by Jamey Brown

In my head it goes: goal setting – brainstorm – idea pool – checks and balances – strategy – tactics – finished plan. This has been my process for developing strategy plans thus far. Everyone’s strategy development is different, but the overarching themes can be applicable to all. Oh yeah, and strategy (since I see it everywhere and no real description attached) is the high level plan(s) that’s built to achieve certain, pre-determined goals. Tactics are the executional steps that help achieve the overarching goals of the strategy. So, before you make the jump to executional, think of these five questions while you are developing your overarching strategic plan.

1. What are my goals? Short term? And long term?

It’s all pointless if you are not striving to hit certain goals you’ve set. There needs to a be a concise list of short term, immediate goals you want to knock out, and then a concise list of the big, 6 month-ish goals you want to achieve over time. Determining goals is the very first step.

2. Will I need 1 overarching strategy? Or several?

Sometimes, multiple strategies are needed if the client you are working with is a large one and has multiple large goals to achieve on a more corporate branding level. That and the fact that they could have a campaign that seeks to accomplish two very different things. Do I recommend them implementing a bipolar campaign? No. But sometimes several strategies are needed to accomplish different sets of goals.

3. What tactics do I need in place to fulfill the goals of my strategy?

VERY IMPORTANT. These are the mechanical pieces that keep the big machine running. You need actionable steps that say, “this is how you are going to actually do it on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis.”

4. Is my strategy fulfilling BOTH my long term and short term goals?

Always go back and double check yourself. Asking this question forces you to keep your goals on your mind at all times. Sometimes “creativity” can blind people’s strategic thinking and “cool” can take a front seat very fast. DON’T let this happen. Goals are always #1! Let cool and creativity come naturally.

5. What is the lifespan (timeline) of this strategy? 

Simple. How long will this plan be in place? Again, determine how long you think it will take to accomplish the long term goals at hand and build a strategy that reflects that timeline. It could be three months; it could be one year. Give yourself checkpoints along the way.

What are some other steps you implement before developing a new social media strategy plan?