Note: This post was originally published at / and was moved to BizAmmo upon that blog’s retirement.

Wing it. Just hop on in there, set up a bunch of social media profiles and get posting, tweeting, and sharing. Then hope for the best.

That seems to be one of the most popular social media strategies out there, especially with small business owners. I mean, they hear about this online-face-book-thing and how it can drive mad traffic to their site, so they sign up. They spend a few minutes setting up a profile. Maybe they update it for a while or hire someone to do it for them.

Then they hear about this thing with the birdie and how typing short messages in 140 characters or less can send them even more traffic. And it must be great for marketing if Oprah’s on there, right? So they set up a Twitter account. And they post a few tweets. They stick with it for a while, or again maybe they hire someone to do it for them.

But they forget something — the plan. What are their goals? Are they looking for direct sales conversions? Subscribers to their site or blog? What?

I’ve had clients and prospects alike talk to me about managing their Twitter accounts. In most cases I refuse. And it’s for the same reason — they have no plan, not even a clue as to what they hope to get from it. They just want to wing it. They want to throw money at social media and “see what happens.” Then they’re always disappointed.

Now I don’t do social media consulting anymore, so I don’t have to deal with a lot of this thankfully — not anymore at least. But it feels like the same “let’s just wing it” strategy so prevalent a couple of years ago hasn’t changed all that much for the little guys. And I have to wonder, in all the effort to land the big corporate clients and pull them on into social media, are small (especially online) businesses being left behind?

I’m sure there are some great case studies out there. But they don’t represent the overall trends I’ve seen. As a professional dealing with social media issues, have you witnessed something different?

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