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The Myth of Social Media Strategy

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing strategy with different groups this week, so it’s fresh in my mind . Good thing, as my title is Senior Director of Social Media Strategy. I’ve also been looking at a lot of requests from potential clients and outside groups that all want a response that includes a “Social Media Strategy”.  The thing is, 99% of the time, they really don’t want a strategy…they want operations and tactics, and we can’t even give those to them because they don’t have goals in place.

Strategy is one of the most overused and misunderstood words in all of marketing, perhaps in all of business.

  • “Build a Facebook sweepstakes application that lets users share and win” is not a strategy…it’s a tactic.
  • “Be the best widget company in the social space” is not a strategy…it’s a mission.
  • “Get 100,000 Twitter followers by the Holiday season” is not a strategy…it’s a goal.

The big short circuit, of course, is that many people aren’t working off of the same page.  They’re not even working out of the same book, because clear and measurable goals have not been set.  If somebody approaches you with a mission to accomplish, and you answer with a lot of tactics, more times than not both sides will be frustated with the outcome because Goals and Strategies have been left out of the process.  The frustration won’t be evident right away, it takes time to realize that the different expectations are worlds apart. Without measurable goals, how do you know if your work will be judged as a victory or a failure?

The big problem with social media strategy, or any strategy for that matter,  is not that it doesn’t exist…it’s that it cannot exist as a stand-alone; it needs other pieces to work.

A social media strategy is not the victory itself, it is the path to victory. But if you don’t know where you are going, how can you plan a way to get there?

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By Matt Singley

Personal: husband to Alison, father to four amazing kids. I used to live a fast but enjoyable life in Los Angeles, now I have chickens on acreage in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just a bit different. I'm an advocate for cycling as much as you can and eating as cleanly as you can afford. Professional: I'm the CEO of Singley + Mackie, a creative digital agency that serves well-known lifestyle and entertainment companies around the world. Clients include Microsoft, Samsung, Hulu, YP and others. If you want to find the more-professional me, go to http://singleymackie.com