The NET:101 Social Media Strategy Canvas


As part of the NET:101
Advanced Social Media course, I run a strategy canvas exercise which invites people to consider each of the different elements at play: core objectives, strategic objectives, content types, platform selection and position (core, supporting, community), bridges, and conversion-point places with reportable measures.

Isolating and examining the different elements in turn assists in the formulation of a social media strategy which is aligned with organisational core and strategic objectives, is achievable, and can be measured. Importantly, the objectives must be realistic against an organisation’s resource capabilities, namely, levels of social media expertise, staff time and financial investment.

My preference is to approach the elements of the canvas in the order as laid out below, but as each element has it own dependencies for consideration they can be approached in any order. For example, understanding your limitations around the production of content may influence your stated objectives, or vice-versa. Regardless, all of the elements are interrelated and should be viewed collectively.


Every organisation, regardless of its commercial or NFP orientation, is seeking to achieve at least one – and usually all three – of the following core objectives:

  • Increase Revenue
  • Decrease Costs
  • Increase Stakeholder Satisfaction (in a commercial context, commonly referred to as retention)

A social media strategy should be driven by, and tangibly contribute to, at least one core objective. Determining the core objective/s will determine the selection of strategic objectives.


The strategic objectives listed below can be applied across all of your social media, to an individual social media platform, or to a specific organisational initiative, e.g. a campaign or entering a new market. Identify the primary, and in some cases the secondary or tertiary objectives in line with  your core objective/s:

  • Customer Relations*
  • Crisis Management*
  • Thought Leadership (Brand Credibility)
  • Event Support
  • Leads & Sales
  • Brand Building (Exposure)
  • Advocacy
  • Recruitment

*Customer relations and crisis management may not be strategic objectives, but public stakeholders may nonetheless use one or more of your social media platforms as customer service touch-points (for questions, comments or feedback) or gravitate to them during an incident or full-blown crisis. You may not want this to happen, but it’s difficult to prevent.


Content is the ‘media’ in social media. Organisations tend to underestimate the ongoing time and effort required to produce quality content to feed through to their online audiences. The types of content produced will be determined by which social media platforms have been chosen, the preferences of the target audiences, the resource and technical capabilities of the organisation, and access to in-house subject-matter expertise. The five content types are:

  • Short-form text
  • Long-form text
  • Images
  • Streaming Video
  • Streaming Audio


The list of social media platforms below are the main options used by organisations today (notable exceptions include Tumblr and Vine).

  • Corporate Blog*
  • Facebook
  • YouTube*
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn Personal (profile and publisher)
  • LinkedIn Organisational (company and tertiary institution pages)
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Podcast
  • Google+*

*Content published through these platforms has a significant advantage: because it can be crawled and indexed by the search engines it is potentially discoverable by a standard Google (or other search engine) search indefinitely into the future.


Option i: Content Driven
In this option the selection of social media platforms is determined by the types of content your target audiences prefer to consume and engage with in line with your stated strategic objectives. For example, audiences wanting subject-matter detail and/or depth might prefer long-form text or video which would necessitate a blog or YouTube. Or they might prefer image-based content in which case Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook could come into play as distribution and engagement platforms of choice.

Option ii: Platform Driven
In this option the selection of social media platforms is driven by where the target audiences are already gathered (and in the mindset) against your stated strategic objectives. Choosing the platform will dictate which types of content to focus on to produce and publish. For example, Facebook requires short-form text (sharp copywriting) and plenty of high quality images.


A distinction can be made between core, supporting and proactive engagement platform positions – each requiring varying degrees of resources and commitment.

Core Platforms
These are the platforms where the bulk of the content being published through them is native, i.e. content which has not been syndicated or cross-posted from another social media platform. It is your very best content.

Supporting Platforms
These platforms play a supporting role by amplifying the content being published through the core platforms via syndication and cross-linking. Syndication is the process of manually or automatically pulling content from one social media channel and pushing it into another, e.g. posting a YouTube video which is playable within Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn without the need to click back to YouTube. Cross-linking is posting a summary (usually a description and an image) of content sitting elsewhere which the user is invited to click across to, e.g. a link from Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to a blog post. Thoughtful syndication and cross-linking can expose your content to different audiences, promote engagement and extend its reach.

Proactive Engagement (Community Building)
The platforms through which an organisation will proactively engage their target audiences – the ‘social’ in social media. This is where a community will form and be nurtured. Broadcasting content through these platforms slowly gives way to 1-1 and many-to-many conversations.


Social media platforms are the preferred places for people to discover, consume and engage with your content. They will also be where your communities will form, enabling people to engage with one another or directly with the organisation. At various times you will need to mobilise your followers or fans to perform an action of value for the organisation:  buy something, complete a survey, visit a location, attend an event, sign up to your newsletter, apply for a job, make a donation, volunteer, etc. Depending on your strategic objectives your goal conversions might not directly take place within your social media platforms. If this is the case you will need to build highly visible bridges from each of your social media islands to one of your mainlands as defined by your conversion-point places.

Bridges include explicit calls to action such as :

  • Go to… (via a hyperlink)
  • Visit our website (display URL, not live)
  • Find a physical location address
  • Email us
  • Telephone us
  • Redeem a code (online)
  • Claim an offer (offline)
  • RSVP to an invitation


Bridges carry people across to conversion points – environments where the pointy-end of organisational level social media takes place. There are four main conversion-point places: your website, including  microsites and campaign pages; physical locations such as your store, museum or venue; your contact centre; and another social media platform. Each of these conversion-point places provide differing opportunities to attribute desired outcomes to general or specific social media activity.

Conversion place metrics should be the key indicators of social media success, not the activity metrics within each social media platform.

i. Your Website
This is your principal online asset, offering full control over the user experience, prominent branding, no third party advertising, self-styled conversion funnels, and full analytics insights, including referral traffic and conversion goal tracking. Easily measured gaols including reverse source analysis include ecommerce sales, enquiries via contact forms, applications, donations and email subscriptions.

The website can also serve as an intermediate bridge to the 3 other conversion-point places listed below.

ii. Physical Locations
Compared to a website visitor a physical location visitor is more difficult to identify as having directly or indirectly originated from a prior social media touch-point (this is known as the ‘attribution problem’). Goals within this context may include onsite visits and/or onsite sales – in both instances redemption codes are one possible means of identifying a specific social media activity or platform as the contributing cause.

iii. Contact Centre (telephone and email)
Goals may include telephone and email enquiries or sales, but may not be attributable to your social media activity unless campaign specific redemption codes are used, or contact centre operators openly ask how a caller or sender found out about the organisation or offer.

iv. End Destination Social Media Platform
In some instances the conversion-point place is the social media platform. For example, positioning  Twitter or Facebook as customer service channels, or using a a LinkedIn company page for recruitment. Conversion-point place success metrics could therefore include qualitatives such as the number of questions and comments made, complains received (and resolved). For other strategic objectives quantitative measures include audience engagement instances and post reach, competition entries, surveys and polls completed, and direct sales, e.g. Facebook commerce.


Once you have you social media strategy mapped out, be prepared to adjust it according to it’s resource demands (typically more than you think) against your resource capabilities (typically less than you’d like).


Social, a New Fragrance by NET:101


After launching the wildly popular fragrance Digital in 2008, the house of NET:101 has unveiled Social. The nose behind this composition, Tim Martin was following the idea of creating a classic business fragrance, “One that would last for years and be the type of scent that organisational stakeholders would adore.”

The notes of Social are composed in accordance with Martin’s personal tastes, who also wanted to create a structured yet approachable composition. In line with that Martin said, “I like strategic-analytical notes and we’ve never done this type of fragrance before, it’s more bottom-line focused than any of our other business scents. But I also wanted to invoke a sense of journey through exotic lands and new ideas.”

Social opens with sparkling notes of warmth and humour. The middle notes introduce a kaleidoscope of content – rich imagery, cascading text, streaming sight and sound. It’s a rush. The base notes create a sense of intellectual order: objectives, reports, goals – there’s no denying an underlying seriousness here. It’s a remarkable balance of weight and counterweight, heavy sillage, and will find broad appeal with execs from both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Its longevity is one of the most impressive on the market, lasting several business cycles and often longer.

When I first experienced Social I felt as though I had stepped into an environment where everything just seem to work. It inspires feelings of confidence, focus and experimentalism. While it’s squarely targeted at the corporate environment it exudes enough playfulness to be worn outside of office hours. I find myself being drawn back to Social time and again – without doubt it’s another classic in the make. The packaging also, as you would expect, is gorgeous.

Available in Australia only. RRP $795


Dear Little Miss Social…


Dear Little Miss Social

I’m curious about social media, but I don’t really want to put myself ‘out there’. The very idea unnerves me - I think I would rather just stay within the shadows of anonymity. But I have varied personal interests and would genuinely like connect and share with like-minded others. Am I destined to remain the social wallflower or is there an acceptable half-way point I could adopt?

Judy Manningham
‘Uncertain Social Wallflower’
Adelaide, Australia

Dear Gentle Reader

Half-way points? Never, they are ghastly places and should be avoided at all costs! The real question here is one of personal visibility. Little Miss Social herself remembers a not-so-long-ago time when the everyman or women was destined to a social existence of accidental proximity and limited influence. But thankfully it is a thing of the past. As a postscript to Mr. Dylan: the times, Gentle Reader, they have changed.

Social media is an intoxicating assemblage of new technologies. They are enablers of extended and threaded conversations – one may listen, and on occasion hold court. They have formed a tapestry of weak and strong social bonds amongst former strangers, and of course they are an endless source of amusements. But most importantly they are a kaleidoscope of blank canvases upon which to paint, share and propagate connexion. What an opportunity to play the twin roles of conversationalist and artist! You must express yourself, Gentle Reader, out in the creative commons where can discover you. Publish, opine, engage and claim ownership with manifest confidence. Our new millennium offers much which is easier, but personal online visibility and reputation is now fully our own undertaking. You must to grasp the social media nettle if you want to move from being a person to a person of community interest

The timid of heart and weak of mind enjoy short shrift in today’s attention economy. Cast aside whatever notions of 20th century modesty you might have and start throwing stones into your chosen ponds. The intersection of ripples – yours and others – is where it gets interesting indeed!

8 dumb ideas for your next website


1. Get your website built on the cheap so it looks like a road accident involving farm animals. El cheapo comes in a range of flavours: DIY (particularly dangerous); outsourcing to an Indian guy named ‘Charles’ who contacted you out of the blue last month; your next-door neighbour’s daughter – she’s a first year multimedia student after all.

2. Grossly underestimate the time required to write half-way decent copy for your new web pages. Go into task avoidance mode. Alienate your web developer by not responding to requests for content. Launch website 14 months late.

3. Slap $5 stock images across all of your web pages. Chess pieces, balanced rocks, signposts – everyone loves a good visual cliché.

4. Only let potential customers contact you via a contact form (no-one uses telephones anymore). Get back to any queries within 2-3 days – don’t appear too keen with an immediate response.

5. Proudly display a swag of social media icon links on your homepage. Too bad you’re not doing anything in social media yet.

6. Provide a link to your blog. You’ve only posted on three occasions, all during the first week it went live. A family of possums have since made it their home.

7. Feed your Twitter stream onto your homepage – the last 5 tweets will invariably be a fragmented conversation thread between you and another person about something not at all related to the needs of your customers.

8. Run with a site-wide jungle theme… cleverly shape all of your web buttons as bananas, and play a random animal noise every ten seconds or so. Talk about getting cut-through!

Bonus Dumb Idea
9. Place a QR code on your homepage that if scanned takes people to your homepage.


These are a few of my favourite memes…

A meme is an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures. Source: Wikipedia

One Does Not Simply
 Crying Girl Sad
Business Cat
Batman Slappp
Drugs Victorian
Success Kid
Stop Like Man
Joseph Ducreux
Advice Yoda
The Most
Grumpy Cat
What if I Told You
Y U No



Pushing, Pulling and the Passing of Frozen Fish


3 ways to let the market know you have frozen fish for sale:

1. Push (Mass Media)

C’mon, push it reeeal good! Throw serious coin at a mass media channel to crank out an ad to run in short cycle bursts. Pay a premium for wide reach, albeit with hit and miss targeting (the fresh fruit folk just can’t understand why they’re seeing frozen fish ads everywhere). May as well throw a dubious claim into the mix to get their attention: “Our fish are double-frozen for longer-lasting enjoyment”.

2. Pull (Online Search)

Publish a bucket of high quality, non-sales related frozen fish information online through your website, your blog or YouTube. Wait for people to pull it to themselves as part of their research process via their search engine of choice. It’s now a precisely targeted, self-selecting audience you’re talking to. Anticipate their frozen fish related concerns, questions and decision pain-points, and address them all. Go one step further: position yourself as a marketplace authority on frozen fish. Rely on people’s general intelligence to work out who the credible players are in the marketplace, and who they should be buying their frozen fish from at a time and place of their choosing.

3. Pass (Social Media)

Be the gracious host. Build up a community through a social media platform – frozen fish folk who appreciate your presence, useful insights and here-to-help attitude. Wear the brand-hat proudly, but don’t ruin the experience by drawing everything in the shape of a frozen fish. Educate, entertain and inform your guests and let them share, pass on, your branded stories with peers who share their tastes. Yes, even frozen fish can be the talk of the town if you give people something to talk about.

NB: No fish were hurt in the writing of this post. In fact this isn’t a post about frozen fish and how to sell more of them (unless of course you want it to be).

I’m leaving you…


Move on. Don’t look back. It’s over…

Initiating a break-up is never easy – even letting go of a social media platform can be emotionally challenging. But sometimes it’s the right thing to do… it’s the only thing to do. I’ve had a few bust-ups over the years, starting with MySpace in 2007 (we were both young and foolish). My fling with Second Life in 2008 started with a bang but quickly turned into a fizzer – I still have an old video of our time together which I’ve held onto. I checked out of Foursquare after 2 years – the badge collecting and the Mayoral races wore me down.

And then there was Facebook… we were tight, let me tell you – but she got her big career break on Wall St back in ’13 and fell in with a group of people I didn’t much care for. She started changing in ways I didn’t like. We were seeing less and less of each other, and finally one rainy Sunday afternoon I moved out (I think she still has some old records of mine).

Here’s my view on breaking up with a social media account: look after your own needs first – you can’t keep giving endlessly while clinging to the hope that one day it will all come right. It’s the plain enveloped letter that must be signed, sealed and delivered: Dear John…

Your friends never liked me
You gave Facebook or Instagram a go only to discover that your target audience weren’t hanging out there. Or if they were it was a private party and you never got an invitation.

You changed
Yeah, it’s all changing at a rapid clip – algorithms, payment models, privacy settings… but if don’t like the new direction you can hardly complain – it’s the cost of free.

You were always going on about money
It’s called ‘paid social media’. It’s business after all.

You were boring me
One day cool, and the next day not – think MySpace or Foursquare. Time to leave before the place gets totally trashed and the cops turn up.

I was simply curious
And now that particular little experiment is O-V-E-R.

There were others
Cut one or two of your social media platforms loose and concentrate on strengthening the remainder. Do it quickly – don’t turn it into a Sophie’s Choice thing.

You were too demanding
It’s the ‘media’ part of ‘social media’. No content, no start. Launching a blog as an example without the ability to consistently write high quality long-form text is not going to end well.

I was on the rebound
Someone left the organisation and it became your responsibility. But you need to be committed – If you’re heart isn’t in it it’ll never work.

9. It never felt right, even from the beginning
You’re having difficulty calculating a tangible return on investment (and suspect it may be negative). You need a clearer means of measuring what success looks like against your stated organisational objectives.