Tactics Aren’t Strategy AKA Just Because You Could Doesn’t Mean You Should

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Yesterday I was with a prospective client that my company would provide Social Media consulting and management for. What I kept repeating to them every time they asked questions such as “What’s an RT?”, “What’s LinkedIn?” and “Should we do a podcast?”, was that we shouldn’t get caught up in the tools and tactics – we needed to talk strategy.

Tactics and strategies are not the same thing. A tactic is a method employed to achieve an outcome. A strategy is planning a series of desired outcomes and instigating a series of tactics to achieve them, in order to fulfil objectives. If you compare to sport, tactics are the methods used in a game. Strategy is the whole game plan.

What I therefore found myself saying to the prospective client, taking this thought further, that just because they could use a certain tactic didn’t mean that they should use said tactic.

That’s pretty obvious. But today I realised again how profound it is. Creating and carrying out a successful Social Media strategy is not about using every social network that you could use, every content type and channel you could use, and speaking to every person on Twitter that you could speak to you. I think that creating and carrying out a successful strategy is conversely about knowing what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do:

  • What social network, based on your target audience, should you use? And which shouldn’t you?
  • What channel, based on your message, should you use? And which shouldn’t you?
  • What people, based on your offering, should you connect with? And which shouldn’t you?

I once heard someone say that elegance is restraint. Well, in our over saturated, content drowning world, I’d say strategy is also largely about restraint. Nothing ground breaking. But if you’ve lost sight of it, it’s a helpful reminder.

As for the photo of Olivier Blanchard and I, it’s another reminder that this lesson also works in reverse. Just because you probably shouldn’t fly two guys over the Atlantic on nothing but an idea, doesn’t mean you couldn’t. Or can’t. Or shouldn’t. You know what I mean.

P.S. If you are getting bored of Trey and Olivier photos on here, then hurry up and book your flight for Like Minds 2010 on Friday Feb 26th already, will ya?

Archived Comments

  • Robin_Dickinson

    Nice one, Scott.

    It’s great to be back on your (our) blog.

    ;)

    The wisest thing I’ve ever heard about strategy is this:

    STRATEGY IS WHAT YOU SAY NO TO.

    In the world of yes, and do anything because you can, “restraint” as you put it is almost becoming a strategy in itself.

    The only other thing I would say about strategy is that it is very much driven by identity and purpose – who are we, and why are we doing this?

    Loads to chew on with you,

    I’ll just get the fire-hose ready.

    :)

    Best, Robin

  • Robin_Dickinson

    Nice one, Scott.

    It’s great to be back on your (our) blog.

    ;)

    The wisest thing I’ve ever heard about strategy is this:

    STRATEGY IS WHAT YOU SAY NO TO.

    In the world of yes, and do anything because you can, “restraint” as you put it is almost becoming a strategy in itself.

    The only other thing I would say about strategy is that it is very much driven by identity and purpose – who are we, and why are we doing this?

    Loads to chew on with you,

    I’ll just get the fire-hose ready.

    :)

    Best, Robin

  • Scott Gould

    I do like our blog

    :-)

    Thanks for the additions, and affirmation that I’m on the right line here. I’ve had to fight quite hard myself to say ‘No’ and get some focus going on – you know what I’m talking about!

    And yes, top level strategy is those who/why questions – another thing I’m realising more and more – and also finding so few companies have actually got clarity on.

    I’m just getting my wet suit. Then we can let the hose fire!

  • Scott Gould

    I do like our blog

    :-)

    Thanks for the additions, and affirmation that I’m on the right line here. I’ve had to fight quite hard myself to say ‘No’ and get some focus going on – you know what I’m talking about!

    And yes, top level strategy is those who/why questions – another thing I’m realising more and more – and also finding so few companies have actually got clarity on.

    I’m just getting my wet suit. Then we can let the hose fire!

  • hotelinbournemouth

    The tools of carrying a successful Social Media strategy is to use more new features that is base in our new technology..Great and Awesome post!!

  • hotelinbournemouth

    The tools of carrying a successful Social Media strategy is to use more new features that is base in our new technology..Great and Awesome post!!

  • peteshannon

    I couldn’t agree more – I think the very first step in creating a social media strategy with potential is to forget about social media! Consider the overarching business strategy and the key objectives. Then consider audiences and relationship goals plus measurable targets.

    Having done this it’s far easier to map social media activities to true business priorities and find natural boundaries to focus and ‘restrain’ the strategy.

    Nice post.

    Pete Shannon
    http://www.peteshannon.com

  • peteshannon

    I couldn’t agree more – I think the very first step in creating a social media strategy with potential is to forget about social media! Consider the overarching business strategy and the key objectives. Then consider audiences and relationship goals plus measurable targets.

    Having done this it’s far easier to map social media activities to true business priorities and find natural boundaries to focus and ‘restrain’ the strategy.

    Nice post.

    Pete Shannon
    http://www.peteshannon.com

  • Scott Gould

    Pete thanks for stopping by! Agreed on all points.

    Must say, I loved your Crush It! book map

  • Scott Gould

    Pete thanks for stopping by! Agreed on all points.

    Must say, I loved your Crush It! book map

  • peteshannon

    Hi! Thanks Scott!

    They’re fun to make and Crush-it really lends itself to a nice one-page bookmap.

    It’s this post:

    http://www.peteshannon.com/post/231139277/the-a...

    …that I think is quite relevant to yours.

    Cheers,

    Pete
    @peteshannon

  • peteshannon

    Hi! Thanks Scott!

    They’re fun to make and Crush-it really lends itself to a nice one-page bookmap.

    It’s this post:

    http://www.peteshannon.com/post/231139277/the-a...

    …that I think is quite relevant to yours.

    Cheers,

    Pete
    @peteshannon

6th November, 2009

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