But I object to being introduced as a "social media strategist." Social media should really be viewed as an integrated part of the holistic strategy for a brand, not its own independent realm. This means understanding your customer and their needs, understanding your brand positioning and benefits, and finding the intersection where these two overlap.
If your target audience is not discussing its medical condition through social media, then perhaps it doesn't make sense to include Twitter as a tactic. Instead, start from the customer and work out. There should not be such a thing as a standalone "social media strategy." What your brand should have is an overarching strategy that may or may not include social media tactics depending on whether they make sense for your customers or not.
Similarly, there shouldn't be laser-focused "social media strategists." Instead, brand marketers need to rely on strategists and planners who deeply understand their audiences, including -- but not limited to -- demographics, attitudes and beliefs, cultural realities affecting their lives, and technology adoption, of which the role of the Internet (and subsequently online social media) is a subset.
The proliferation of online social media represents a fundamental shift in the way people obtain information. Instead of relying on companies or institutions, people can now get the information they need from each other -- from those who have "been in my shoes." The number one reason people access social media sites for health used to be "for emotional support." Now, it's for information. Naturally, brands want to remain relevant to their customers, and this means being more transparent and accessible (an unexpectedly painful process for many companies).
Marketing messages had better mesh with what customers actually think, or your brand's reputation will be in trouble. Smart brands want to know what their customers are saying in order to respond and provide value to their customers. Hence the advent of "social media strategists" (or "gurus" or "experts") who are hired to create "social media strategies."
Too often, brands lose sight of the big picture. It's about providing value to your customers, not "doing something social." The answer is not always a Facebook page and, in fact, this tactic may be more detrimental than beneficial to a brand. This is regularly the case in the pharmaceutical industry, where it may not occur to the "social media strategist" that no one wants to "like" a hypertension product on Facebook, and that in fact this is probably not the right tactic for this brand at all.
Conversely, a brand planner would know the role hypertension plays in the lives of patients as well as how the Internet (and social media) fit into this picture. As the voice of the customer, the planner would likely reiterate that -- while this audience is active online -- it is not likely to use Facebook for anything remotely related to hypertension.
So while I admit to spending much of my time contemplating social media, "social media strategists" for brands will ultimately go the way of the dodo. This trend will inevitably be ousted by "the next big thing" (up for debate, but my guess is location-based services). I just hope we don't have "location targeting strategists" next.