Objectives vs Tactics

One of the things I hear quite a lot, and we all say this, me included, is “we need a social media strategy.” Why do we say this? Because it’s what we have been taught to think we need from the moment the first social media platform became available.

There is another way to look at this, let me explain…

A lot of the time most social media managers have no idea what the strategy should be or why they need it, again it’s not their fault, it’s what most job descriptions and CEO’s ask for.

Here’s a real life example of what I mean.

I had lunch with a dear friend of mine who’s a SMM and it didn’t take long before we began discussing why she couldn’t develop a strategy for her CEO, who was badgering her for the said strategy.

As we discussed what she thought she needed, which was growth of at least 10 to 15k of followers across 3 platforms each month, a tall order for anyone without buying followers, more on this short sighted solution later. In amongst all of this were increased likes, shares and comments on Facebook and LinkedIn. Phew!

So my first question to her was, “What is the value to the company to have 15k followers?”

After a bit of a silence she said, “To gain more reach and more impressions…I guess.”

So I asked “Does your company want 15k more followers or 15k new clients through this strategy?”

After a 5 or so minutes went by it suddenly dawned on her that she was looking at the problem from the wrong perspective, trying to come up with a strategy to justify the need for a social program was utterly pointless. Using social media to support existing business objectives made a lot more sense.

That’s the whole point to this, you wouldn’t have a strategy for using the phone and you wouldn’t have a strategy for using email in your company so why would you have or need a strategy for social media. All it has to do is fulfil the company objectives.

There is a saying that objectives dictate tactics and never do tactics dictate objectives, a basic military strategy.

A social media activity, like getting more likes, shares or followers, is not an objective.

Objectives are acquiring new customers, selling more widgets, building loyalty, attaining more market share or increasing sales.

Tactics are the way you would use social media to achieve this. Fantastic content through blog posts and social updates, getting more engagement on your website or Facebook page. Measuring the change in that engagement and using social channels to promote a product or service, these are sound tactics for any company to use.

At the end of all this a company, your company, must implement a plan that has at its root your business objectives and align the tactics to those objectives. Does this make sense?

At the very centre of all this is the need to have social media as an integral part of your business and not just another silo. If you treat social media like this you will not get very far, most don’t, that’s why you constantly hear them saying, “It doesn’t work” or “It’s not for us, we don’t need it.”

Let me ask you this – how much would it cost you to reach an audience of 1 million through paid advertising (purchased)? For most it is way out of reach, but how much would it cost to reach 1 million through social media (earned). Not that much, in most cases it’s for free, unless you factor in ROT (return on time).

Social media isn’t an add on or a nice to have, these days it’s as important as sales or any other department, you just have to know how to set it up correctly to work.

After reading this please take the time to look through your business and make sure you have your objectives aligned with business goals and that it’s not a case of ‘hope’ marketing or the constant chase for a new shiny strategy to hang everything off, start with business objectives first.

Take care.

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