Small Business Strategy; Full Court Press
Full Court Press
My clients often request social media platform training with an emphasis on basic tactics and an introduction to the latest and greatest the tool has to provide. Inevitably, I counter with the recommendation of adding a discussion of strategy to the mix.
“Of course. Yes, of course – strategy is very important.” I know they (kind of) believe strategy’s important, but they want to push the buttons, build the campaigns and review the analytics.
So why do I persevere? The simplest answer is: I know I’m right. The answer that’s less likely to get fired is that I think I can explain the importance of strategy in a way that will resonate with almost anyone.
Begin at the Beginning
Imagine you’ve opened a small elementary school in your neighborhood. You have talented teaching staff and a dozen committed students who have an uncanny natural talent for basketball. Because you’re a good teacher, interested in mind and body health, you create a makeshift basketball court in the parking lot of your tiny school. The court is too small, but so are the players, so it works. The baskets are wicker and mismatched. You have 3 basketballs – only one of which is regulation size.
You have the tools and the talent, so where do you start? You introduce a basic strategy: how to score, what the rules are. You answer questions. You help everyone understand how the game is played.
Next on deck? Shoot some hoops. Throw the ball. Run passing drills. Start a game. Enjoy the opportunity.
Each business team – whether you’re a marketing professional, small business owner or non-profit – has to start with a basic understanding of what your business needs to do to succeed on social media.
Your Continued Success
Being the brilliant school owner you are, your school continues to thrive. Students grow and graduate, but they are replaced by new students – more students – who outgrow the church basement you started in. The high school down the street has heard how good your basketball team is and they invite you to use their gym to practice. Your school joins an official league.
Now what? You have to learn new things. But you’re just adjusting to a new and better environment. The strategy you introduced and supported – score points more points than the other team and don’t commit any fouls – still holds.
Success Elon Musk would be envious of continuous to find your little school. You’ve grown so large you move from borrowing a gym to building one. Your team has uniforms. The floor has fresh paint. With these new factors, how has your game changed?
It hasn’t. Well, maybe it has evolved some. You definitely don’t want to staunchly refuse to change with the times. But – for your own sanity – don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel, hold a day-long training session for every employee and invest in new techniques. Take comfort in the fact that you have a strategy – you know how to win the game. Making small modifications is easy – even fun, if you look at it from the standpoint of moving from good to great.
When Does Your Strategy Change?
Your strategy may evolve, but not as often as you might think. In fact, if your strategy is constantly going through major changes, you probably don’t have a strategy at all. (It’s more likely you have a list of tactics.)
Consider these questions:
- What is your organization’s mission and vision? If that changes, your social media strategy will probably change.
- Where is your audience? If you pick up a new audience – perhaps through a new product line – you may want to integrate new channels, language, etc. into your overall strategy.
- Has a platform made a significant change that influences your message? For example, in 2013, Instagram introduced a 15-second video feature. People who were active on the platform now had a whole new way of communicating. And people who primarily shared video content may not have previously considered Instagram may become avid users.
Crafting a solid strategy pays off through fewer hours spent creating content, less stress and a more consistent (i.e., successful/profitable) brand presence online. Who wouldn’t want to talk strategy at every social media training?
Dr. Amy Jauman is the Chief Education Officer and Owner of Remotely Smart, a virtual company that provides professional development support to remote and traditional organizations. She is a Certified Social Media Strategist and Instructor with the National Institute for Social Media. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.
You can learn more about her by connecting on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her blog!