I am sure that if you are initiating your journey along the social media realm, as user, client, or consultant, you have realised you need a roadmap.
For those coming from the management world this is nothing new: every business strategy has to be made explicit in a document that is well known across the whole of the organisation.
Your digital strategy has to follow this same procedure. However, do not undertake this task as if it was a chore and then do it very leniently or without any preparation or, at worse, copying-pasting from a general template. The social media plan is going to govern your way into the social channels for the following 24 to 36 months, so you better get it right!
Then, once you have understood the importance of designing this digital strategy, I would like you to consider the main three considerations you will need to reflect on before starting writing your social media plan.
Which is the strategy of your organisation?
Social media has an strategic role, and the social media strategist or person in charge of developing the social media plan should be a person with ties to the Board and the executives in the company. You have to consider that the digital strategy does not have any sense if it is not aligned to the general company strategy.
The lack of alignment could cause some problems in the deployment of the digital strategy: do we compete at national level or are we a global company?, are we the cheapest or the one with most quality in the market?, is our digital brand expressing the same values as the main corporate one?
It makes no sense to try designing a digital strategy if the company does not have a general strategy. However, trying to develop your social media plan may be the revulsive that enforces the design of a general strategy. If you need to design both at the same time, why do not try using the Balanced Scorecard?
Which is the marketing strategy of your organisation?
The same situation will be found with the marketing plan. You must know it really well before starting your social media plan. You should understand the marketing-mix strategy of your company.
Do you get along well with the marketing department people? You better do! If you want to do a good integration of the social media strategy with the marketing strategy you will need not only to understand the marketing-mix, but to get the data that drives the marketing decisions.
Do you know really well the sales funnel of your organisation?
Finally, it is very important you are aware of the workflow of your sales/commercial process. Conversions are the fuel that lets a company to succeed and stand the pass of time. Without conversions a company would not be achieving its main targets (i.e. for a for-profit company, you get it, profits), and sales are the main driver for surviving in the long term. Having said that, you will need to have a very good relationship with the commercial department and/or the commercial director. Otherwise, you better start nurturing this relationship.
Once you have analysed these three aspects of your organisation you should be able to start working in your social media plan: your digital strategy.
* A version of this post was published first on Socialancer.com, 2nd May 2013. Original in Spanish.