Social Media Strategy vs. Execution
I’ve noticed some interesting conversations lately about strategy, execution and accountability. If you are on the strategy side, and advising a brand, are you held accountable for the execution (if it’s not your part)? Is it easier just to advise, then to execute social media? My own personal opinion is that we rise to a higher or maybe I should say a “new” level when we are able to do both.
However, in many cases, we can’t always be there from start to finish. There are times when my team works with clients on the strategy part and the client’s in-house team executes the program. There are other times when we have the opportunity to manage the program from strategy through execution. The best scenario: if you have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches (whether it’s execution for your own brand or for your client) then do it! It’s your opportunity to visualize the success of your strategy, to see the innerworkings of the program and to adjust for any of the pitfalls or shortcomings, as you go along.
Social media has changed the game, not only for communications, but also for businesses in general. I think we realize by now that social media is much different than traditional communication. It can’t be handled the same way. Social media has changed our approach to communications and interactions with consumers. It moves across an organization and we must rework and learn new ways to communicate. When I look at my social media strategy wheel from the channels, content, and engagement to the tracking, monitoring and measurement, there are many new considerations. I find myself more hands on as a result.
Whether you are just starting out in your career or you have 15 to 20 years under your belt, I recommend that you dig into social media. If you can be involved in the execution from the ground floor up, you’ll get a much clearer picture. You’ll learn quickly that sometimes what we advise, and the time it takes to get the results we want, may take longer or may require communications and resources that we didn’t even think about prior to our “trench” work. Being in the trenches will enlighten you and hopefully lead to providing a better education to those who rely on you for your strategic input.
Strategy and execution….together is a best case scenario. I know we can’t always be there to do both, but when we’re able to, I believe it can lead to better outcomes. And, regardless of the part we play….we should be held accountable for the results.
September 10, 2010 @ 3:55 pm
Great analysis of the discussion, Dierdre! I agree that social media is changing the game, and as such, it helps to see a strategy all the way though in order to apply learnings/outcomes to the next one. It’s a great environment to experiement with different strategies that wouldn’t work in traditional communications.
September 10, 2010 @ 8:41 pm
Hi Krista! Thanks and I feel the same way about seeing the strategy all the way through. It’s a great way to learn and and adjust strategies for the next effort. Thanks for sharing your insight 🙂
September 11, 2010 @ 8:32 am
Well said Deirdre. I do believe that when I do social media coaching the actual implementation needs to be done by the people in the company, not an outside agency. But there is a lot of trench work that an agency strategist can get involved in and it certainly helps to get the real picture so that one’s strategies are based on hands-on experience.
September 11, 2010 @ 10:39 am
Hi Sally! Thanks for sharing your insight. I think the trench work hones our skills and it gives us a clearer picture and a better sense of what strategies needed to be applied moving forward. I hope you are doing well and that I’ll get to see you at the PRSA International Conference this year.
Ann Marie van den Hurk
September 12, 2010 @ 8:47 am
Super insights. I agree. There needs to be a team approach from the start between the consultant and the organization’s staff and continue through the process. While the staff should do the implementation, the consultant should be there helping them. We can see the big picture because we’re not day-to-day and not so immersed in the details. I like Sally’s use of coach. That’s exactly what we are.
September 12, 2010 @ 9:26 am
Hi Ann Marie…yes, I like coach too. Very appropriate and we all know the coach stands by the team and guides them. So many of the conversations I’ve heard show a complete divide between the strategy and execution. I agree that you don’t always have to be doing everything yourself but when you have the opportunity to guide the process after formulating the strategy, this can be very rewarding. Thanks for sharing!