ten steps to strategically align your digital and social media programme

In many of my posts over the past year or so, I’ve found myself questioning the value of digital and social media but make no mistake, these posts are not attacks, rather pleas to the industry to do a bit of necessary growing up.

Brands don’t need a social media strategy any more than they need a press release strategy, a payroll strategy or a Christmas party strategy. They need a digital and social media programme that is aligned to their overall business strategy.

Yet many brands and organisations still approach it from the wrong end of the equation – by deciding they should “do” digital or social or Enterprise collaboration before actually knowing why, or even whether, they should be investing in these areas. It’s like choosing a hammer before realising you actually need a drill because what you really want is a millimetre perfect hole.

Fans and followers, retweets and likes, click throughs and shares are all great IF they lead to outcomes of strategic importance. They are meaningless, however, in isolation.

If its not clear why you’re investing in social media, all the statistics and measured outputs in the world won’t deliver a positive return on investment. Here’s a ten step approach to help you make the most of your investment:

  1. Take the time to understand your business strategy
  2. Identify and prioritise important strategic objectives
  3. Understand existing processes for achieving those objectives
  4. Look at the resources required to deliver those processes
  5. Understand what stakeholders – employees, investors, customers, etc – need to be engaged so as to turn those processes into desire able outcomes (and don’t forget to tease out their motivations)
  6. Map it all back to digital and social media, finding the sweet spot(s) where you can leverage these tools to deliver more effectively or efficiently
  7. Define a programme for doing this
  8. Tie the desired outcomes into existing measurement frameworks
  9. Implement, measure, analyse and iterate
  10. Capture best, and worst, practice and share the knowledge widely