Since I am reading the book "Groundswell" by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff I thought I would highlight some of the material that I have found to be important and interesting. I also highly recommend this book to anyone who is wanting to learn more about social media.
What is the Groundswell you might be asking? The groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather from traditional institutions like corporations. One of the first steps in creating a social media strategy is to LISTEN. Listen to what's being said about you/your company online. There are several ways of doing this. You can do Google Alerts on your company (and your competitors), search on Twitter & other social networks, etc. Being involved with social media you can "step into" the conversation that is already taking place about your company/product or service.
When getting started in social media and seeing which aspects of it would be helpful to you the Groundswell book recommends a four-step planning process called the POST method to help you get started. It can help you create a systematic approach to your plan. P=people-what are your custommers ready for? O=objectives-What do you want to accomplish. S=strategy-How do you want your relationships to change with customers? T=Technology-in this step you can pick the right technologies that woudl be a good fit for your company. For more information visit http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2007/12/the-post-method.html.
You can also consider your Customer's Social Technographics profile by visiting http://www.forrester.com/Groundswell/profile_tool.html.
Even though some of the technologies mentioned in this book will change, the basics of setting a strategy in place and being aware of your end goal in mind is very important.