The social media strategy series: Developing tactics

As Seen In...

[tweetmeme] Welcome to the fifth in our social media strategy series. Next up we’re looking at the tactics. Note how we’re only looking at that now, ahead of this we have:

There’s been no Twitter profile or Facebook Page in site. This is important as these activities are tactics NOT strategies, something often misunderstood. Before diving into the activity, work through this stuff first to ensure you know what you should be doing and, more importantly, why.

Your tactics will be based on the work done so far. Take a look at your goals and objectives, get a good feel for them and what they mean. Then have a look at the research you’ve done on your audiences, think about where they are online, how they interact, what sort of things do they respond well to? do they like creative social media campaigns (virals, competitions etc) or do they simply respond well to conversation and advice? (tip: most DON’T respond well to overt selling). Spend a little time thinking about this and capture any creative ideas you have about what they like.

If you did a competitive analysis while you were getting buy in, use this research to understand how your competitors are using social media. If you didn’t you’ll need to do this. Have a look at those doing a good job, those that look like they’re getting some good results (a decent size, relevant community that interacts with them and signs of influence – so creating action, having their content shared, being mentioned etc). Obviously you don’t want to copy what they’re doing as you want to standout, but it will give you a good idea of what’s working well.

We’ll be covering resources in more detail later, but at this point have a think about what resources you have to work on this. Do you have anybody that can dedicate their time to it? Are there a few people you can use? Once you have a good idea of what resource is available, and how much time they’ll have, keep this in mind so that you don’t develop resource hungry tactics that you won’t be able to action.

Next, take your objectives in turn and create tactics to help you achieve them, with all of the above research in mind. Here is an example:

Objective: Build brand awareness

Now this is a very general objective, but a common one (which is why I’ve picked it). You could make this more specific if you like: build awareness in a certain region, of a specific service, in a certain sector. Better still attach some numbers to it to help with measurement: Grow brand awareness of xxxx service and increase web enquiries for that service by 10%. The more specific the better.

Your tactics for this could include:

  • Launch a Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn profile (as appropriate) and connect with the target audiences (or people, as I prefer to call them).
  • Launch a blog showcasing relevant knowledge for the region, service area, sector etc
  • Build a presence on niche networking sites relevant to your objectives (these would have already been identified when you researched where your audiences are online).
  • Research and identify relevant blogs for guest blogging opportunities.
  • Research and identify relevant blogs and engage in discussions.
  • Create a hashtag around your specialist area and drive the conversation. This could also be a hashtag around a regular Twitter chat.
  • Develop a competition or creative word of mouth campaign across relevant platforms to raise awareness of the brand

These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. For each objective there could be a range of tactics that will help you to meet them. You will also need to attach metrics to each to ensure you can measure the effectiveness against what you’re trying to achieve, but we’ll cover that in the next post.

Go through each objective you’ve already identified and list tactics. Then refine this list with your resources in mind (be realistic here, if not you could be setting yourself an unachievable workload).

Once you have your proposed list of tactics, think about who else in your organisation should have sight of this and bring them together to discuss any possible issues. For example, the IT department may need to deal with restrictions to social networking sites, the legal department may need to be involved in the guidelines or policy, the customer services department could use the social networking sites as a channel to deal with customer problems, the sales department may want to understand where possible leads are coming from. This helps to refine your strategy and ensure it fits with the rest of the businesses. They could come up with a few ideas you haven’t thought of and, more importantly, any potential issues that need to be ironed out before you move on to the next stage.

I hope that was useful, if you have any comments pop them below. The next posts in this series will cover:

  • Metrics and measurement
  • The content strategy
  • Defining resources
  • Guidelines and training
  • Ongoing management and beyond

** Update: This social media strategy series has since been pulled together and published. Download the social media strategy ebook here.



For those conscious souls ready to step up and serve. Suitable for established or new coaches.