In doing strategic marketing work with brands almost daily (I’m including weekends), I see a common misconception about what it takes to make social media marketing successful.

I want to dispel this misconception, right here, right now.

Your success in this sphere doesn’t come because of the social media tool.

Twitter isn’t a wand, Facebook isn’t a mystical ball, and YouTube.com isn’t a time machine.

You can think a toad is a Prince, but unless it converts into a Prince after you kiss him, he’s still a toad.

Your success isn’t in the tools, but in the content you create.

If I can get philosophical for one quick sec, I would say, “Success isn’t out there (the tools), but lies within (the content you manifest).”

Here is the life cycle of most brands entering the social media space right now:

  1. Build a blogging suite on their website.
  2. Blog twice.
  3. Realize it’s not working.
  4. Focus on Twitter and Facebook instead.
  5. Tweet a lot for two weeks.
  6. Realize it’s not working.
  7. Tweet and Facebook update once per month (it’s quicker than blogging).
  8. Give up in silent despair.

This is the average life cycle I’ve observed. This defeated social media practitioner could have sung a different tune, a tune that evolves into folklore and told at local taverns for generations, but the focus/paradigm/context was off!

The paradigm the practitioner had was on the power of the tools.

Tools aren’t powerful.

That’s like calling a road, by itself, powerful. A road isn’t powerful. It’s only pavement (or whatever material they use now a days).

In the movie Thor, he had to learn this the hard way.

Thor had that great big hammer, but no one, including himself could possess its strength until he found the power within.

Sorry to bring the movies Thor, Back to the Future, Disney’s Princess and the Frog, and Tinker Bell into the article, but I’m trying to orchestrate a point.

Quit focusing on the power of the tools.

The vast majority of businesses are showcasing these tools don’t matter, unless the content created matters.

Social media and the content you create are two sides of the same coin that together hold great economic utility.

And I want to underscore this: You have everything (and I mean everything) in you to create content that connects, tilts heads, and adds value to your target audience.

Content I call, unborified.

Once you can distinguish social media as a super highway (one with no speed limit, sort of like Germany), and the content you create as the vehicle you’re going to drive (pick a fast one), you’ll worry less about the new social media gadget around the corner, and focus in more on creating content that wins mindshare and love.

The power is within.

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Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.