net101 Social Media Strategy Canvas Exercise


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These are the explanatory notes for Social Media Strategy Canvas which is part of the net101 Advanced Social Media and Strategy course.

The strategy canvas comprises several distinct, but integrated elements:

  1. Core objectives
  2. Strategic objectives
  3. Content formats
  4. Budget allocation
  5. Platform selection
  6. Audience reach (organic and paid)
  7. Calls-to-action (CTA’s)
  8. Conversion places and goals

These elements form the substance of a social media strategy – one which will align with your stated organisational objectives, while also prompting you to consider your current social media capabilities concerning:

  • Your ongoing ability to source, produce and publish relevant content
  • Access to meaningful data for analysis purposes
  • The level of internal support you have from other departments and colleagues
  • The level of funds budgeted for your paid campaign work

My recommendation is to work through the elements of the canvas in sequence from left to right, but as each element has it own dependencies they can be approached in any order. For example, understanding your limitations to produce original and relevant content may influence your stated strategic objectives, or vice-versa. Regardless, each of the elements are interrelated and should be viewed collectively.



An organisation – commercial, public or a not-for-profit – should be able to validate their  social media presence as a means of achieving one or more of three core objectives:

  • Increase revenue
  • Decrease costs
  • Increase stakeholder satisfaction (internal or external)

Important stakeholders for a not-for-profit organisation would be its benefactors and beneficiaries. In a commercial context important stakeholders should include existing customers or clients for retention purposes.



Clarifying strategic intent is a must. Strategic objectives can be applied to your entire social media footprint, to an individual platform or have an organisational focus, e.g. a specific campaign, brand or geographic market. Common social media strategic objectives include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Prospects and leads
  • Customer service
  • Event support
  • Advocacy
  • HR/ recruitment
  • Crisis management

Each organisational social media account you control should be in service of at least one clearly defined strategic objective. In some instances, a social media account might serve multiple strategic objectives, or the objective could change over time, or the account might switch between objectives at different times and circumstances. But without at least one strategic objective for every account you will have difficulty measuring progress against a desired organisational-level outcome.

NB: Customer service or crisis management might not be strategic objectives, but people may still use one or more of your social media platform options as a customer service touch-point – for questions, comments, complains or feedback – or gravitate to them during an incident or crisis affecting your organisation. You will have difficulty preventing this.



The social media platforms listed below are the main options open to organisations operating within the Australian market in 2018. To simplify the canvas exercise I’ve excluded niche, but no less important platforms – Snapchat would be one example. Your platform mix may change as your resource capabilities increase or decrease, or new platforms are adopted or abandoned by your target audiences. The social media platforms included here:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Blogs



Content is the ‘media’ in social media. It’s easy to underestimate the ongoing time and effort required to produce relevant content to be able to publish through to your target audiences. The types of content produced will be determined by which social media platforms have been chosen, the content preferences of your target audiences, your own technical capabilities, and access to in-house or external subject-matter expertise. There are five main social media content formats:

  1. Short-form text
  2. Long-form text
  3. Images
  4. Streaming video
  5. Streaming audio

Ideally you will be comfortable producing and publishing across all of these content formats to maximise the potential of each chosen social media platform, and to meet the varied content preferences of your target audiences.



Choose your social media platform/s based on the following sequential considerations:

  1. What is my primary strategic objective? (select from the ‘Strategic Objectives’ list above).
  2. Given my primary strategic objective, what are the demographics of my primary target audience?
  3. Knowing who my primary target audience is, which social media platform/s do they frequent? (select from the ‘Social Media Platforms’ list above).
  4. Knowing which social media platform/s my primary target audience frequents, which content formats do each of those platforms support, and which of these content formats will my target audience be most receptive to? (select from the ‘Content Formats’ list above).

Example 1
A Cooking School

  1. Your primary strategic objective might be brand awareness.
  2. Your target audience are men and women, aged 25-65, who live within a 35km radius of your cooking school.
  3. You determine your target audience frequent both Facebook and Instagram with a sizable overlap.
  4. Facebooks supports short-form text, images and short to long-form video. Instagram supports short-form text, images and short-form video. You believe your target audience will value aspirational images of food and table settings, simple written recipes, and short-form video cooking tips.

You now have clarity concerning who your target audience is, where to reach them, what content formats to concentrate on, and what the substance of the content will be.

Example 2
An Electrical Engineering Company Selling Gas Detection Units to Mine Operators

  1. Your primary strategic objective might be leads and prospects.
  2. You determine your target audience are operations executives within the national and international mining sector.
  3. You determine your target audience frequent LinkedIn
  4. LinkedIn supports short-form and long-form text, images and short to long-form video. You believe your target audience wants detailed technical information, case studies and articles related to mine safety. Not so many images, but demonstrations (in situ) in video format would be valued.

You now have clarity concerning who your target audience is, where to reach them, what content formats to concentrate on, and what the substance of the content will be.

Example 3
A City Council

  1. Your primary strategic objective might be event support.
  2. You determine your target audience are adult residents within the geographical boundaries of Council.
  3. You determine the majority of the target audience frequent Facebook.
  4. Facebook supports short-form text, images and short to long-form video. You believe your target audience wants notice of community events and activities, and information on attending in short-form text, aspirational images (the value of attending), and images and short-form videos of recent events and activities.

You now have clarity concerning who your target audience is, where to reach them, what content formats to concentrate on, and what the substance of the content will be.



Now that you have selected the social media platform/s platforms your primary target audience frequent, and you know what content formats you will be using and the substance, the question is now one of achieving target audience reach. ‘Reach’ is a common social media metric which signifies the number of unique individuals who were physically served your post (not to confused with ‘impressions’ which is the number of times a post was served).

Total reach can be measured in aggregate across all of your posts on any social media platform within a specified time-frame, or just for specific posts. Total reach can in turn be broken down into its organic and paid components.

Organic Reach

Organic reach is published social media content that was served to a user-base without you paying for that to happen. People are able to view your content organically (for free) as a result of:

  • Users who visit your account/profile page directly and view your content.
  • Users who perform a platform-specific keyword, hashtag or geo-tag search which aligns with an aspect of your content.
  • Users who are subscribers – your fans or followers – and your content is served onto their newsfeed (referred to an initial reach).
  • Users who are your subscribers, served your content, and who then push it onto the newsfeeds of their personal connections as a result of engaging with it – liking, commenting or sharing (referred to as viral reach).

The extent of your organic reach within any given social media platform is determined by a combination of factors: the number of direct visitors to your account, the number of fans or followers you have, the level of user engagement with your content, and each platform’s unique newsfeed algorithm. These algorithms – sometimes referred to as quality filters – determine the type of the content each user sees (and doesn’t see!) on their newsfeed, and from which sources and in what order.

A Note on Search

Your blog content and your public YouTube videos are also able to enjoy extended organic reach via internal search and external search engines such as Google. The content you publish through these platforms gets crawled and indexed, and is stored indefinitely within the search engine data centres which drive any given search result. This is not the case for most of your published social media content, hence the requirement to publish regularly to maintain your visibility.

Paid Reach

Most social media platforms offer paid options to achieve target audience reach. Paid reach is often used to supplement organic reach, or for more granulated targeting. Paid content typically presents on a user’s newsfeed as ‘sponsored’.

Paid Reach – Promoted Content

Most social media platforms allow you to individually select already published posts and pay for it served onto the newsfeeds of specified user groupings. This is commonly known as promoting or boosting your content. Promoted content can be targeted to existing connections, their connections, or to users based on filters of differing granularity, depending on the platform.

Paid Reach – Advertising

Most social media platforms also provide a targeted advertising option across a range of formats and placements. Content which is served to specified users via this option is (usually) not visible on your own page/ profile. An ‘ad’ – any post serving any purpose – can be also be targeted to existing connections, their connections, or to users based on filters of differing granularity, depending on the platform. In some cases, the targeting and reporting capabilities of ad-served content is greater than that of promoted content. In addition, ad-served content typically incorporates clear buttons or links to drive consideration or a conversion action. Facebook for example allows advertisers to select from a number of call-to-action buttons for their ad-level content:

  • See Menu
  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Get Showtimes
  • Learn More
  • Send Message

NB: Additional organic reach can be achieved off the back of sponsored content (boosted content or an ad) if users engage with it. Depending on the platform, user engagement often times pushes sponsored content onto the newsfeeds of their close personal connections.



Given the variability of the newsfeed algorithms which underpin the extent of your organic reach you might find it difficult to achieve your strategic objectives without direct financial investment, i.e. the option to sponsor your content. Organic reach often needs to be supplemented with paid reach, i.e. promoting select content and/or running targeted communications through an advertising panel. Social media campaign budget allocations can be smaller and more targeted than with traditional off-line channels, and can be applied on a per campaign or rolling basis.



Social media are the means for people to discover, consume and engage with your branded content, communicate to you and amongst themselves. At times, however you will need to invite your audience to move off social media to help meet your strategic objective/s, e.g. visit our website, visit us physically or contact us. To facilitate this movement, you will need to install highly visible calls-to-action (CTA’s) from your social media profile pages and content to one or more of your conversion places.



Conversion Place: Your Website

By bridging social media users to your principal online asset – your website – you have greater control over the process of getting them to some end-point. As well as customising their landing page experience, you have the ability to move your website visitors through any number of your conversion goal pathways, culminating a measurable – and backwardly attributable – conversion goals. Website goal examples include:

  • Online payment
  • Reservation
  • Make an appointment
  • Become a partner
  • Create an account
  • View product or service details
  • Get an estimate
  • Check inventory or schedule
  • Find a location
  • Donation
  • Enquiry
  • Application
  • Email subscription
  • Download
  • Pages views
  • Time spent on site
  • Media views

NB: In some instances, the website will serve as an intermediate bridge to other conversion places, i.e. to a physical location or through to your contact centre.

Website Analytics, Conversion Tracking & Return-On-Investment 

Your website analytics – most likely Google’s robust and free Google Analytics (GA) – will automatically break most of your visitor traffic down by the mediums and sources they clicked away from before landing, e.g. ‘social media’ as the medium and ‘facebook’ as the source.

Once you have your website conversion goals set up and nominal values assigned to each, GA is able to report on the number of completed goals, the aggregate actual or nominal value which has been generated through those goals, and most importantly provide attribution insight to the mediums and sources which drove that conversion-level traffic in the first place. At an advanced level, the specific CTA buttons or hyperlink can be tracked, which in turn enables return on investment analysis.

Facebook also provides landing page and conversion tracking on your web properties from all Facebook derived traffic if you have their tracking pixels installed (sourced via Facebook’s Ad Manager). Facebook’s website conversion reporting includes:

  • View content
  • Search
  • Add to cart
  • Add to wishlist
  • Initiate checkout
  • Add payment info
  • Purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete registration


Google Analytics Campaign Tracking URL’s

To be able to attribute in-bound traffic to the specific button or hyperlink which acted as the CTA bridge to your website, and then to overlay that information with your website goal conversion data, you will need to install campaign tracking URLs (sometimes referred to as an UTMs) at points where visitors were invited to click away from. Campaign tracking URL strings contain additional descriptive information which you supply about the CTA button or hyperlink. They are then installed behind a button or converted into a shortened hyperlink by yourself. For every visitor who lands on your website via a campaign tracking URL, GA captures the additional descriptive information.

Any CTA button or hyperlink that you have control over that clicks back to your website – and as many as you’d like – can incorporate one of these uniquely identifiable campaign tracking URL’s. They are free and easy to create.


Conversion Place: Any of Your Physical Locations

Invite people to travel to a one of your physical locations to trial a product or service, to browse, purchase, meet with your people or attend an event. Common CTA’s which facilitate a physical visitation include nearest location finders, interactive maps, map links, street addresses, opening hours, travel directions, public transport options, and nearby parking.

Measuring the online medium and source which drove a physical visitor to a location is more difficult to measure than for a website visitor. This makes the calculation for return-on-investment purposes more of a challenge. This is known as the attribution problem and much has been written on it. Campaign specific offline redemption vouchers are one possible means of reducing the attribution problem.


Conversion Place: Your Contact Centre

Make it easy for people to communicate with you directly through their chosen communication channel, i.e. via any line of communication that leads through to your contact centre: phone, email, contact forms, snail-mail, live chat modules or private direct messaging. The more direct the line of communication the more likely you will be able to meet your strategic objectives.

Unfortunately, the attribution problem will also affect your return-on-investment analysis for social media assisted conversions which take place through your contact centre.



The strategy canvas illustration incorporates a sideways funnel overlay which narrows to the right: Awareness > Actions > Conversions. This denotes the sequence of contingent events required to achieve any of your strategic goals:

  • Reach facilitates target audience awareness.
  • Target audience awareness facilities user-actions.
  • User-actions facilitate a virtual or physical movement away from social media to your website, any of your physical locations or through to your contact centre (your conversion places).

Each of these three funnel points – Awareness, Actions and Conversions – contain measurable indicators of success for their own ROI analysis:

  1. Total Reach ROI
  2. Audience Actions ROI
  3. Conversions ROI (online or offline)

Which ROI funnel-point you use will depend both on what your strategic objective/s are, and your ability to capture data at key points. To calculate the ROI at any funnel-point you will need to quantify what it took to generate the outcomes – measured in reach, actions or conversions. To determine whether a social media investment of time or money has generated a positive or negative return, you will need to apply the numbers against an internal or external benchmark, or a campaign target. ROI can be measured in various ways – here are 3 examples:

Total Reach Funnel-Point – ROI Calculation Example

Imagine your strategic objective is brand awareness. Awareness is preceded by target audience reach (organic and paid as previously discussed). You will need to measure your aggregate or post-specific organic reach, and your paid reach if you have undertaken any –  add them together to get your total reach number. You can then calculate your Total Reach ROI by dividing the number of people reached by the money and time (using your local currency equivalent) that was invested.

For example, the organic reach for a post was 1000, and $100 invested reach gave me an additional paid reach 4000. Total reach is therefore 5000. My time to put the post together was the equivalent of $50, therefore the total spend was $150. This is roughly equivalent to 33 people reached per dollar ($150/5000).*

Audience Actions Funnel-Point – ROI Calculation Example

Imagine your strategic objective is customer service. You therefore need to service various stakeholder groups with timely and useful interactions (reactive, and potentially proactive in nature).

You might measure volume of engagements, engagement sentiment (positive, neutral, negative), engagement type (visitor post, mention, private message) or average response time – amongst others. There is more than one ROI analysis possible here, but the simplest would be to divide the full-time equivalent of customer service person’s salary or wage by the local currency internal value of each of the actions above across a shift.*

Conversions Funnel Point – ROI Calculation Example

Imagine your strategic objective is prospects or leads. You therefore need to reach your target audiences with your desired organisational communications, convince them undertake your call-to-action so as to move them away from social media to a conversion-place where they can compete a conversion goal, e.g. submit a completed application form via the website.

Firstly, you need to reach the target audience to expose my call-to action. If the organic reach for this post was 2000 and a $150 investment gave me an additional paid reach of 8000, your total reach is 10,000. Your time to put the post together was the equivalent of $50, therefore your total spend was $200. If 200 people heeded the CTA and clicked back to the landing page on your website you’ve paid $1 per action ($200/ 200 clicks). If 10 of those visitors goes on to submit an application form you’ve paid $20 per conversion ($200/10 applications).

*Whether this a positive or negative investment results will depend on what benchmarks you’re applying. Also, don’t be afraid to run a Happy Test, i.e. are we happy with this result?




This canvas has no timeframes attached to it – you need to apply your own, i.e. how long will it take to achieve our strategic objective/s with the proposed investments of time and money.

The Attribution Problem

We can’t always trace backwards to the origin of our virtual or real traffic to our website, a physical location or our contact centre. Accept that not everything can be measured, but measure and report on what you can.

Try to Compare Apples with Apples

Attempt to equate all input and output values to your local currency, including your time. This enables you to isolate what the investment was as an actual or nominal dollar value against the calculated returns in using the same dollar values. Assigning relative dollar values to a direct message enquiry or a website visitor, or by reaching the newsfeed of a target audience member is valuable discipline.

Internal Benchmarking

Don’t be afraid to establish your own internal benchmarks for determining if a measurable outcome can be deemed successful. If for example the acquisition of a warm lead is worth a nominal $50 to your organisation, apply that benchmark across all of your social media and other marketing channels – online or offline. Then you’ll know that if you spend anything less than $50 on average to acquire a lead you’ve just generated value; and if you spend anything more you’ve just lost.

Avoid Vanity Metrics

Resist the temptation to report on numbers which are disconnected from your strategic objectives. Visitors to your website or the number of Facebook Likes on your brand page are are generally means to some other end, not reportable ends in themselves.


Rely on your own data as much as possible, especially the analytics being generated through your website. If you’re outsourcing campaign work to a consultant or agency, compare their reports with your own and question any significant discrepancies.

Sub-Strategic Plans

The execution of a social media strategy should be underpinned by a Content Strategy and a Measurement Plan. No content, no visibility. No measurement, no know.

Learn by Doing

Social media has many moving parts: content production and publishing, two-way engagement, measurement and reporting, adapting to algorithm updates, and mastering increasingly sophisticated platform features. My advice: learn by doing – build the plane as you’re flying it. Test, measure, refine. Experiment. Fail. Learn. Enjoy.   

If you would like to have this strategy canvas exercise presented as part of a conference presentation or workshop, or an in-house training session, please contact Tim Martin here. If you would like to attend the Advanced Social Media & Strategy public course instead, the dates are here.

A Day at the Races

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“This time and they’re racing at the 5000 metres Social Media Market Domination Handicap. First out of the gate is MySpace and she’s pulling away quickly. It’s a fresh track and she’s making the most of it. YouTube off to a slow start with buffering issues. Then it’s blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter in a tight bunch, followed by Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Snapchat in last position. MySpace now four lengths in front, but Facebook could boost at any moment as we’ve seen her do so many times before. YouTube and LinkedIn both on the pace. But wait… it looks like MySpace is changing jockeys – yes, it’s a News Corp executive now in the saddle – a risky in-race maneuverer, let’s hope they know what they’re doing. But oh no, she’s stumbled badly – she’s out! What a pity for the new owners.

“As they approach the 3000 mark it’s Facebook now firmly in the lead. Blogging moves up on the inside rail – what a great performer he is over longer distances. With a 1000 to go it’s Facebook half a length in front of blogging, followed closely by YouTube in third. Google+ now coming up strong on the outside – just look at him go! Google+ is closing on Facebook – four lengths, three lengths… oh no, he’s thrown his jockey! What a bitter disappointment for the Page/ Brin syndicate who have tried so hard to make their presence felt on this track – they’ll be left searching. YouTube now gaining ground – he could be the one to watch. Instagram makes a break looking like a billion dollars. But it’s still Facebook leading the field, followed by blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn, Twitter fifth then Instagram and Pinterest, and Snapchat closing up the rear.

“Into the final straight and Facebook’s the one to beat  – she’s looking mobile, showing true responsiveness. Now with 140 meters to go Twitter throws it on, but has she left enough room? Instagram still looking for a way through. Now it’s Snapchat coming on – wait, yes, he’s done  a face-swap with LinkedIn – have you ever seen anything like it folks? Screen-grab that one while you can! Twitter left with no room to fly as Pinterest has her pinned against the inside rail. It’s Facebook in front by a length followed by Instagram neck-in-neck with Pinterest. But it’s Facebook! it’s still Facebook! Yes it is! Yes it is! Yes –   Facebook takes it all the way home! Instagram and Pinterest in a too-close-to-call photo-finish for second and third places.

“Congratulations to Facebook and her Wall St owners. A beautiful 12-year old mare by Zuckerberg out of Harvard. And thanks to the tireless support of the fans, investors and advertisers, without whom this race would not have been possible.”




Status updates from the Bard…

“Now is the algorithm of our discontent.”
– Richard III

“The course of launching a website never did run smooth.”
– A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you fill our newsfeeds with self-serving promotional content shall we not disengage?”
– Merchant of Venice

“To boost, or not to boost, that is the question.”
– Hamlet

“If content be the food of social media, publish on.”
– Twelfth Night

“Brevity is the soul of Twitter.
– Hamlet

“Love all, trust a few, have a social media policy.”
– All’s Well That Ends Well

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have no social media assisted conversion insights!”
– King Lear

“When online detractors come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”
– Hamlet

“False Facebook must hide what the false heart doth know.”

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that post fast.”
– Romeo and Juliet

“So foul and fair a heavily filtered Instagram post I have not seen.”
– Macbeth

“Give every major social media platform thy ear, but few thy voice.”
– Hamlet

“What’s posted can’t be unposted.”
– Macbeth

“Out, damned stock image! out, I say!”
– Macbeth

“Video, video – wherefore art thou video channel?”
– Romeo and Juliet

“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little website.”
– Macbeth

“Facebook fans sought is good, but given unsought, is better.”
– Twelfth Night

“The complaining fan seeking something free doth protest too much, methinks.”
– Twelfth Night

“There’s many a brand has more fans than wit.”
– Comedy of Errors

“Give thy personal thoughts no brand tongue online.”
– Hamlet

“Your endless sales posts are as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.”
– King John

“Brands do not care that do not demonstrate their care online.”
– The Two Gentlemen of Verona


Social Media Online Digital Guru Wanted! #AreYouTheOne ?


Our client is about to kick their social online digital media presence into the stratosphere! The challenge: get them there with limited resources, a minuscule budget and virtually no internal support. Don’t worry, because If you’re the type of self-starter we’re looking for you’ll smash your KPI’s standing on one leg!

Of course it’s essential you be a social media rock-star with 10+ years experience and a proven track-record when it comes to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine, Google+, Pinterest, blogging, Snapchat and Webo. And your quick mastery of every hot, new online thing is an absolute  given. With drive and sheer-guts determination you’ll generate more followers, more fans and more likes on every social media channel than all of our client’s competitors put together. That’s what social media gurus do!

You have an online street-hip thing happening already – and just as well because you’ll frequently be required to communicate with external stakeholders using the very latest hashtags and emoji! O; Luckily your hipster online persona is backed up with a high-voltage brain, as you’ll be capturing and analysing swaths of BIG DATA as part of your everyday decision-making. Yes, you’re also a triple black-belt ninja when it comes to analytics!

Naturally you also can cut computer </code> in several languages. Bob the Builder won’t have anything on you by the time you’re finished building and launching new websites for each of the 18 brands our client owns. Plus, you’ll get to show off your talents as a wordsmith – the content for each new site will need to be written from scratch!

Oh, and did we mention search engine optimisation? Not a problem for you, right! Using your own secret magic SEO sauce, you’ll propel our client to the top of Google for the top 500 keywords in their space within weeks. What algorithm you say – boom!

Once you’ve trimmed my client’s sails and have them sailing on smooth digital waters you’ll get the chance to relax with the set-up of an international online affiliate sales program. Bonus fun!

Interested? Up for the challenge? We’d love to hear from you!

Total Remuneration Package: up to $42K for the right candidate.



Dear Little Miss Social…


Dear Little Miss Social

The professional value I derive from LinkedIn is diminishing as it starts to look and feel more like a second Facebook. Is that just me, or has something happened over there?

Maxine Jeffery
Flummoxed networker,
Melbourne, Australia


Dear Gentle Reader

On occasion Little Miss Social delights in a robust metaphor, and this one of them. Whenever I hear mention of LinkedIn I cannot but help think of the plight of Rome in the first century AD. For alas Gentle Reader, I fear the sack and decline of LinkedIn is upon us.

As uncouth as the Gauls, Visigoths and Vandals may have been, they are nothing on the modern-day Barbarians who wield their destructive power from inside of LinkedIn’s own city walls! What possible defence pray-tell do we have against fellow-denizens bent on recycling inspirational quotes from Richard Branson and Steve Jobs? Or the publishing of endless streams of math problems and the first-word-you-see letter plays? Or the spamming of one’s own group members with unsolicited in-mail? Or the pitching of dubious or odious business propositions from one’s newly acquired connections? If I may be permitted to paraphrase Augustus, we may have found LinkedIn built of marble, but we leave her today clothed in bricks.

Little Miss Social’s advice for the continued use of LinkedIn is simple: build and maintain your own house and let the city populous at large endure the Barbarian rampages. Grant access only to your chosen and build a safe-haven around them. Be vigilant of peddlers, serial sharers and the Bransonites. Do not be afraid to cast out transgressors – use the ‘unfollow’ option at the first signs of trouble or ‘disconnect’ the connection altogether. Do not engage with low-quality posts – that is how the Barbarian makes his presence felt. Do not post inspirational quotes – they depress our collective sensibilities (and it is how we know you have too much time on your hands or are just manifestly unhappy in your current job role).

But do play your part – be useful and ever-considerate of what you are directly and indirectly posting onto the newsfeeds of others. I will do the same and we will both once again enjoy Rome as it was when Caesar was a boy.


3 Little Pigs Redux


Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built his brand online made only from paid advertising while the second pig built his brand online made only from social media. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig who had recently completed a net101 course applied his learnings and worked hard all day to build his brand online from a website and a blog. He then filled them with the richest of content, and reinforced both with analytics.

A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make!” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes, for the pig had maxed-out his credit card to pay for his ads. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house that was made of social media. The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time, for it wasn’t really the little pig’s house at all – it was owned by a third-party corporation located in America, and the terms of use had changed earlier that afternoon. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house that was made of the reinforced website and blog.

The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside. He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of analytic insights and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died, just as the data had predicted.

The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their business brands online with strong websites and blogs and lived happily ever after.


Don’t pay the consultant man – until he gets you to the other side.



It was late at night on the world wide web,
Facebook had our brand on the run,
Little time had we spent preparing for this journey;

He is closer now that the rules have changed,
But he’s reading from a map undefined,
He wants us to pay his bill,
And in return he’ll promise to deliver.

But when the engagement numbers came down,
We heard our CEO howl,
There were voices in the night, “Don’t do it!”
Voices out of sight, “Don’t do it!
Too many brands have failed before,
Whatever you do,

Don’t pay the consultant man,
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the consultant man,
Until he gets you to the other side”

In the new media mist, then he gets on board,
Now there’ll be no turning back,
Beware that bearded hipster at the rudder,
And then our newsfeed flashed, and our fan-base roared,
They were calling us out in shame,
And dancing memes that jabbered and a-moaned
On our wall.

And then the consultant man said,
“There’s algorithm trouble ahead,
So you must pay me now,” “Don’t do it!”
“You must pay me now,” “Don’t do it!”
And still that voice came from beyond,
“Whatever you do,

Don’t pay the consultant man
Don’t even fix a price,
Don’t pay the consultant man,
Until he gets you to the other side;

Don’t pay – the consultant man!”

“Social media is like a…”



“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at YouTube.” – Oscar Wilde

“I came, I saw, I left a comment.” – Julius Caesar

“The Facebook newsfeed algorithm is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump’s Mom

“Houston, we have a conversion funnel leakage…” – Apollo 13

“Insanity: posting the same thing over and over again and expecting increased audience reach.” – Albert Einstein

“Spam which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“A cat meme gets halfway around the world before a filter has a chance to get its pants on.” – Winston Churchill

“The unexamined analytics report is not worth having.” – Socrates

“Instagram posts are always darkest just before the dawn.” – Thomas Fuller

“Be @yourself on Twitter; everyone else is @taken.” – Oscar Wilde

“Whenever you do a thing online, act as if all the world were watching.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I post online therefore I am.” – Descartes

“Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking newsfeed.” – Irene L. Luce

“The best time to start an opt-in email database was 10 years ago. The second best time is now.” –Chinese Proverb

“People often say that social media posts don’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

“Social media costs money. But then so does brand invisibility.” –Sir Claus Moser

“Don’t ever wrestle with an online troll. You’ll both get dirty, but the troll will enjoy it.”– Cale Yarborough

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to consume an unusal email newsletter without unsubscribing from it.” – Aristotle

“I have made this status update longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” – Blaise Pascal

“Asking a social media manager what she thinks about her community is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs.” – Christopher Hampton

“There is nothing to writing a blog. All you do is sit down at a computer and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

“I find Facebook very educating. Every time somebody opens it up, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

“A website visitor is a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

“A person who doesn’t tweet has no advantage over one who can’t tweet.” – Mark Twain

“Ask not what your social media community can do for you; ask what you can do for your social media community.” – John F. Kennedy

“If you can’t explain your social media strategy to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” – Albert Einstein


Social Media Private Dick


‘Sam Spade, Registered Social Media Agent’ – at least that’s what the faded gold lettering on my office door says. Not that anyone cares much anymore… social media types are like pencils – everyone has a couple laying around somewhere, and most of them not as sharp as you’d like.

I poured my third bourbon for the morning and studied the fly walking across my keyboard. An overly precise knock at the door broke the hot silence of the room. It always starts this way, and I knew just how it would end.

“Mr. Spade?”

She was in her mid-thirties, tall, confident and dressed as crisply as a 100 dollar bill – the type that runs the corporate factories downtown. And probably as comfortable with interpreting an analytics report as she is applying lipstick in the dark.

I nodded wearily. As she moved towards my desk the shadows from the ceiling fan played across her face.

“I… we… the people I represent have a small problem, Mr Spade.”

And now we both do sister, I thought to myself.

“There’s been an incident. A marketing co-ordinator we let go won’t give us back the only login details to our Facebook brand page.”

I glanced at the fly on my keyboard which was now still. Probably dead. This city will suck the life out of anything given enough time.

“Awkward.” I said. “And now you’re looking for someone to clean up your little mess?”

“Well, yes. It’s a… delicate situation. We’re a big brand you see. We have profile. We can’t afford to made a public laughing-stock. Will you help?”

“It’s 25 hundred dollars a day plus expenses, Miss…?

“Huntington. Mrs. Huntington. And that’s a lot of money.”

“You should have thought of that before. Book yourself into a social media training course next time – the world could do with fewer delicate situations. Try NET:101, they’re good.”

“Very well Mr. Spade I’ll write you a cheque. And thanks for the advice.”

“Take a seat Mrs. Huntington and tell me from the beginning…”

There are many stories in the big city, this has been one of them.