Strategy. It’s the fundamental piece of your desire to do social media well. Everywhere you look, consultants of all shapes and sizes are telling you that you need a strategy or you won’t succeed.

I mostly believe that.

However, I also believe that a lot of strategies are misguided. It’s about much more than just downloading a template and filling in the blanks. Real strategy development takes research, thought and care. And even when those pieces are there, there’s still something missing from most of the strategies I see.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Creating a social media strategy helps you to determine WHAT you’re going to do to achieve a set of goals. It lays out those goals and matches the what to those goals. It considers your audience and the channels on which you’ll communicate. It determines outcomes and sets up measurements so that you know when you’ll be successful.

Here’s an example:

I want to promote my online flower shop using social media tools. My goal is to increase brand awareness and up my sales by 20% within 6 months of starting my campaign. I decide to use Instagram and Facebook (the WHAT) to achieve this. I’m going to build an engaging presence and position myself as an expert on flowers. I’ll track retweets and mentions and hashtags and my web site traffic to monitor my progress.

That’s all great, but there’s more.

Where many strategies fall short is not at the WHAT. Where they are lacking is in the HOW. It’s all fine and well to know what you’re going to do. But how you’re going to do it is the key piece of the puzzle that most strategies are lacking.

If you don’t know HOW you’re going to implement your strategies, you run the risk of those strategies never getting off the ground.

So how do I determine the how?

Once you’ve lined up your strategy (i.e. posting valuable content to Instagram and Facebook), think about what comes next. Make a list of the actual tasks you need to do in order to implement the strategy. Something like this:

Instagram Tasks

Then you can take it a step further, by estimating how long it’s going to take you (or the person you delegate tasks to) to accomplish each task.

Instagram Tasks

Total: 6 hours 10 minutes

Once you have a time estimate, you can multiply that by your hourly rate and voila! You have what’s required to start putting together a budget or a quote for a customer.

Your strategy is a living, breathing thing

A good strategy determines WHAT you’re going to do. A great strategy also determines HOW you’re going to do it. Practice with this by revisiting some of your previous strategies. Follow through the process and see what you come up with. Let me know how it goes!

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