Without Structure, Strategy Goes Nowhere

By Communications, Corporate Strategy

Lucky me! Two organizations I work with are beginning strategic planning at the start of this new year. It gets a little confusing, bouncing back and forth, but what I learn in sessions from one, I’m able to apply to the other, so I figure that’s a win.

What has worried me in past strategy sessions is the possibility that the plan will sit on a shelf and not get put into action. I bet you’ve seen that in your work place or volunteer efforts. To combat that, we like to recommend a specific structure for follow up, either quarterly or every six months.

When it comes to strategic communications, the follow up and structure for implementation need to be waaaay tighter. Our clients benefit from a weekly structure, where those responsible for outreach and engagement truly have a DAILY checklist of tasks related to the strategic goals. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but when small steps are taken, great leaps can be made toward big goals.

We’re gearing up for an upcoming workshop for small businesses and nonprofits to help smaller teams or individual team members responsible for communications get a good structure set up so the rest of the year will run smoothly, and make real progress toward goals. More soon!

It’s OK if You Don’t Get It

By Corporate Strategy, Social Media

Hi, it’s Erika again.

I’ll be chiming in once a week to talk about what’s happening over at my side of the office. This past week I had the opportunity to meet with two companies who are each considering a social media strategy. One is planning to expand and would like to use the social networks to create interest in the new communities. The other is a new company at that initial stage of defining their brand. In both meetings, I heard basically this:

I know people are out there on Twitter, but I’m not. I don’t get it. What are they talking about?

I’m going to say something controversial here. Wait for it . . . . .

Not EVERYONE is on Twitter. Ahhh, that felt good. Oh, and not everyone is on Facebook either. Yep, I said it and it’s true. I mean, a lot of people are. The thing is that these business owners know that their customers are using these platforms. That’s why they’re talking to us. But just because they know they’re out there doesn’t mean that they “get it”. And that’s totally ok.

A big part of what we do is educate businesses on the value of social media, what tone/content is appropriate for which platform, the most effective ways of listening and monitoring, then creating a plan (with calendar!) for publishing content.  We also help you write your social media policy because ultimately, one of your next questions will be:

If we let an employee represent the company, how do we control what they say?

That may be another post for another day, but in a nutshell, you don’t want to completely control what they say because then it wouldn’t feel authentic. The purpose of having a policy is to set parameters, but the voice should be, and sound like a real person. They should be out there on the social networks following businesses and individuals who they can tweet back and forth with. This person could be an entry level associate. If they are passionate about your company, people will hear that in their tone.

So I’m excited about both of these companies. As we move forward, I’ll share some stories about the process (with their approval, of course). Was there a paradigm shift? Do they see the benefits of social media rather than the amazing time wasting capabilities? Or did they become social media addicts? I sort of doubt it, but I am looking forward to the new start. I’ll keep you posted.