Social Media Tactics or Social Media Strategy? This debate rages among social media practitioners: Should you focus on social media tactics or social media strategy? And, of course you need BOTH tactics and strategy to make your social media effective. Unfortunately, many social media agencies start building tactics without creating a comprehensive strategy first.

Why focus on social media strategy?

Now, that doesn’t mean you should discount the importance of tactics. For instance, I recently saw data suggesting that Saturday evening is the best time to post on Facebook. That’s a valuable tactic, but it’s subject to variation. MY target audience may NOT be on Facebook on Saturday evening, making this a bad tactic for me despite the fact it works for others. Similarly, changes in consumers or in Facebook’s platform can mean my previous tactics are now useless — and face it. We’ve seen both Facebook and Twitter change their platforms significantly in the past several months.

But, when you focus on social media strategy, you’re set for the long haul. Facebook can change or even disappear and require only minor changes to your social media strategy. HINT: if you want to see the template I use with my own clients, you can download that here:

Start with social media strategy

So, start your social media campaign with a sound social media strategy (you can read my post from last week to get more on creating a social media strategy). Once you have a clear idea about who your target market is, what problems they face, how your competition is addressing their concerns, and what you hope to accomplish with your social media marketing, then you’re ready to develop tactics to help you reach your social media goals.

Now, you’re ready to implement your strategy with specific tactics for each element of the campaign.

Action plans – creating winning tactics

An action plan provides details to implement your social media strategy. You’ll have actions plans for Twitter, Facebook, your blog or website, and maybe other action plans that involve integration across social and traditional media like advertising.

Each action plan should contain enough details that someone knowledgable could implement them. Your action planning page might look like this:

Merging social media tactics with social media strategy

Of course, social media strategy and tactics need to be integrated. Notice in the action plan where you’ve listed the specific goal for the action plan. That goal should be one or a piece of one of your goals from the social media strategy. And, the metrics should reflect metrics you felt were important for success when you put your social media strategy together.

As you can see, the relationship between social media strategy and tactics is that the tactics break down your strategy to specific actions necessary to achieve your strategies. So, the next time you set evaluating the sales pitch for a social media marketing agency, notice whether they start by presenting overarching strategies or whether they jump right into tactics.

When I work with clients, it’s an involve process before I ever put a proposal together. I’ll normally work with individuals in the marketing department to see what their marketing strategy looks like and how they see social media fitting into this strategy. I’ll want to know about your marketing and your competitors before I put a plan together. I need to know your long-term and short-term goals (I even work with clients to develop these). Only then, can I put together a social media strategy and begin to talk about specific tactics to accomplish your goals (and, of course, put a timetable and price together for you). If you’re interested, I’d love to talk to you more about how Hausman and Associates can make your marketing SIZZLE.

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