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Tactics and Strategy Are Not The Same
I look around the Internet and see a lot of social media tactics without any overall strategy. It often leaves me shaking my head when I see so-called social media marketers who offer nothing but setting up a couple of social media accounts
then find a handful of people for their client to spout advertisements to. Maybe they even offer to do the spouting, but often without a real sound plan. It leaves little wonder why so many people are left to question the usefulness of social media in their business. It is a sad fact for many companies, but it can be fixed.
For the purpose of this article, let us look at the words tactic and strategy like the military does. A military tactic is an action that is implemented by a group of no larger than a division. A strategy addresses the planned outcome of the entire military operation. In social media terms, one way to look at a tactic is sending tweets on Twitter, while a strategy addresses how those tweets fit into the overall business plan and marketing objectives.
I suppose it should not be surprising that many people do not understand the difference between a social media tactic and a social media strategy. After all, most of the people implementing social media today are not marketers by trade, nor have a significant stake in the outcome. Many will say that they are marketers, but most really are not. They are technicians of marketing tools, but not practitioners of the trade. If this insults you, it shouldn’t. It is not saying that the receptionist who was put in charge of tweeting is any less important, or that the guy in accounting who created the last ad campaign is any less valuable as an accountant. We all have our own skill sets, and just because it is popular, you can still be cool if you are not a marketer.
Social Media Tactics Examples
I witness many social media consultants who promote setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts, fancying up the profile pages, and helping customers to find followers or fans. Sadly, this is about as useful as a hammer without a carpenter. These tactics are just creating tools, and without a strategy … an actual understanding of what to do next and why, companies are often left to receive terrible results and disappointment. A tactic without any function or objective in place is only useful on a very short term basis, and that is if they have luck on their side.
A common tactic I see is the social media consultant who tries very hard to reach a lot of people with entertaining messages like a funny video, a joke, or inspirational quote. They tell their clients to be fun, interesting, and engaging. They promote making a lot of friends by being themselves and making it personal. This is all just fine and dandy, but it is only a tactic. In the end, you may have a lot of people who like you but still lose a lot of time and money. The overall strategy of this social media tactic is that if you have a bunch of friends and they like you, it will be easier to sneak in your advertisement now and then and get your friends to help you spread it to the world. The problem is, these are only tactics, and there is really not a sound strategy. Friends are great, and we can all benefit from having more friends. I love the friends I meet via social media. I met my wife back in 2000 using social media. All the friends are fantastic, but those friends alone are not likely to come running make your mortgage payments. You need more to your strategy than this.
In an upcoming article I will show actual statistics which I have compiled regarding the effectiveness of tactics in contrast to strategy, but for now I want you to think about strategy more in terms of short and long-term objectives, and how you can improve yours.
Social Media Strategy: A Plan for Success
Let’s just say that you have a bunch of people following you on Twitter and a squillion fans on your Facebook Page. What are you going to do with that? Will you provide something that nobody else is doing? Do you have a strategy that is sustainable beyond the next Facebook update?
Let us use a restaurant as an example. If you have a restaurant, will you blast out your specials every day and hope people come to see you, then perhaps just keep lowering your sale price until this tactic begins to work? I hope that you don’t think that is a useful strategy. Try to think of strategy more like this: Create a contest among waiters to see which one will have more customers tag your restaurant in a Facebook photo or upload a picture of their good time with your awesome waiter on TwitPic and send it to you as a reply on Twitter. Create a special inauguration party for your latest “Mayor” on Foursquare. Integrate these tactics into an overall strategy to produce a sustainable marketing force of people who love what you do and love to tell their friends. Reward them with something fun, interesting, and preferably delicious. These are things people will remember, and ways to have other people interested, rather than just wasting time with basic advertising tactics.
Even Good Strategy Fails Without Implementation
A good strategy will still not benefit your company without implementation. If you find that you have a handful of tactics without a really solid and productive strategy, stop and take another look. It is not too late to start doing things better, but each day that slips by will mean more money down the drain.
Here is one more example of a strategy. My strategy is to provide something useful. I want to give you something you did not get elsewhere. I want to give you something valuable that you can use today and receive benefit. Using this strategy, a small portion of my readers contact me when they are ready to create and implement a strategy using tactics that work.
Don't Stop Now ... There's More!
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