For years, marketers have slaved over their marketing strategies. Ensuring that everything is in line with everything else. Focusing on colors, fonts, branding, tone, imagery, etc. Then came this thing called social media and most of them didn't know what to do with it.
They slapped together a Facebook page with their company logo and a couple photos, put up a couple posts and then wondered why it wasn't working.
Many of them even hired interns or young employees who "got" social media to manage the sites. And they still wondered why it wasn't working.
Why wasn't it working? Because they weren't treating it as a cohesive branch of their marketing strategy. Social media was like the ugly step child that had to be fed but wasn't really welcome at the dinner table. There was no cohesion between the messages, the branding, the voice, the images, etc. When customers, or potential new customers, found their social media sites, it didn't jive with everything else they had seen, or what they were looking for.
Think about it. If your brand is focused on middle-aged professional men and your social media pages are full of internet slang (lol, yolo, rofl, j/k, and others) and references to Justin Bieber, do you really need to ask why it isn't working? The only people following your social media pages are not the demographic using your product and those using your product want nothing to do with your social media pages.
It's extremely important that your social media strategy is an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.
They aren't mutually exclusive by any means. They should be cohesive and integrated.
If your brand has done hours of research on your key demographic that uses your products or services, translate that information into how you will format your social media content. If your marketing team has spent hours determining which colors and fonts appeal to your audience, incorporate these same tactics into your social media images. If you have spent endless hours cultivating your brand's voice, make sure that the posts on your social media platforms use this same voice.
Social media is not its own entity. Yes, it plays by new rules and different forms of communication, but it is still a part of your company's marketing strategy. Ensuring that it stays cohesive with the rest of your marketing strategy will prove much more successful than "just winging it".