Imagine that you’re about to take a cross-country road trip with your friends or family. You took the time off of work, you packed the car and are sitting in the passenger seat, excited to begin the adventure. As your friend pulls out of the driveway, you ask what route they’re taking. They respond, “Oh, I didn’t look up a route. The interstate system is simple enough, we’ll figure it out along the way.”
My guess is that you would be pretty concerned at that statement, to put it gently, if you stayed in the car at all. Maybe the driver thought it was more fun to go without planning the route, or maybe they were so excited to get on the road that they didn’t want to waste time finding the way. However, we can probably all guess that, if they went ahead without a route planned, they likely got lost many times, their trip took much longer than it needed to, and they spent more on fuel and hotel stays than if they planned out a direct route.
As crazy as it seems to leave on a long road trip without finding the route first, in my opinion, it’s not all that different than forging ahead with social media or other communications tools without first matching those activities to a strategy. As much as a strategy may feel like hard work and a waste of time to those excited to get going, what you’re doing is plotting out a map showing where you are, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there.
Whether you plan your strategy using internal staff, outside consultants or even volunteers, having a map to guide your actions will help you reach your destinations sooner a be more efficient in your efforts.
Are you working without a social media strategy now? Tell us about your successes or challenges. If you have worked through a strategy, how was the process? Did you have fun working on it, or did you feel like it used up valuable time? Have you felt positive working through the resulting strategy?