We often see a lot written and taught about social media strategy and the importance it plays in the success of integrated, digital marketing today. Unfortunately, there are substantial differences between the two elements of strategy that are frequently overlooked.
Many consider strategy as something that you only do prior to or while you are implementing social media marketing. In fact, there are two distinct sides of strategy and they have very different definitions. Let’s define the differences between these two sides and outline some of the components of each.
The Two Elements Of A Social Media Strategy:
1) The Plan
By definition, a strategy is a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time
It is extremely important to note that there are several critical key words contained within the definition of strategy. Let’s highlight the ones that stand out:
Careful – The term careful implies that time has been taken to thoughtfully research specific markets, competitors and audiences to ensure assumptions being made are accurate.
Plan – A plan contains specifics surrounding the information obtained during the research and are combined into a detailed plan that can be followed.
Goal – A goal is not a wish, hope or dream, but rather a detailed, specific desired result that combines measurable components that are tracked.
Long – As you should be aware, social media marketing is not direct marketing. It is marathon, not a sprint that focuses on the long-term effects of value and relationship building.
2) The Execution
In contrast to the first element of strategy, execution is the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal
It is one thing to have a plan, it is an entirely different thing to execute it. Think of your plan as a map that highlights the starting and end points of your social media marketing efforts. Think of the execution as the daily activities required to get from point A to point B as directly, efficiently and quickly as possible.
Caring the analogy further, if you knew you wanted to get to New York City and you were going to drive there from Portland, Oregon, having a map of the USA isn’t going to help you achieve that goal in any meaningful time frame. You need to know –
What – Are the streets, highways and routes you are going to take?
Mileage – How many miles per gallon does your vehicle get?
When – Are you going to stop to fuel up?
Where – Are you going to rest overnight on the journey?
What – Are you going to take with you to ensure you get there?
How – Much will the journey cost?
Stepping out of the analogy and back into social media, the second element of strategy requires knowledge, skill and resources. The proper tools must be deployed, using the tactics, quantities, targeting and engagement to achieve the plan that has been so painstakingly designed.
Be sure that you take every bit of the amount of time you spend on planning, on designing and implementing the execution side of your strategy. Execution is where the rubber meets the road and the difference between knowing where you want to go and being able to get there…