Before You Engage Don’t Ask What… Ask Why? (image by Tony the Misfit)

One of the first questions I get asked when I sit down with somebody to engage in new media goes something like this…

What should I be doing in my marketing? What should I be doing on Facebook? What should I be doing on Twitter? What should I blog about? What should I…?

While these are all great and relevant questions these aren’t the first questions you should be asking for yourself or your organization. The first question you should be asking is–Why?

Why am I on Facebook? Why am I on Twitter? Why do I have a blog? Even before you talk about the what asking why will keep you focused. Answering this question also has another benefit.

When You Know Why

When you know your why it helps you keep your goals and strategies on track. Just because we can’t get away from hearing about Facebook or Twitter doesn’t necessarily mean you have a why. In our latest presentation on social media this week someone asked a question about Facebook. It was something along the lines that she works with executives and was wondering if Facebook is the right place to engage this audience.

My short answer was I wasn’t really sure. On one level I do think if done correctly these people might engage with you on a fan page but then again they might not feel comfortable being that the core of Facebook is about friends and family. It’s worth an effort to try but I do wish I would have spent a little more time on the why.

Why Answers it All

Answering the why will keep you focused. Let’s continue with the example of a Facebook fanpage (or like Page… what ever we want to call it now). First ask why would someone follow and engage with you on a Fanpage? What benefit do they get from a Facebook interaction? Why are you engaging and what are you hoping to get out of it?

In other business operations I find that people do ask why. Questions such as why do we use this delivery service or why do we enter this data this way are common. It seems because social engagement is still relatively new for companies that we focus on the what and not the important element of why.

I’d ask that if you are looking to engage first focus on the why– from there the what should be easier to answer.