Social Media Strategies and Tactics Are Not the Same

Let’s Not Confuse Tactics with Strategy

If I learned one thing in a previous life as a Tactics Coordinator in my old Navy squadron, it’s that Objectives, Strategies and Tactics are distinctly different concepts.

This point came up today during a wildly fun and respectful debate at a business mastermind group I contribute to on most Saturday mornings.  One of the key takeaways I came out with is that it can be dangerous to confuse Strategy with Tactics.  (Download the interactive mindmap notes below that highlight today’s mastermind meeting. )


SMMOC Meeting Notes 06-18-2011 (v-2.0)|1.89 MB|downloads: 938
You must use Adobe Reader (not Preview or other viewers) to view this document. Interactive mindmap of the highlights from Orange County's Social Media Mastermind (SMMOC) group. Opens in a PDF player. Interactive, with expandable branches and live hyperlinks to key resources. (If you find this useful, I'd appreciate you helping out by: 1. Liking the article and 2. Telling your friends!)

All too often, we hear about social media consultants / experts / coaches / (insert your favorite noun here) espousing the need for a “social media strategy.”  Only to then move forward and describe these strategies in terms of tools and techniques for using some new shiny social network, online service or blog plug-in; tools to automate or otherwise greatly enhance some online activity.

I’m not debunking the great skill with which some of our friends wield these tools.  It’s great, in fact, to have that kind of proficiency with a vast toolset.  But, as far as those go, they’re tactics.  Not strategies.

Why Should You Care?

Ask any military person with field/operational responsibility, and she’ll tell you that Objectives and Strategies (also distinct from each other) should dictate tactics.  Tactics should never dictate strategy.  (Lives have been lost that way.)

Objectives vs Strategies vs Tactics

(Click to enlarge)

The image above is one way I might suggest viewing the distinctions.  Read some of the examples (click to enlarge) and let me know what you think.

What would you say are other examples that could help paint a picture in the minds of our clients and executives about the differences between a social media “strategy” and a social media “tool” or “tactic?”

Related posts in this series

Highlights-Social Media Mastermind Orange County (SMMOC) Meetup

SMMOC Highlights – June 11, 2011

The highlights in the mindmap below will be most relevant to you if you participated in today’s SMMOC mastermind meetup.  But…

social media mastermind (smmoc) meeting notes(Click to zoom the image. Scroll down to download the interactive map.)

…But, MindMapping Output Formats Are Getting More Ubiquitous

Even if you’re not a regular attendee of our mastermind meetings, you’ll still find some value in downloading the (free) PDF below.  (Update:  FYI. The download file is a different format than the image above.  The download is an interactive Adobe player file.  It’ll let you expand branches and see associated references.)

In addition to including some valuable reference links we shared in today’s meeting, I think you’ll find it interesting to experience one of the interactive output formats available through some of the mindmapping software you’ve seen me use before in many of my training videos.  (You’ll need the latest [free] Adobe Reader, if you don’t already have it.)

‘Getting Any Ideas?

What ideas come to mind about how you might use mindmaps in your own online content creation projects?


SMMOC Meeting Highlights - June 11 2011 (v-2.0)|1.94 MB|downloads: 745
You must use Adobe Reader (not Preview or other viewers) to view this document. Interactive meeting highlight notes. Mindmap format with included links to valuable online references. Don't forget to follow those in the Attendees list. They're good folks to follow who can help you with great ideas for your social media and online content creation projects. (If you find this useful, I'd appreciate you helping out by: 1. Liking the article and 2. Telling your friends!)