I was reading a really interesting book (Launch By Jeff Walker) over the last week and buried way deep I found this line:
“Tools change, tactics change. Strategy endures.”
It is so true, it’s more true online than in any other venue. From one week to the next there is a new thing to be doing online and we field questions from our clients on a daily basis: “Should I be on Google+?” “Should I be using Pinterest?” “What about Twitter, do I need to tweet?” And we always look to that clients individual strategy to answer. Which is why we call ourselves Capra Strategy and not Capra Website Builders or Capra Social Media People.
What’s the difference between tactics and strategy?
It’s really easy to get the two confused.
Here’s the definition of strategy: a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. If you have a number of goals then you may have a strategy for each of them – in fact, I recommend doing the work of thinking about your plan of action for each goal.
So let’s break that down, in order to create a strategy you need to know two things:
- You need to know what your goal is (or as the definition puts it your overall aim).
- You need a plan of action to achieve that goal.
EXERCISE TO GET TO YOUR STRATEGY (or STRATEGIES):
Step One: Get out a piece of paper and create two columns Column 1 for your Plan of Action – Column 2 for Your Goal.
Step Two: Start by putting your goals down in column 2.
Step Three: Next to each goal enter in your plan of action to get to the associated goal in your first column.
Step Four: Notice themes in your plans of action. Did the same plan of action come up over and over again?
Step Five: Look at your available tactics both online and offline. Need a list of tactics to consider? Email me and I’ll forward you our worksheet. Look at the investment of time & dollars each tactic will take and consider if you have the time, money and desire (THIS IS SO BIG) to take those tactics to task.
Here are a couple of examples:
Lexi’s Lemonade Business Strategy: To serve delicious fresh lemonade to our guests so people come back for seconds and thirds creating demand even with small numbers of guests.
Capra’s Business Strategy: To provide custom solutions & superior customer service (our plan of action) creating lasting long–term clients and referrers of our services (our goal).
A strategy doesn’t tell you WHAT to do, it tells you the OBJECTIVE of all that you do. (tweet this)
So how do you figure out what tactics to use RIGHT NOW? Ask these questions:
- Does that tactic help accomplish one or more of our plans of action?
- Do we have the time & money to successfully take on this tactic today? If not today – WHEN?
- Do we have the DESIRE to do this? This question is SO often over-looked. The truth is this: as a small business owner you have a lot to do, too much actually and what happens when you take on tactics that you genuinely don’t want to do? You don’t do them. They fall to the bottom of the to-do list and then they get moved week after week after week.
- I don’t have the desire to do something – but can I delegate it? Is that a reasonable option for my business?
Our examples from above take on tactics:
Lexi’s Lemonade Business Tactics:
- INSTAGRAM: Use Instagram to photograph the fresh lemons, raw sugar and filtered water used to create excitement and awareness of the freshness of her lemonade.
- FACEBOOK EVENT: She posted to the Facebook Event about how she was going to be providing tokens for people to purchase her lemonade for a limited time during the weekend party.
- SIGNAGE: She created signs that were clear to understand about her lemonade and the options you have.
- WORD of MOUTH: Every single person that came to the table was asked if their date needed more lemonade and was encouraged to tell people with empty glasses to visit and get more lemonade.
- PINTEREST: Create boards for different lemonade recipes, lemonade serving ideas, lemonade outfits, lemonade set-ups and finally pin our own images from our custom lemonade stand.
Capra’s Business Tactics: (just a few of them)
- FACEBOOK: We use it predominantly to promote our clients – we think our clients are awesome and by showcasing how much we like the work they do we’re telling people that are LIKE them that we’d enjoy working with them too.
- BLOG: We want the blog to be a great resource to our clients and our newly re-framed editorial calendar really speaks to that. Just like this blog post all of them moving forward will have a “We’re here to help clear things up” attitude. Because that’s what we do.
- TWITTER & GOOGLE+: We’re going to publish our content to Twitter & Google+ because we like our peers and we want to be on the good side of Google+ it’s not a channel that we invest too much in because our clients don’t but we realize the value in the Tactic so we play at a level that suits our strategy.
- EMAIL: Many of our clients are simply too busy to head out to our blog so we make it easy and share our content with them via email too.
- PINTEREST: We don’t use Pinterest for our business. We stay on top of it for our clients and for a number of them we pin on their behalf (MONDAY is the day to be a pinner if you’re curious) but for Capra it doesn’t fit our strategy to invest in that tactic. So we don’t.
Business Tip: Be aware of how much time you can invest in your social networking tactics and decide to be active in them accordingly. In our experience managing social channels for our clients (individuals and small businesses) here’s what we expect the time investment to be.
Facebook: Posting & engaging with comments – 15-20 minutes daily. (NOTE: This is for your Facebook Page not the endless abyss that is your Facebook personal wall)
Twitter: Posting & engagement with comments – 30-60 minutes daily – broken up into 5 six-ten minute blocks. Posting content multiple times is a must with Twitter.
LinkedIn: Posting & engaging with others – 30 minutes weekly – broken up into 2- 15 minute blocks on Monday and Wednesday.
Pinterest: Posting new pins – 40 minutes weekly on Mondays.
Tool we use to manage much of our social postings: BufferApp Need a list of tactics & more details on each to consider? Email me and I’ll forward you our worksheet.
Your Strategy is your WHY and your Tactics are your HOW.