Many companies’ forays into social media yield nothing more than wasted time and effort. Before you establish a company Twitter account or start a Facebook page, step back and think about what messages will be relevant to your customers or potential customers. If your brand and your communications aren’t useful or interesting to them, you might as well be tweeting into a black hole. Start by understanding the conversations that are already happening around your brand. Then craft messages accordingly. Before sending anything out, ask yourself: What value does this message carry for our customers? What action are we hoping to inspire? If you don’t have a sharp answer to each of these questions, it’s time to return to the drawing board.