This 2021 Social Media Strategy Exercise is run as part of the net101 ‘Social Media Advanced’ course. The canvas schematic we use is directly below, and the full support notes – available as pdf download – are further below.
If you would like this social media strategy exercise delivered as part of a conference keynote or workshop, or as an in-house training session, contact Tim Martin. If you would rather attend the net101 Social Media Advanced course, the upcoming dates are here.
This is a dish which satisfies every time – even the fussiest of executives will be back at the table asking for more. While it’s easy enough today to buy pre-made social media strategy lasagna from any agency, it’ll never taste as good and perform as well as a homemade one. Bon appetit!
Preheat your oven – ensure you have a consistent flow of energy to last the full cooking time, otherwise your social media strategy lasagna will not hold together.
In a large mixing bowl add 2-3 fresh social media strategic objectives – you’ll find these in all good organisations, or just ask your local senior management team to order some in for you. Then slowly mix in at least as many measurable goals as you have objectives. Don’t let the objectives and the measurable goals split – if this happens, discard and start over.
Add 2 cups of senior management buy-in, 1 cup of stakeholder engagement, 3 tablespoons of branding and 500ml of high-quality social media training (for best results I recommend net101 – available from most Australian capital cities; use a lesser substitute if you must). Mix together thoroughly by hand and set to one side.
In a non-metallic social media platform add layers of original content – I often use an even mix of educational, informing and entertaining, but it’s up to you. If including sales propositions do so sparingly as their bitterness is not to most people’s taste. If you are running short of original content you can top up with curated content, easily available online with a bit of sifting.
Between each content-layer add a few calls-to-action (often sold as ‘CTAs’ in most supermarkets). Why not throw an extra telephone number in for fun – it’s one of those classic CTA’s that goes well with everything.
Pour the mixture over your layered content, sprinkle with some attention-grabbing headings and bake on a low, consistent heat for several months. Test every week or so with an analytics skewer. When ready, serve with a side of fresh brand personality and a fine bottle of organisational transparency.
If you have leftovers, freeze in portions and reheat for internal meetings or conference presentations.
“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.” Macbeth
“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that post fast.” Romeo and Juliet
“What’s posted can’t be unposted.” Macbeth
“Out, damned stock image! out, I say!” Macbeth
“Video, video – wherefore art thou video?” Romeo and Juliet
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this website.” Macbeth
“Followers sought is good, but given unsought, is better.” Twelfth Night
“The complaining facebook fan seeking something free doth protest too much, methinks.” Twelfth Night
“Give thy personal thoughts no tongue online.” Hamlet
I confess to being genuinely at a loss when it comes to social media engagement in the form of liking other people’s posts. Should I be liking anything and everything from everybody, or just the ones I actually like from the people I know?
Yours Sincerely, Sally Blackmoore
Dear Gentle Reader
Whether to publicly like another’s social media post – or not – is a vexing issue and one which is fraught with misguided intent and endless misinterpretation. The modern ‘like’ is a spring-trap which lays in wait for the uninitiated and where the consequences of a misstep can be socially fatal. But adherence to a few simple and commonsense rules will see you through.
Whenever you like a post from someone within your inner-circle you are ipso facto liking the person who posted it. This is its most popular use and serves the purpose of social bonding between one’s peers. But if you are liking the post of someone from an outer-circle or that of a complete stranger, you are most certainly indicating approval of the post itself – and not the person who published it. In either case, by liking a post you are signalling that you have at least seen the post. It is the digital equivalent of making eye-contact across the madding crowd and tipping one’s hat. In some instances, this may be the precursor to a blossoming online relationship.
On occasion, you might be inclined to like a post because you genuinely do like it. This should be made manifestly clear with the inclusion of a supporting comment or contextually relevant emoji. Care must be taken however when liking the post of a person who is expressing heightened spiritual, cerebral or physical agitation – for example, a picture of their freshly stubbed toe. To like this without a supporting comment or empathetic emoji would be considered very poor taste indeed.
Liking a shared post performs a dual-action. You are both liking the person who shared the post and liking the post of the person who originally published it. All parties generally understand this to be the case.
On receiving a like one should never overtly acknowledge it with another like or comment – it is unnecessary and often leads to awkwardness.
Liking the last several posts at once from someone should be avoided if possible, as the value of a like diminishes in direct proportion to the elapsed time since it was published. Conversely, liking a post within 5 minutes of its publication is a mark of social excellence which is generally reserved for one’s inner, inner-circle connections – your besties.
It is both unacceptable and churlish to ever unlike a post. The exception to this rule is if the like is withdrawn within 30 seconds of granting it, providing leeway for an inadvertent like which happens to us all on occasion.
From time to time we are obliged to discharge a debt or balance the social ledger when a person has liked your last several posts with scrupulous consistency and rapidity. But care must be taken here, as perceived haste to repay one’s obligation is a kind of ingratitude of itself. Yes, such debts must be paid with reciprocated likes, but in instalments.
So as you can see Gentle Reader, a like is not always a like – although of course sometimes it is.
So, you used to be a vampire – you would suck people’s blood until they ran dry?
Yes, but I’ve moved on. I’m now a SEO [search engine optimisation] consultant and I suck people’s bank accounts dry instead. I guess I was born to suck. It’s not such a bad life.
Don’t you worry that you’ll get caught someday?
Not really. SEO consultants have been moving amongst the business community with impunity since the late 1990s. People see us, but they don’t really see through us if you know what I mean. We wear special opaqueness cloaks which are made up of fast talk and jargon.
Do you have any weaknesses – can you be killed?
We’re sensitive to website analytics reports, especially the daylight of business conversion data. But no, we can’t be killed.
Are you in cahoots with any other dark forces?
Yes, digital marketing agencies often provide us with safe-harbour.
Who are your most vulnerable prey?
We target the weak and desperate business-mind. We use a ‘get found on page 1 of google’ hazing-charm to confuse their power of reasoning, and then we put them on a monthly SEO maintenance plan. We suck them until they financially run dry, or the hazing-charm wears off – whichever comes first.
That sounds awful! How do you live with yourself? I mean, what do you see each morning when you look in the mirror?
Nothing, I’m a vampire.
Okay, getting creepy now. Thanks for your time. Let me get the window…
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 service 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.
Sitting on the floor cross-legged storytime version:
Sam Spade Registered Social Media Agent, that’s me if you believe the faded gold lettering on my office door. Not that anyone cares much anymore. Social media consultants are like pencils: everyone has a couple laying around somewhere – most of them not as sharp as you’d like them to be.
I poured my second bourbon of the morning and studied a fly walk all the way from H to J on my keyboard. An all too 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.
She was 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 a long shadow from the ceiling fan played across her magazine-cover face.
“I… we… the people I represent have a small problem, Mr Spade.”
And now we both do sister I thought to myself.
“Our Facebook organic reach keeps plummeting and we don’t know what to do.”
I glanced at the fly on my keyboard which was still. Probably dead. This city sucks the life out of everything given enough time.
“Awkward.” I said.
“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 net101 , they’re one of the good ones.”
“Very well Mr Spade I’ll write you a cheque. And thanks for the training advice.”
“Take a seat Mrs Huntington, and tell it to me from the beginning…”
There are many social media stories in the big city, this has been one of them.