I continue to see articles on the subject of social media strategy that go on endlessly about how many times to post of various platforms, how to respond to comments whether positive or negative, ensuring that your content is quality and not quantity and a wide variety of what I consider tactics, not strategy.
Webster’s dictionary defines the two as:
: a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time
: the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal
: the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end
: a system or mode of procedure
The major difference being that strategy is a plan to achieve a goal while tactics are the methods utilized to achieve the goals of the strategy. Strategy comes first and tactics are then developed to support it.
Social Media Strategy:
An effective social media strategy will answer a number of questions upon which specific tactics will be employed. Those questions include the following:
- Who are you? What is your brand?
- Who is your competition?
- What sets you apart from competition?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Where is your ideal customer on social media?
- What are your specific social media goals?
- Should you blog? If so, what will be the theme?
- How and what will I monitor?
- What is my crisis management plan?
Social Media Tactics:
Once you have solid answers to the above questions it is time to begin planning your social media tactics. Social media tactics will provide the skills that you employ to achieve the goals established by your strategy and will include but are not limited to the following:
- Assigning a social media manager and their authority and responsibility.
- What social media platforms will you use?
- What will be your social media posting schedule?
- How much will you post?
- Who is responsible for responding and how they will, to comments both positive and negative.
- Setting up platform to monitor and measure social media efforts.
- Ensure that your social media follows the 80/20 rule (80% educate, entertain and inspire and 20% brand promotion)
- Collection of contact email for follow-up.
The above guidance is by no mean all inclusive however, it is important to understand that social media strategy is a long term view with goals sometime in the future while social media tactics are those activities that you will perform on a daily basis to achieve those goals. As an example let’s look at Facebook. Your overall strategy for Facebook may be “to increase the number of new and returning customers through Facebook to purchase your product of service within the next year”. The tactics you employ would include: educate your readers on the problem that your product or service solves, provide them information to help them in determining whether they need your product or service and provide incentives such as coupons or special deals on your product or service. By educating and informing and then providing a call to action through coupons and specials you hopefully achieve your strategic goal of converting them into customers. Your tactics must also include monitoring and measuring to determine if your tactics are effective.
A proper social media strategy coupled with sound social media tactics will provide you with an effective campaign that will, over the long term, produce positive marketing results.