Social media and content professionals, no matter how new or seasoned, are always secretly asking one question: What is a strategy, and why do I need one?
It remains one of the more baffling requirements of our job, whether we’re writing a strategy or following a strategy. Because a strategy means something slightly different from one individual to another, the sentence “Can you write me a strategy?” is still striking fear in our hearts. And isn’t that just ridiculous?
In 2017, Forbes wrote: “The biggest problem with the way organisations think about strategy is they confuse strategy with plans. Drink too much company Kool-Aid, and you’ll forget that yesterday’s edge is today’s norm and tomorrow’s joke.”
So... what is a strategy?
A social media or content strategy Is:
- An analysis of where you are now
- A goal
- Estimations of hurdles to reach your goal
- Guiding principles using the resources you have
The key to writing a great, actionable strategy is to be able to match everything in there back to a marketing goal, which itself should relate back to a business goal.
Equally as important is that your strategy maps out what your audience likes, and where they are, because they are the way you achieve your marketing goals and therefore your business goal.
Using what you already know about your audience, you can form the guiding principles that inform your social media and content plans week-to-week, increase that activity using your current performance as a benchmark, and use your strategic KPIs to measure how quickly you’re getting there.
This is the long-term stuff that helps you form your content plans and day-to-day to-do lists, the minutiae of which an entire company wouldn’t need to know about but that you need to do your job. If you think of it that way, you should pretty much be able to write that strategy without straying into that minute detail territory.
What is NOT a strategy?
A strategy is not:
- A funnel
- Your daily or weekly content plan
- Your tone of voice document
- A to-do list
- A short-lived tactic
- Fluffy or vague
Don’t get us wrong – aside from the last point, you’ll likely need all of the above elements to exist.
But if someone’s asking you for a strategy, this is not where that stuff belongs. They’re your next project.
Remember, it all comes back to that golden rule: If the whole company doesn’t need to know, don’t include it in a strategy.