I’ve been reading a lot about social media recently — its usage, success stories, failures. Part of it is driven by an interest/desire to learn new things and part of it by an unshakable feeling I have that the social media world is always evolving. I am not a novice to social media — I am familiar with the tools and how it’s changed the way we communicate and do business. I know the key players in the industry. We have a social media strategy and plan, as well as corporate goals, tied into our social activities. On paper we’re doing it right. But I’m a firm believer in “right” not being enough.
I’ve written before in this blog that having a social media game plan is essential. I’ve also written about things to consider when drafting a social media strategy. Jason Falls does a great job talking strategy (long before talk of social media strategy became popular) and I love Maddie Grant’s take on defining your approach.
But what’s been on my mind recently isn’t strategy creation, or even re-creation (after all, social media strategies should be updated periodically). I’ve been spending time making sure we’re still on our intended course. I’m revisiting our strategy to see we’re still on target with our goals. I’m ensuring that we’re where we intended to be at this time (according to our original plan).
Social media exploration (and face it, we’re all explorers) reminds me of boating. Sure you can get out there, pay no attention to what’s going on around you (like say the weather), and float around with no course or destination. Or you can research your surroundings (checking in with that weatherman), double-check future predictions (everyone knows the weather here in Florida changes on a dime), and chart a course of where it is you want to be. But just because you have a destination doesn’t mean you can set it on auto-pilot and expect to arrive with little to no effort. There are unpredictable things that happen in boating and social media, things that need to be corrected for or steered through. Unless you know where you’re going, you won’t be sure how off-course you’ve gotten. And you won’t know how off-course you are (or could potentially be) unless you compare your current location to where your map (or strategy) says you should be. Even those of us using social media on a daily basis need to re-check ourselves periodically. Make sure we’ve accounted for everything we could in our social media strategies and making mid-course corrections if we’ve wandered off. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a show of strength.
A social media strategy shouldn’t be ironclad; nor should it be able to swept up and blown around by the winds of change. It should be buoyant but directed, charting a course towards your ultimate destination.