When should we jump into the latest social media tool?

The savvy e-marketer asks: “Will the tool help me reach and open a dialogue with customers and prospects more effectively and efficiently than my current toolset?”

If there is a more effective way to use your marketing resources, then use it. As far as Web 2.0 goes, take some simple advice: find out where your customers are online and what social media they are using.

Do new social media tools mean that email marketing is dead? A great advantage of email is its ubiquity: everyone has an email address. It is the world’s social network.

Email is still growing but that’s not the critical point. What is critical is that the email audience and user habits evolve, especially under the accelerating influence of Web 2.0 technologies.

All these new tools and technologies, like email itself, are conduits for content, not an end in themselves. It is not enough to email. It is not enough to Twitter. It is not enough to blog. It is not enough to have a Facebook page.

What you say, what you send, what you communicate still has to have value. In that sense nothing has changed since the day they printed the first newspaper. This isn’t a medium for just selling the sizzle; you have to be the steak at the same time.

Only invest in channels used by your audience where you know you can provide that quality and value that earns you the necessary attention and response. Each tool or channel has its own nuances and subtleties. The customers using your Web feeds might have a different focus and response to those preferring email; or Twitter; or those reading your Facebook page.