Using social media marketing to further your brand preference among target audience continues to baffle marketers because, as I’ve stated before, the tactics are rarely related to the brand.

But it’s not that hard to do. It’s simple, really.

Case in point: General Motors’ Buick and GMC divisions have configured their website so that, when you build your own new car, it can be saved instantly on Facebook to share and get feedback.

I actually think that’s a fine tactic, and one that appeals to one of the drivers of automobile purchases: What will my family and friends think?

buildcarbuttonHowever, there was even greater opportunity for those car brands if that driver was embedded in their brand messaging. But it wasn’t. In fact, in the case of Buick, sharing on Facebook has no meeting to its brand of “luxury.” (Although, it should be noted, “luxury” is owned by Lexus in the marketplace.)

GMC plays in the American heavy truck field with Ford and the brand messages tend to swirl around power. There’s nothing there about choice and control (building your own) or appealing to others (which, for example, would work for the Corvette) that this Facebook application suggests.

Social media is attractive to marketers because it’s inexpensive, it is a relatively new delivery system and it operates on a personal level for the prospective customer. To make it meaningful, however, and have long-term benefits, the tactics of social media must support the brand or it becomes the equivalent of a flyer on the windshield.

Think of it this way: Brand explains the reasons why you are doing what you’re doing, including executing social media tactics. Once you have explained the why (“Because those who buy our cars are opening their world, this new Facebooks application allows you to share the car you built with everyone,” for example), you become more memorable, preferred and in the considered set of those you are trying to reach.

It’s not that hard, really.