the social media wave without any specific plan.  That’s a great way to guarantee misjudging the swell and getting tossed around underneath the wave.  That’s what social media marketing without strategic intent will get you– possibly a few lucky “rides” for your brand messaging, but also a predominance of mis-steps and wasted time and effort.

Now that more businesses are getting on the social media marketing bandwagon, it’s no longer enough to just include a generic “use social media for marketing” line item in your brand growth strategy.  You need strategic intent. Gary Hamel defines strategic intent as “An ambitious and compelling dream which provides emotional and intellectual energy for the company and defines the journey to the future.”

Strategic intent is all about possibility and opportunity — which then inspires your company, your brand, and your customers to be excited about where your brand is headed over the next year, 10 years, 20 years.

Your strategic intent should be used as an “innovational guideline” for your brand.   If you innovate from within your strategic intent mindset, Brand Advocates and other consumers will quickly understand your message.  If you stray from your strategic intent, you can expect your new messages and product changes to come across as inconsistent or not true to your brand promises.  An unclear, watered down message diminishes trust and can do a great deal of damage to brand reputation.

When you have a clear strategic intent that becomes an integral part of your brand message/promise, customers will more easily become Brand Advocates because you are showing them the HEART of your vision and giving them something they are excited to share with their friends.   And you want to make certain your Brand Advocates understand what your brand is all about because they are the most trusted sources of information(Nielsen reports 92% of consumers trust WOM; only 24% trust online ads).

If you haven’t already done it, now is the time to start clarifying your brand’s “ambitious and compelling dream,” integrated with social media and woven into fabric of all marketing channels. Then you can catch the wave and ride it all the way into shore!

Ted Rubin Ted has a deep online background beginning in 1997 with Seth Godin, as CMO of e.l.f. Cosmetics, & recently as Chief Social Marketing Officer, Open Sky.

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