NET:101 Social Media Strategy Canvas Exercise

Strategy Canvas V6 (1)

These are the explanatory notes for the NET:101 Advanced Social Media Course strategy canvas exercise.

The canvas is made up of 8 elements: core objectives, strategic objectives, target audience content preferences, budget allocation, platform selection and visibility (organic and paid), audience conversion bridges/ CTA’s, and conversion actions. Theses elements form the backbone of a social media strategy – one which will align with your stated organisational objectives while also prompting you to consider organisational capabilities such as social media expertise, management buy-in, allocated staff hours and financial commitment.

My preference 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 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.



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An organisation – commercial, public or a not-for-profit – should have a social media strategy which measurably achieves one or more of three core objectives:

  1. Increased revenue
  2. Decreased costs
  3. Increased stakeholder satisfaction (internal or external)



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

  • Customer service*
  • Crisis management*
  • Prospects/ lead generation/ sales
  • Thought leadership/ subject matter expertise (building brand credibility)
  • Brand reach (building brand visibility)
  • Event support (building the back-channel)
  • Advocacy
  • HR/ recruitment

*Customer service and crisis management may not be strategic objectives for you but nonetheless public stakeholders may use one or more of your social media platforms as customer service touch-points – for questions, comments, complains or feedback – or gravitate to them during an incident or crisis affecting your organisation.



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Content is the ‘media’ in social media. People typically 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 content preferences of your target audiences, your resource and technical capabilities, and access to in-house or external subject-matter expertise. There are five main social media content formats:

  • Short-form text
  • Long-form text
  • Images
  • Streaming video
  • Streaming audio

Capable social media practitioners should be comfortable producing and publishing across all five formats.




The social media platforms listed below are the main options open to organisations operating within the Australian market in 2016. To keep this canvas exercise simple I’ve excluded relatively minor players. The option mix will change as new platforms are adopted by users and others fall out of favour. I’ve included the website as it plays an important hub role in support of your social media presence.

The major players:

  • Website*
  • Corporate blog*
  • YouTube* (generically, streaming video)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn organisational (company, showcase and tertiary institution pages)
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Podcast (generically, streaming audio)

*Content published through these platforms enjoys an extended shelf-life because it can be crawled, indexed and indefinitely resurfaced by popular search engines such as Google.



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Maintaining an active organisational presence on social media is resource intensive: content production and publishing, reactive and proactive engagement, measurement, reporting, algorithm updates and new platform features.

Increasing or maintaining your visibility through social media is an important consideration. Content is the key driver of visibility, but if people are not able to discover your content it may as well not exist. Your level of visibility amongst your target audiences is known as aggregate reach and can be measured over different time-frames. Aggregate reach is the number of unique people who were physically able to eyeball (or listen to) your social media posts and advertisements.

There are three ways reach can be achieved:

Organic (Unpaid) Reach

Discovery of your social media post takes places organically i.e. without any financial support. People are able to view your posts for free by:

  • Running a platform specific keyword or hashtag search
  • Visiting your account/page directly
  • Seeing your posts served onto their newsfeeds by being directly connected to you (your fans and followers)
  • Seeing your posts served onto their newsfeeds as a result of their personal connections engaging with your posts (the friends of your fans and followers, known as viral reach)

Many social media platforms use algorithms to varying extents to filter newsfeed content as a quality control measure. Such newsfeeds serve a filtered stream of posts from your personal and brand connections based on the relative importance of each to you personally. Organic reach can also be achieved through promoted content and targeted advertising if users engage with them and push them onto the newsfeeds of their closer personal connections.

Your website and blog content and your public YouTube videos are also able to enjoy extended organic reach via search engines such as Google. Content published through these platforms gets crawled, indexed and is stored indefinitely within the search engine data centres. This is not the case for most of your published social media content, hence the requirement to publish consistently to maintain ongoing visibility.

Paid Reach – Promoted Content

On some platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest – there is an option to pay to supplement the organic reach of your natively published content. This is known as promoted, boosted or sponsored content. Promoted content can be targeted to existing connections or to specific users based on a varied range of sophisticated filters, depending on the platform.

Paid Reach – Targeted Advertising

On some platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube – there is an option to pay for reach using a range of advertising formats. Ads can be targeted to existing connections or to specific users based on filters. Most ad formats incorporate a call-to action button or embedded hyperlink to bring users to an external landing or campaign page of your choosing.



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Given the variability of the newsfeed algorithms which underpin organic reach you might find difficulty meeting your core objectives without a social media budget, i.e. to promote select content and to run targeted advertising campaigns. Budget allocations do not have to be large and can be applied on a campaign, monthly or per annum basis. An investment of time or money should be supported with some form of return on investment (ROI) analysis.


7. BRIDGES & CAMPAIGN CTA’s (Call-to-Action)


Social media are the means for people to discover, consume and engage with your branded content, communicate to you and to one another. At times however you will need to invite your followers or fans to perform a meaningful action of organisational value, e.g. contact us, make a purchase, complete a survey, visit a location, attend an event, sign up to your newsletter, apply for a position, make a donation, volunteer time, etc. Achieving your strategic objectives often requires you to move people away from social media. To facilitate this flow you will need to build visible bridges and campaign calls-to-action (CTA’s) from your social media islands to one of your conversion-place mainlands. Bridge and CTA campaign examples include:

  • Visit our website, campaign page or another social media account via a hyperlink, CTA button or display URL
  • Visit us physically, facilitated through street address information, a map download or a customised hyperlink to a mapping app
  • Contact us via telephone, email or direct message (DM)



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Bridges and campaign CTA’s move people across to any of four conversion places:

  1. Your website, microsites and campaign pages
  2. Physical locations, e.g store, office, showroom, venue, event, attraction
  3. Your contact centre
  4. Another social media platform

Conversion places are positioned to further drive any number of conversion goal actions. Conversion goals will vary depending on the conversion place and your underlying strategic objectives.


Conversion Place 1 – Website

Bridge people to your principal online branded asset, your website. You now have more control over the visitor experience, away from third-party advertising and other social media distractions. Your website also offers full control over your web page call-to-actions and set-up of your conversion goal pathways. The website can also serve as an intermediate bridge to other conversion places, i.e. physical locations, the contact centre and other social media platforms.

Website Conversion Tracking

Your website analytics, most probably it’s probably Google Analytics, will automatically break visitor traffic down by source – the social media channel or specific social media campaign if you have campaign URL’s installed. Website goal tracking enables attribution back to the specific channel and source which drove the conversion, which in turn enables return on investment analysis.

Simply measured conversion goals on your website include visits, ecommerce sales, donations, contact and generic form submissions, application submissions, email subscriptions, downloads, page views, hyperlink and button clicks, time spent on site (+ or – value) and rich media player views – video or audio.

Facebook also enables 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 conversion reporting includes view content, search, add to cart, add to wishlist, initiate checkout, add payment info, purchase, lead and complete registration.

Over the short to mid-term ecommerce sales directly within social media will become more common, obviating the requirement to move people away from social media and into your own ecommerce gateway.

Conversion Place 2 – Physical Locations

Invite people to travel somewhere – by foot, public transport or car – to attend, sample, view, discuss or make a purchase. Compared to a website visitor a physical visitation is more difficult to identify as having originated from a specific social media channel or campaign. This is commonly known as the ‘attribution problem’. Redemption vouchers are one means of identifying the channel or campaign source of a physical visit.

Conversion Place 3 – Contact Centre

Make it easy for people to communicate with you beyond public social media – relationships form faster with direct one-on-one contact. This can be facilitated with the prominent display of important telephone numbers, email details, contact forms, live chat modules or private direct messaging. The attribution problem mentioned above applies here also.

Conversion Place 4 – Another of your Social Media Platforms

Move people to one of your other social media platforms to help meet a strategic objective, e.g. to Twitter as a customer service channel, to a LinkedIn company page for HR/recruitment purposes, to a Facebook page or group as a community gathering place.  Conversion place goals in these instances could include level of engagement, e.g. the number of questions, comments, compliments or complaints received, engagement activity on your own posts, individual or aggregate post reach, competition entries, surveys or polls completed.




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Once your social media strategy is launched you’ll need to adjust allocations of staff time and money (typically more of both than you first thought) against your resource capabilities (typically less than you’d like!) Alternatively you can adjust your goal conversion targets and/or the timeframes expected to meet them.

#Shit’s on the Way Out


In a rare display of online unity many of the world’s largest social media companies announced today an agreement to phase out any use of the #shit hashtag across their websites. A rainbow coalition spearheaded and co-chaired by Twitter and Facebook have set June 1, 2015 as the last day the #shit hashtag would be searchable or clickable within user’s posts. A complete ban on the hashtag is scheduled for late 2016.

“We’re sick of it and so are many of our users” said Twitter’s media spokesperson Randy Steinwig. “Certain elements of the community are using #shit as if it were a clever or fun hashtag – like #funnythingsoverheardatwork for example – but it’s really neither of those things. If people want to go potty-mouth with their friends maybe they should head over to Tumblr”.

When asked about other offensive hashtags in common usage across social media, Steinwig replied “We’re not aware of anything more offensive than the #shit hashtag at the moment, but we’re always on the lookout for anything unsavoury which might start gaining widespread adoption – we’d obviously look to aggressively stamp these out too.”




Local Business Owner Finally Cracks Google

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Michelle Chesterton, who owns a small florist in the inner Melbourne suburb of Armadale, recently announced to close friends and family that she was now coming up number 1 on Google for searches on her own business name. “Over the last couple of weeks we finally cracked it.” said Michelle. “Now if you google ‘Michelle’s Florist & Gift Shop Armadale’ we’re dominating the results. This is a real game-changer – our competitors won’t know what’s hit them!”

Michelle, like many small business-owners these days relies heavily on organic search to drive new customers through the door. Appearing high in Google’s search results is now seen as a business ‘must have’. While many aspire to do well in the space, not everyone is able to reach the pinnacle of unpaid search: appearing somewhere on page 1 for people who run a search on their business name.

“It’s been a long struggle – for years we were in the digital wilderness”, says Michelle thoughtfully. “We really owe a huge thanks to our SEO guru-consultant Max Bull who worked tirelessly to make this happen. Although we’ve invested a considerable sum, and there will be ongoing maintenance costs, it’s worth every cent. In fact, we’re so impressed with the results we’re thinking about launching our own website next year”.




Who Wants Likes!? Channel 9’s New Social Media Game Show


The Channel 9 network in Australia has unveiled a new 1-hour weekly game show called Who Wants Likes!? The show is modelled on the popular Japanese variety program Gaki no Tsukai where contestants are humiliated and inflicted with pain as part of a series of endurance challenges. Who Wants Likes!? contestants are all small businesses-owners who are competing for Facebook ‘likes’ on their brand pages in a bid to boost their social media presence. Each contestant must last through timed milestones to win increasing numbers of Facebook fans. The winning contestant for each challenge wins an extra 5000 fans and is given $10,000 in Facebook credits to pay for boosted posts.

The show has already come under attack from groups who have labelled the challenges as “denigrating” and “disturbing.” One endurance challenge involves contestants being stripped to their underwear, tied to the floor and smeared with honey from head to foot. 100 bull-ants are then placed onto the body of each person while the host taunts contestants with criticisms about how poor their understanding of social media for business really is. Crazy enough to be dangerous?  It could be. Spare a thought for a contestant in a similar game show challenge in Japan in 1994 who was hospitalised for a week after receiving repeated electric eel bites to his nose and ears.

Channel 9 is not shying away from the controversy and has backed its head of programming, Charles Musgrave. “The new format, Who Wants Likes!? is intended as a bit of fun.” according to a statement released by the network over the weekend. “Yes, we’re tapping into the obsession of business-owners to be ‘liked’ by all and sundry on Facebook, but it’s up to each of [the contestants] as to how far they’re prepared to go. Social media is a painful thing for most business-owners anyway – we’re hardly introducing anything new 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.”


Amazing True Facts!



100% crazy, 100% fun and 100% certified true!

Since 1997 there have been 28 recorded incidents of websites spontaneously combusting! Totally unexplained!

North Korea is close to launching its own private internet which will be powered entirely from potatoes! Whacky!

Google spelt backwards is ‘Elgoog’. Creepy, but true!

At the sub-atomic level a social media post can be on someone’s newsfeed and not on anyone’s newsfeed simultaneously! Quantum spookiness!

NASA research reveals that cat memes are remarkably persistent, even in zero-gravity environments! Watch out Mr. Astronaut!

The world’s smallest website weighs only 4.6 grams! Unbelievable!

The word Instagram originates from the German ‘instag gramute’ meaning goose fat. Weird huh!?

In the early days of social media people commonly believed that posting a selfie would take their soul away! LOL!

Most people don’t know that old Facebook posts can be stuffed into shoes to keep your feet warm in winter! Try it out!

Hashtags originally contained small amounts of hashish, hence the name! Don’t tell your parents! 🙂

5000 average-sized social media posts draw about the same amount of energy as does a single-bar eclectic heater. That’s a LOT of joules!

QR codes are still commonly traded in some African nations despite a 2009 international ban on their use. Not cool kids!

Lab rats repeatedly exposed to Richard Branson quotes will stop eating and eventually die. That’s toxic!

The word ‘hyperlink’ is actually two separate words put together: ‘hyper’ and ‘link’. Who would have guessed!?

With some basic at-home tinkering Google Analytics can also be used as a two-way radio. Chat long-distance with your friends!

Even today no-one knows how GIF’s actually work. Modern mystery!

Scientists believe they have isolated and can suppress the over-sharing gene in humans. Social media breakthrough!



Man Discovers Factual Error on the Web


Terry Jenkins, a property developer from Cairns recently found evidence of a factual error on the web. “I almost missed it.” said Terry “I was reading a piece about Peru which made reference to Trujillo as their capital city. I was puzzled and then a bit shocked. I mean, I was on the world wide web – how could anything which wasn’t completely true make it on there in the first place? But no, a quick call to the Peruvian embassy in Sydney confirmed the error as real – the capital of Peru is actually Lima!

“What a revelation –  I was almost bowled over! Then I got to thinking: if I had found one error on the web could there be other falsehoods published online? And if this were the case and it became widely known, then surely the web would lose its credibility as a reliable source of information…. and people would just stop using it.

“If the web is to retain its mantle as the universal repository of truth, then whoever’s running the show needs to safeguard its integrity. I spotted one slip-up, but there could be others. At the risk of sounding cynical I’m wondering if I can continue to believe everything I see on the web. What next, I’ll discover that online local business reviews and Grumpy Cat are fake?






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


April Horoscope for Social Media Managers

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Hopefully the hard slog of the past few months feels well and truly behind you now. There is a New Moon eclipse this month and it is urging you to stop worrying about accumulating more followers and fans, and to start engaging more with existing ones. Also, your sensitive nature is likely to pick up on algorithmic changes on one of more of your social media accounts which may detrimentally affect your organic audience reach. You’ll find that you can incorporate some of this new knowledge in a way that gives you a greater advantage.

Note that with eclipses, problems start if we cling on to social media platforms which are not working and pretend everything is ok when it’s not. Release what needs to be released before the Universe releases it for you. Get the picture? As this New Moon eclipse is in the deepest part of your chart it also makes it the ideal month to experiment with other social media platforms which may reveal your brand’s hidden depths. Try looking for inspiration in the Houses of Pinterest or Instagram.

Although you do have all the cosmic support you need to enjoy your social media manager duties this month you must force yourself to work through your fears of analytics and data interpretation to get to the ‘really good stuff’.

Your transient ruler, the rambunctious Mars with a take-no-prisoners manner, will zig-zag through your social media channels. Mars forms a trine to the Lunar Eclipse – this is almost always an emotional time. You may forget a login password or send out a post with a broken hyperlink, so try to stay strong! But Mars also rewards the curious and adventurous – time to shake off your propensity to play it safe and produce everything in-house the way it’s always been done. Try outsourcing a few $5 gigs to an overseas freelancer on and add some exotic spice to your next posts!

As Pluto remains in the Tenth House it is a rare chance to change the way you think. “What’s the good of that?” you might ask. Well, according to ancient wisdom and New Age theory, we create our reality with our thoughts. If you have got into the habit of thinking negatively about your social media presence, it’s time to retrain your brain. Monitor your thoughts and swerve them towards positivity. You could achieve some amazing business-level outcomes.

This is a wonderful month to expand your mind and you have full cosmic support – the Universe knows you are ripe for change. If you need to, undertake a NET:101 social media course to help make some sense of your longer-term strategic goals. The more realistic you can be, the better.

As the end of the month approaches, you should feel like you finally have achieved the KPI’s that you so deeply desire and this happiness adds a new dimension to your online persona. You better understand the rules, your superiors are more aware of your particular talents, and you are concentrating on playing the game of social media more skillfully.