Social Media Strategist – Master of Strategy

This article first appeared in the strategy newsletter on LinkedIn.

Who is a Social Media Strategist?

This question is relatively easy to answer. Essentially, any person who is responsible for the social media strategy of a company or organization is a social media strategist. It is less important to be aware of the title, the function and their responsibilities than to be responsible for the strategy.

What does a social media strategist do?

Strategy development

Strategy development is one of the core tasks of a social media strategist. This is hardly surprising. What might be a little more surprising is the implementation that “the job, in addition to strategy development,” makes up the larger part of the work. But let’s stick to strategy development first. Strategy is not the most trivial task, especially if we want to tackle it seriously. The responsibility of the social media strategist includes the following areas of responsibility when developing a strategy:

Responsibility for strategy development

  • Social media benefits for the company: A social media strategist is responsible for ensuring that his strategies enable social media to make the best possible contribution to the company’s success. In order for our social media strategies to provide the company with the best possible benefit, we need to know what benefits social media can offer our company overall. I.e. we need to know and be able to explain the potential benefits of social media for the company. If we lack this basis, our strategies are very likely to lack benefit and the contribution of these strategies to the company’s success will be significantly lower.
  • Competence for the business model: In order for our strategies to make the best possible contribution to the company’s success, we must know how this company’s success comes about overall and what it consists of. The company’s success is based on more than the sales and marketing functions and is described by the company’s business model. Every existing company has a business model – even if it is not explicitly defined in all companies. It is the responsibility of the social media strategist to determine the possible benefits of social media for a business model. The social media strategist must therefore know the respective business model and how social media can affect the business model as a whole and the individual areas, as well as what benefits are generally possible with social media for the business model. We develop social media strategies based on the business model and the benefits possible through social media. I.e. we must be able to create a sound information base from both sources.
  • Competence for strategy models: Strategy is ultimately the decision for a certain course of action and against other alternatives. On the one hand, you have to know and be able to evaluate all relevant alternatives. On the other hand, you have to be able to develop a justifiable idea of how the competitive situation (in social media) could develop in the foreseeable future and design your own approach (strategy) so that it works even with corresponding changes. I.e. You should be able to think in alternatives, scenarios and models and at least be able to use or understand a common business model.
  • Competence in communication and diplomacy: Developing strategies also means using resources optimally. This also includes deciding which areas of the company will be supported by social media and to what extent. The successful use of social media – in the sense of corporate success – awakens desires and demands for support and resources, which are well justified from the perspective of the respective area, but do not always correspond to the realities of social media. It must be possible to communicate the corresponding consequences if necessary.

Strategy management

Strategy management is the more extensive part of a social media strategist’s work. Developing a strategy is a complex task. Making this successful is a complex and almost permanent challenge. Strategy management has the following main tasks:

  • Communication: the task is not only to communicate the content of the strategy and its effects and the application in day-to-day business for all affected areas of a company and to ensure that this knowledge is available and implemented. That alone requires persistence, permanence and diplomacy.
  • Motivation: we make sure that the motivation for implementing the strategy does not fall by the wayside but remains high. Across the company and not just in your own functional area. This requires maintaining numbers like KPIs and communication.
  • Communication: the task is not only to communicate the content of the strategy and its effects and the application in day-to-day business for all affected areas of a company and to ensure that this knowledge is available and implemented. That alone requires persistence, permanence and diplomacy.
  • Motivation: we make sure that the motivation for implementing the strategy does not fall by the wayside but remains high. Across the company and not just in your own functional area. This requires maintaining the numbers and communication.
  • Monitoring: In addition to the general development of social media, we primarily monitor the qualitative and quantitative implementation of the strategy – this also includes the development of our KPIs – and the behavior of our competitors. It is no less important to keep an eye on the known risks of our strategy. (Anyone who claims that their strategy has no risks has no strategy and even less knowledge). A not insignificant part of the risks lies in the assumptions and assumptions on which we have built our strategy. A less competent strategist does not note these factors, a non-competent one does not know their existence. In all of our strategies and strategy drafts, we should explicitly and substantiate the assumptions, prerequisites and risks based on them because they are to a certain extent life insurance for strategy management.
  • Success management: Successes must be achieved. Failures come uninvited. Success management not only includes success in social media categories but above all the conversion of social media success into corporate success. We make sure that the success from social media flows into the corresponding company processes and is also used there. This not only requires appropriate KPIs and interfaces but also constant exchange and appropriate feedback with the functional areas involved. In addition, ensuring the social media success of the strategy may be easier through quality and quantity assurance during implementation.
  • Adaptation: The world changes constantly and occasionally surprisingly. This feels particularly pronounced in social media. This change does not stop at strategies, on the contrary. Nothing endangers their success in such a lasting way. The strategist’s job is to recognize when and how a strategy needs to adapt to changes. And do this as early as possible, before the change threatens the strategy itself. We can do this by developing an early warning system that shows us when we need to check our strategy and adjust it if necessary.

Who needs a strategist?

In principle, every company and every organization that wants to use social media successfully needs a real social media strategy and therefore a strategist. It is less easy than this knowledge to be able to fulfill this function adequately.

Little known and underestimated

The social media strategist feels like the least known function in social media with the greatest impact on the company’s success through social media.

The training dilemma

I am not aware of any social media training that covers the area of social media strategist. The training to become a social media manager generously avoids this point – as well as the topic of strategy as a whole. This doesn’t help the newly minted social media managers to ensure their companies’ potential success through social media, nor does it help the companies whose expectations regarding social media are still “implementation-heavy”. During my time as a trainer, I tried to at least link the topic of strategy development / social media success with the company’s success through the business model. More was not possible due to the time limit of the training.

Anyone who wants to develop the necessary skills – and this is indispensable for everyone who has or wants to take responsibility in social media – must develop these skills on their own. Either by developing your own strategy models or by adapting existing approaches from business administration. Both require a lot of time and are therefore unlikely – given the workload of producing social media content.

Alternatively, there is the option of using my potential-based strategy model pbsm, which covers or enables most parts of this function. But learning the model also requires some time investment.

Job descriptions of social media strategists online

Jobs on the web

There is no clear job description yet, but there are already some jobs online.

Have a look at LinkedIn

Internal resources on strategy

Strategy Blog

Externe Ressourcen zum Thema (Social Media Strategie

For your questions

Strategy is a vast and complex field. This is especially true on social media.

If you have any questions about this, I would be pleased and I will try to answer them as best as I can. You can reach me via the form for strategy questions, by email or via LinkedIn.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic and take your social media strategy skills to a new level, I recommend my course on social media strategy development with pbsm.

The strategy course

https://pbsm.info/en/informations-about-the-online-course-pbsm-user

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