Social Media Campaign vs. Social Media Strategy

Over the last day or two, it struck me that a lot of social media marketers haven’t consciously considered the difference between a social media strategy and a social media campaign. Understanding the distinction is the key to long-term success in this space.

Strategy First, Execution LaterAs a social media agency, we get asked for both, or we get asked for one by folks that need the other. So what’s the difference?

  • Social media strategy: A social media strategy should always come before a social media campaign. Ideally, it should come at least six months before the social media campaign. In it, you re-evaluate your internal assets and begin to (a) analyze and (b) engage with the community, but you don’t “ask” for anything in return yet. We did this first for Ignite, and it pays huge dividends.
  • Social media campaign: A social media campaign derives from a social media strategy. The major difference here is that now you (a) understand the audience that cares about your subject and where they gather, (b) you’ve given quality information away and developed followers, and© you now have measurable goals. Now you’re activating people and trying to “get” something.

Too often, though people wait to start considering social media until the have a campaign, they need to achieve set goals and they need them now. The problem with that is that they don’t have a social media base from which they can act. So we have to start by building a platform from which they can speak. Then we have to re-assess what they have to offer that is of genuine interest to a certain set of the population. Then we… Well you get the idea…

The problem is that all of that takes time. Time to create, but even more so time for Google to find it, index it… Time for people to find it, care about it, share it.

Are there individual things you can do quickly with social media? Sure. But if you want a full social media campaign in the next year, you probably want to work on your social media strategy now—right now…

Ignite Social Media