If you read my post “What Does a Social Media Strategy Look Like,” you know that the tactical plan is the to-do list for your strategy. Before you create the tactical plan, you should have defined your high-level strategy for each goal. Once you have strategies for each goal, you combine those strategies into a single one and define the tactical plan. (If you want to know more about the steps of developing a strategy, look for my upcoming post “Six Step to a Social Media Strategy.”)
Where the strategy defines generally what you are going to do in order to achieve your goal. The tactical plan lists the specific steps and tasks to execute that strategy. The tactical plan forms the basis of the project plan which you will execute.
Define the Phases of Your Social Media Tactical Plan
To begin, take the bullet points you’ve listed as the high-level strategy for each goal and combine them. Eliminate duplicates. Next, break the new bulleted list into phases. Logically, some parts of the strategy must be executed before others. I find the phases tend to overlap. To illustrate that, I often provide a diagram for customers such as:
For instance, in the above example, the process of cross-promoting will begin while the process of connecting with existing customers is still going on.
For each phase, create a short-list summarizing the tactical steps for that phase. For example:
- Build the online assets
- Build the fan/follow base
- Establish social network routines
Define the Tasks to Implement Your Social Media Strategy
Now it’s time to go deep. For each of the tactical bullet points, list the tasks necessary to complete it. This will necessarily include further strategy decisions. Take Build the online assets, for example. If you haven’t already, you now need to decide which online assets you’ll build: a Facebook account? A Twitter account? Multiple Facebook fan pages?
Your decisions should be informed by your strategy and your success criteria. Decisions here may also cause you to refine the strategy and success criteria. Remember that your social media strategy is an evolving, living document.
If you can’t tell already I love bullets. So, that’s what I use. I create a bulleted list of the tasks for each tactical step in each phase of the social media strategy’s implementation. If necessary, I break the bulleted list into logical groupings.
Include Decisions You Need to Make
My tasks include decisions that my customer needs to make, with our without my assistance. For example, the task list might include:
- Determine tools to create and track links
- Determine tools to track fans/follows coming through badges/links
These are important choices that can have long-term ramifications. If I know from my goals and success criteria that I’m going to need to track clicks on the links that I share, I need to decide how I’m going to do that in the earliest stages of the project. As I make that choice, I need to consider the success criteria and interim measures I’ve picked, the resources I have available (including the time I can devote), and how tracking contributes to my goals.
Take the Time to Research and Plan
Creating the tactical plan will necessarily require doing additional thinking, research, and planning. For example, at this point you should define the kind of content you will post and how you will go about finding and connecting with potential followers. You may need to do research on your target customers and where they live online, find information sources or other sources for good content, or note plans to work out incentive programs with your business partners or with the sales/marketing team in your organization. Get as specific as you can.
Refine the Tactical Plan
Once you’ve done your first pass at the tactical plan, set it aside for a while. Chances are your brain is teeming from the deep, critical thinking required to create a detailed plan. In a week or two, sit back down with the plan and go through it.
Implementing a social media strategy is a lot of work–especially if your organization is entering the arena for the first time. You have probably packed a lot more into the plan than you can really implement. Go back through it and identify what is critical and must be done, and what can be added or implemented later. Create a bucket list of items that will be done after your first strategy is fully implemented.
Then, refine your plan, adding additional tasks and information, and filling in gaps. As a final check, review the entire strategy to make sure everything is aligned: the strategy with the goals, the success criteria with the strategy, the interim measures with the succes criteria, and the tactical plan with the strategy and the interim measures.
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