Jeremiah Owyang penned yet another home-run post recently mapping differences between strategy and tactics.
This is a topic dear to my heart because too often, when people ask me what I do for a living, and I try to explain it to them, they look at me with a blank stare and conclude “oh, so you basically manage Facebook and Twitter accounts…” — Humm, well not exactly, no :)
The problem with “strategy” and understanding it, is that quite often, when done right, it is indeed, as Charlene Li points out, “often what you don’t do”. To me, social strategy needs to meet several criteria.
First, it has to be expressible in a single sentence. If it’s complicated enough to require two or more sentences, there’s your red flag.
Second, it has to be understandable by your peers, kids, parents, or grandparents. If it’s too complicated to explain to a lay person or a kid, that’s an alarm bell.
Third, it has to be measurable. If you cant attach metrics to strategic objectives, they’re likely not tied to real-life business objectives. Then you have a problem.
Once (and only if) these conditions are met, then you have another advantage: the ability to create and lead “vision” around the strategy. Because that’s a huge part of success. You can have the noblest strategic goals. But if no one buys into them, you’re up shit creek.
Strategy is what you should use to gauge against every action you take or mandate. Is this action, or tactic, or communication, or directive in line with one or more of our strategic “buckets”? If not, don’t do it. Do no harm is the first rule of social.
The etymology of the term “strategy” is clearly militaristic:
strategy (n.): “art of a general,” from Fr. stratégie, from Gk. strategia “office or command of a general,” from strategos “general,” from stratos “multitude, army, expedition,” lit. “that which is spread out” (see structure) + agos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)).
The leadership part is important to a strategic role. Which makes it more than a pure intellectual undertaking in my opinion. It’s about stewardship of a brand, of customers, of internal teams as well.
Never take anything for granted, trust but verify, and always be willing to question one’s certainties. Pawn to King 1 - That’s how this board game is played. One move at a time :)
Stay social my friends!