Can we stop focusing on social media and start thinking about outcomes?

I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that businesses need to stop focusing on social media. Yes it's exciting, yet it can perform lots of different roles and yes it's a kitemark of modernity that all organisations need to have.

And yet, it's just another vehicle to help companies reach a particular destination. So why aren't we more focused more on the destination than the journey?

There are now a huge amount of resources available to business owners. Social media 'gurus' in every town, great websites like Social Media Examiner and a wealth of self-help videos on YouTube.

These are all great and will give even the most technologically backward the basic skills to use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. So far, so good. But at the end of the day, they are just channels designed to achieve specific goals. (Alas, in many cases, they don't even do this but are displayed like fake medals on a dictator's chest!)

In all this talk of social media, digital skills, cloud computing and technological wizardry, too many business owners have become distracted - like kids in a sweet shop - and lost site of what they actually need to do. That is, make money!

Too few companies have properly thought-through business plans, too many don't measure the ROI from their existing activities and most don't have the means to create the levels of content needed to sustain social media campaigns.

You see, it's all about the customer. Always has been and always will be. Who are they, where are they, what do they want, how will they find you and how will you sell to them?

This involves so much more than social media. It's about having a well-run, forward-thinking, innovative business that communicates well internally as well as externally.

If your organisation is like a building, then social media is like the top coat on the window frames. It makes it look good and gives the right impression but ultimately, the building which supports it needs to be sound.

So if you are reading this whilst sitting on a beach congratulating yourself on improving your Klout score or increasing your Likes on Facebook, perhaps you need to think more about your bottom line and how you're going to earn enough to go on more holidays!

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