On Social Media Tactics and Strategy

September 25, 2012
Social media strategy

Last week I ran across an article titled “Secrets to a Social Media Strategy.” It’s well-written and helpful, but unfortunately confuses strategy with tactics — and you need both to properly engage with an online community.

The article does a great job of of informing readers that finding fodder for social media isn’t difficult as long as one knows where to look for inspiration:

  • Pictures and Videos
  • Press
  • Sales
  • Cool Articles
  • Save Time by Pre-Scheduling Posts

These are all marvelous ideas for places to find content (or in the case of number 5, to make sure you’re consistently sharing), but I want to emphasize that this isn’t a social media strategy — it’s tactics.

Spot the differences

Tactics are sort of like that bag of nuts and bolts that comes with the “some assembly required” DVD display case you buy: they’re critical to holding everything together, but without an instruction manual you’re in trouble.

Let’s use the article’s first point—Pictures and Videos—as an example.

“Research has shown that pictures or videos posted to social networks get the highest degree of engagement. The more people like, comment or retweet your pictures, the more new eyeballs your business might get exposed to.”

Both facts are true, but before you start posting photos and videos (tactic), you need to consider who your audience is, what kind of content they want to see, and what will convince them to purchase (strategy).

Why strategy matters

Strategy is both above and below tactics, forming a foundation on which to base your actions as well as umbrella under which every tactic must fall. It answers the why and how, tactics the what. Strategy prevents you from wasting time on tactics that aren’t helping you, and gives you objectives on which to focus.

“Secrets to Social Media Strategy” suggests sharing links to interesting articles through your social media profile:

“You're consuming articles and interesting things on your own social networks or publications you like...If you think it's worth reading, chances are your followers will, too.”

But if you skip strategy and dive right into tactics, you run the risk of promoting Product A—what you think is your best seller—when in reality your audience wants to hear out (and spend money) on Product B. Since you never mention it, they may assume it’s not something you offer and go elsewhere to make their purchase.

Don’t “think” you know what your prospects and customers want — take time to strategize and know.

Dig deeper than tactics

Tactics are the day-to-day activities (blogging, sharing, conversing, etc.) that keep your social media strategy moving forward, and are critical to long-term social media success. Strategy and tactics are part of the same package: without both in place your social media activity will not benefit you.

How to get started

The first step is the hardest. Digett offers a range of services designed to get businesses thinking strategically about social media and content marketing. Drop us a line today to set up a consultation.

Still not certain content marketing is right for you? Download a free Marketing Plan for Growth to learn more about how a digital marketing strategy can help you grow your business.

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[Image: moonhouse]

Comments

I'm a content specialist and

I'm a content specialist and content marketing makes up a large part of my business, so it's not in my interest to suggest the method is flawed, but I really should.

I believe that engaging your target market and interacting with them will produce as good or even better results than were intended by messing around and trying to engage for social markers.

In other words, engage your audience because you genuinely want to engage with them.

I don't think content

I don't think content marketing is "flawed" necessarily, but it's definitely a bear of a marketing strategy, and shouldn't be embarked on with anything less than 100% commitment.

I agree with you that businesses should engage because they want to, and not just because doing so has the potential to bring them new businesses. But considering how most businesses can only be convinced of social media's value by showing them the business value, I think "engage because you want to" is too soft a sell at this point in time. Maybe in a couple of years, though...