It is pretty much fact, at this point, that in this world of the mighty Internet and the digital age proving their merits at every turn, Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools. Every Marketing Manager or bright-eyed intern will tell their MD that they desperately need a Facebook page in order to communicate with their customers.We have all heard the stories of how well our competitors are doing purely on the basis of their strong social presence, and there are indeed brands across the world that have outdone themselves in this area, from the Ford Explorer Facebook reveal to Maersk. In Australia, even the Government has taken to the popular social media site, with citizens receiving their court summons via Facebook as this is deemed more effective than more traditional routes. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether their content is worth it or mind-numbingly boring.Having a Facebook page for the sake of having one isn’t really enough, however. To be perfectly honest, what most people put on their Facebook pages is downright strange and often pretty shocking. It’s called a “social network” for a reason; the keyword being social. We need to constantly be rethinking what kind of content we put on our personal pages before karmic synergy comes back to bite us in the butt later. The same goes for brands, though. Your social media platforms, and indeed your digital strategy as a whole, is meant to be interactive, engaging, and conversational. You shouldn’t just aim to be viral, racking up “likes” and retweets by the thousand; rather, you should aim to be amazing. So, if you want to bore your mates at the bar, tell them about your Vision and Mission statements. However, if you want to truly engage with them, give them a fun, interesting fact.Let’s think about it this way: of the over 1 billion users on Facebook, on average, less than 20% of have university degrees and close to 50% of are over the age of 45. Facebook, if it were a country, would be the third largest in the world. Social media has climbed its way to the top as the number 1 activity on the web. Why is this interesting? As a Marketer and a Communications Consultant, it is always good to know precisely to whom you are talking, how you need to talk to them, and how to truly engage them..The launch of the Ford Explorer, for example, was done via the brand’s Facebook platform. The launch generated more online traffic than the now infamous and highly coveted Superbowl adverts. Social media management, when done correctly, has the power to be transformational, amazing, and indeed inspired. However, the message I’d like to get across is the fact that not fully understanding the users of social networks and their interests is a dangerous thing for a brand. The great big WWW can be mysterious, powerful and revolutionary, but it also has the potential to be disastrous.Before you launch your business head-first into the brave world of social networks, identify and explore a platform that appeals to your primary audiences; figure out how they prefer to be communicated with. Do the recon work. Facebook has its place and so does LinkedIn or Reddit, and you need to figure out what works best for you. At Hotwire, we took our time getting into the digital space for our own brand in order to ensure that when we ultimately made the leap, we were as prepared as we could be, both in exploring how we wanted to approach this new platform, who within the Facebook and Twitter communities we wanted to communicate with and how we wanted to engage.It is not enough to simply set up a page and post a few things here and there; you need to engage consistently and effectively. It is about knowing that our social media fans can reliably come to us for insightful content that gets them thinking and allows them to have real discussions with us. Like most things in life, social networks have a time and place if you want maximum effect. There is a great deal more prep work than you might imagine, and you’d better consider that before you take your brand to the inescapable web being hit by that almighty karmic chaos because of a few silly posts a few months back.After all, isn’t that the intriguing danger of social media? That a single click can change everything.