First, I am reading SocialMediaToday nearly on a regular base. It is a good source of information. Yesterday i read 5 Step Plan: Getting Started on Your Social Media Strategy.

I like the hands on approach. Normally. But not in this case and in particular not if I have the distinct idea that this advise could produce results less recommendable than the author certainly has in mind.

This 5 Step Plan includes the steps:

  1. Set a budget and time that can be allocated.
  2. Determine a Social Media Manager.
  3. Set your goals.
  4. Select which social channels to go with.
  5. Plan what you’ll post and how often.

Simplicity instead of Reliabilty?

If this sounds familiar to you, you certainly right. It is a very common approach. I apologize for picking this particular article. I stands for a lot of others. Instead of discussing this steps I recommend an other approach of building a Social Media Strategy für Business.

1. Check your Business Model and learn how Social Media is changing it. Look für Risks and Chances, do not forget the Changes on your Competitors side, nor on Costumers and Provider Level. Try to understand what kind of Disruption Social Media can produce to your Business Model. With some knowledge of the Capability of Social Media – not only the Capability of Social Media Channels, please – this is possible.

Take the findings from this step and add them to your strategic goals. I use an adaption of the Business Model Generation Method of Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur for this step.

2. Take the strategic goals of your Business and check how Social Media could disturb or support them.  

I recommend to add a matrix of costumer groups / markets and productes / services at least for this step. Take this findings  and add them to your social media strategy objectives.

At this point you have very fundamental objectives from step 1 and step 2 als main strategic objectives für your social media strategy development.

3. Decide which kind of Social Media Utilisation (Social Media Utilization Format) will be adequate – and of cause viable – for your objectives.

Kind of Social Media Utilisation means the 5 different ways to use Social Media as there are the use of Social Media

  • as an advertising channel
  • as an information channel (mainly one way „communication“)
  • as a channel of communication (dialogue, communication in 2 directions)
  • building brand communitys
  • building subject / topic based communities

At this point of developing your Social Media Strategy you have strategic objektives and the Social Media Format (Kind of Social Media Utilization)

4. Construct your Social Media Strategy Components. Every Social Media Strategy should – in my personal opinion of course – content a minimum set of components as there are

  • business objectives
  • social media utilization format
  • audience (structure, quality, building)
  • target groups / customer segments
  • social media channels
  • content and topics
  • motivation
  • partizipation
  • competition
  • social media architecture
  • social media integration (in business processes)
  • ressources and realization
  • reliability and sustainability (of investment and results)
  • controlling system with relevant KPIs

This ist a major task, because you will find a serious and large number of interactions between the components, which should be solved to get a reliable working strategy. This sounds like tough work and it ist. But it provides us with a better reviewed strategy with a higher chance of sustainable successs.

5. Check the strategy again – especially on viability – think about organization and budget now –  and its chances of success. If you are not convinced go back to step 4.

If you think that I am to much picky in this point – just thing about how much ressources you / your company may invest in your / its social media strategy the next 3 or 5 years. If your strategy ends up in a dead end by being less thought out – a restart is very costly and risky.

Thank you for being such a patient reader and god luck.

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Wilfried Schock

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