The goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business and use social media to get there.

Jay Baer.

Are you missing the point of social media? Are you so caught up in the race for fans, followers and Klout scores that you have forgotten the business reason which drove you to social media in the first place?

Social media is a viable marketing tool which can be use to build awareness, loyalty and sales (just not all at once) if used thoughtfully, with a plan. Here are some examples how social media can help you achieve a specific goal:

Awareness: If you don’t have a large customer base, Twitter is a great way to start building your brand. The multi updates and fluid nature of the platform allows you to mix news, product/brand information and personal updates as you build your following. Search functions allow you to find conversations which are relevant to your brand. A word of caution, don’t start pumping out to much promotional information too soon, or you will turn off potential clients.

Loyalty: If you have a solid customer base, Facebook can be a terrific way to reach out to your existing customers, offer special discounts and incentives, and encourage them to talk about your product or service online. This is going to be significantly more effective for consumer products or services

Sales: Just as you probably won’t sell your product or service over coffee or stale Danish at a networking event, it is unlikely you will actually make a sale on Twitter or Facebook. What you can do is pique someone’s curiosity so they follow a link back to your web site. Once they arrive, you need to have conversion tools, offers, forms, sign ups or downloads in place to take the sales conversation to the next level.

Select your business objective, and then develop a plan to accomplish that objective. Measure progress with increases in awareness, loyalty or sales, not followers and fans.

Need help putting your plans in place?  Roundpeg, an Indianapolis social media firm, can help