Social media strategies are nonsense. Let’s create one anyway!

By Posted in - iwmw14 & Presenting & Social Media & Strategy and Planning on July 23rd, 2014 0 Comments

This post is part of a 4-part series (part 3 of 4)

We ended our last post in this series by proposing that a social media strategy without a content strategy is like having artillery without munitions: you’re just firing blanks. Let’s explore that more now. How should you fight this war?

First up, a war is nothing without a cause…

Your Cause

This is your organisation objective. What are you trying to achieve with your social media? What are you trying to support? Doing it because everyone else is and you feel you “ought to” is akin to the Welsh waging war on Gaza just because the Israelis are up to it. It makes no sense. Likewise “building community” is not an objective: what do you want that community to think, feel and – most importantly – do?

Target and reconnaissance

Who are you targeting? This is your audience. No, this isn’t who your audience currently is; this is who you want your audience to be. And once you know whom you want to be targeting, you need to do your reconnaissance:

  • Where are they?
  • What tools and platforms are they using and how are they using them?
  • What is their social technographics profile?
  • What is their cultural relationship with you and your organisation?
  • Where are they likely to be on the social technographics profile in relation to your organisation?
  • What are their wants and needs in life?
  • What are their distractions? What are you competing with for their time and attention?
  • How do they make decisions?

Deploy your drones. Spy on them from a distance. Watch and listen to them online. Never before have we had such access to so much information about our audiences.

Plan (and a map)

You now know a lot about your audience and you know what you need them to do. How are you going to make them do that? What’s your plan? What does that audience decision-making journey look like and how are you going to map and traverse it?

As you map out that journey you’ll find that social media isn’t the only thing they’re going to use to make those decisions. So how does it all fit and weave together to make a meaningful journey?

Social media strategy nonsense


Your munitions is your content. Here you absolutely must have your content strategy and plan in place. Without this, you’re firing blanks.

You’re going to use the insights from your reconnaissance mission to inform this plan. You know what types of content they like, follow and share; you know what’s distracting them and their attention. Go there. Use those insights to inform your content plan. If you know that your target frequents the local Italian restaurant five night’s a week, don’t set your sniper up outside the curry house. Lure them with pasta and pizza, don’t force feed them samosas. In other words, create the kind of content that they like, that they’re drawn to, not the kind that you want them to like.


Now you’ve got your munitions, you need something to fire them with. This is your artillery, or your channels if you will. This is where most people focus when they’re creating their version of a social media strategy: all the guns and rocket launchers in the world, and no munitions to go in them. If your strategy is nothing more than an artillery strategy, then you’re firing blanks.


And you must have troops, otherwise the trigger will never be pulled. In an education institution, here’s who I’d have in my social media military:

  • Senior Managers
  • Strategists (folk like us – shameless plug)
  • Creatives (that’s us too, and you may well have them in house too)
  • Content creators
  • Learning technologists
  • Lecturers and researchers
  • Students
  • Web editors
  • Developers
  • Community managers
  • Communications professionals

So, by now you have everything you need except for one more thing…


For this to really work – and I mean really work – you must be brave. You must be prepared to do something different to really ensure that you engage with your target. And sometimes, just sometimes, you must also deploy a little stealth. Groupthink (aka “committees”) can be a good thing, but it can also prevent anything getting done…

Go get ‘em soldier.

Read Part 4, our final part in this series

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