12/06/2011 12:08 pm ET | Updated Feb 05, 2012

Answers to Five Critical Social Media Questions

In order to guarantee sustainability for your social media and online communications, there are five vital steps to consider:

1) When did the social media game start?

Social Media is as old as the Earth; in fact it's been around forever but just in different formats! From biblical and mythical years through caveman and evolution! social media has been the "power to connect and engage" with each other! So frankly speaking, unlike many think, nothing new there....But today social media has taken on a very high profile and all-important role in a new age, world of super- highway information flow and a non-stop 24/7 world of Twitter where we clock-in and clock off on a ticker-tape of life! The Twitterverse!

2) How we should be playing the game?

The game is there to be played, not won! It's about communicating and sharing. It's about connecting and engaging with the network and building powerful relationships 24/7 and making up your very own social environment to communicate with other like-minded people. The rules are simple:

1) Listen
2) Share
3) Engage
4) Connect

With these 4 we can start the ball rolling, the rest will follow on; if and only if we follow these simple 4 steps! For instance, on Empire Avenue we do all that and then we get virtual rewards for our efforts! So the other two important elements are to invest in people and influence them too!

3) Is it Social Marketing (SM) or Social Media Marketing (SMM)?

Both terms used often, so it would be fair to say both! It's social! It's a media! And everything is about marketing! SM or SMM but not Sales & Marketing please!!

4) Why Social Media communications and not Social Media Marketing?

As soon as we talk about marketing people would switch off and see the messages as spam; whereas if we see SM as a communication channel, we start talking and interacting with people. This is what encourages people to listen and engage. Social media is a two way avenue, whereas marketing usually tends to be one way with quite a few things attached.

5) What does the best Social Media practice mean?

Social media practice is about the sense of transparent and ethical communications we should be developing; and indeed all about an ethos and integrity of operation! It's something that develops in its own time and way, naturally and with an embryonic growth that needs nurturing by us all!