Why a Social Media Strategy is Important
Strategy First, Tools Second
One of my favorite books is Your Marketing Sucks by Mark Stevens (see link at end of article). According to Stevens, “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” Part of his theory is that when you invest marketing dollars (and time), making a sale is the only return on investment. Is the route from that marketing effort to “cha-ching” always very clear and direct? Sometimes but not always and, more than likely, not usually. If you have a plan however, you can incorporate some ways to map that route ahead of time and determine if you’re getting to the correct mile markers in good time.
At WESST, when consulting with clients on business and marketing planning, we recommend: strategy first, tools second. What that means is that you have to understand what it is you want your business to accomplish before you go out and start engaging in different tactics (such as advertising, setting up social media channels, etc). It’s important for every business to have an overall strategy/plan, from which the marketing plan would flow from which the social media plan would flow. Business Plan -> Marketing Plan -> Social Media Plan
Here are a few reasons a social media strategy is important:
- Goals for what you want to accomplish are clearly defined at the beginning enabling you to follow a process for accomplishing those goals.
- When you have specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals set (see our SMART goal blog post here) – you will know if you are on track and know how to adjust your tactics accordingly.
- It keeps you focused. The number of social media channels are increasing every day. A strategy helps you define ahead of time what channels to target (i.e. where your target audiences are hanging out) and what to do when you are there.
- A strategy allows you to select the tools that will help you successfully accomplish your goals such as editorial calendars, task lists and performance metrics.
- A clearly defined strategy and plan allows more than just one person in the organization/company to participate in execution, especially when tasks are clearly defined. And, if the person managing your strategy is not able to follow through, a plan allows for someone else to step in without a gap in execution.
As with all plans and strategies, your social media plan should be a working document. As you evaluate your metrics and determine if your investment is bringing great results (or not), be ready to adjust, refine and re-deploy.
Let us know what you think! Do you have a strategy or plan? What are some of the tools you recommend when implementing your social media strategy? Some of our favorite tools and resources are listed below.