Lately, everyone’s been talking about creating a social media strategy. Ok. Not lately, but for the past year. :) I went back and forth on this for a while. Yes, you DEF need a strategy. No, you kinda dont need one. Back and forth, back and forth.

Well I’ve settled: YES. You DO need one. Why? Well, without one, whats the point? You are just ‘doing to do’. You may end up with some positive outcomes but overall, did you achieve your goal, or just a goal in general? Did you move the needle or just do a good job at what you started at?

While I was thinking NO the reasons were because everything changes so fast. Some days, one account has a curious uptick with no internally based promotion. Others, things you think may have worked to increase traffic tanked. Maybe going with the flow, with no real set plan is the way to go. Again, what would be the purpose? A certain number of followers/fans/group members doesnt mean anything when those numbers are just that. The point from this: a good strategy allows for mid campaign change without waiting till the end. You must be agile.

What is your purpose? I know this has been written about several times and ways but its truly the bottom line: What does your success look like? Is it an uptick in applications/accepts/enrolls? Is it a campus that feels more engaged and connected? Both have different strategies and knowing that and planning around them is the main “light bulb moment” that people need to have.

For instance, which is more valuable: a Facebook group with 1400 members and 143 posts or a group with 850 members and 400 posts?

My answer? Both. Depending on the goal. If its just to communicate information to a large audience in a niche way, maybe its ok to not have as much engagement. Although much is crammed down our throats about ‘millennials’ some are just ‘watchers’. If its to create a sense of community on an urban campus, perhaps less people with more posts (and posters) is a win.

Thoughts?

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5 Comments

  1. I’d be really curious to see some stats on the ‘watchers’. For our blog people seem to be really obsessed with how many comments we get. But for something that is more informational, how much do comments really matter. Shouldn’t measures like the number of subscribers or the number of returning visitors be just as valid. How many people do access social media just to read and not, in fact, to engage?

  2. I had some data on this some time ago but seemed to have misplaced it. I found this link to a blog with a report in it that mimics what I remember.

    http://steeleheaded.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/the-social-media-involvement-pyramid/

    Its based upon US adults online, but I did a little research with juniors and seniors in high school.

    http://www.pathwaystocollege.net/pdf/CAM_NewMedia.pdf

    Even though this was a niche audience – low income/minority urban students who planned to attend college – only 23% contributed to a blog, while 32% read a blog. Most watched videos – which I think would be the best option to reach them.

  3. your post was a bit unclear on which side you came down on at the end. it made me think of an old Rush song: “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” if you choose not to have a social media strategy for whatever reason, that is in effect a strategy. a chiche of new media marketing is that “people will talk about you – better to be in the conversation than just see the fallout.”

    the remarkable quality of social media fo those of us who grew up in a ‘broadcast marketing’ world is that it affords the chance to do serious engagement marketing at a reasonable cost. multiple engagement paths can and should be created so that customers and prospects can determine how involved they want to be – whether they are there to transact or seek some type of customer service.

    the two scenarios you cite as examples are not and should not be mutually exclusive. even if all you (or your client) want is a social media billboard, you should still make provisions for those who _want_ to talk. so in these cases, the overall strategy would allocate resources to achieve both objectives.

    Good thoughts – keep it up!

  4. I came down on the side of strategy is a must. I agree that even if the client thinks that they are just using the channel for ‘pushing’ that it should not be the end agenda. Community is king.

  5. Nice post in fact this topic has been on the CASE communications list serve the last 2 days. The question you ask comes down to a simple answer for me. If you don’t have a strategy in mind why are you doing it. I am too busy with too many priorities to “waste” time on things that are not aimed at overall goals and strategy.

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