Social media tactics are the actions taken to execute the social media strategy. Tuten (2021) explained that the strategy “considers the situation analysis, target audience, and objectives to guide the zones of social media that the brand can best use to reach and engage the target audience” (p. 158). Translation: strategy is the why of social media marketing. It answers the question of what the reason is for a campaign.
Next in the process of tactical planning is understanding the who of social media marketing: the target audience. Tuten (2021) explained researching the target audience of a brand provides the insight needed to devise an experience strategy capable of engaging the target audience in the zones of social media (p. 158). Social media managers study how to better connect with the target audience by analyzing the engagement rate, or what posts consumers like, comment on, or share and at what time. Remember that social media is about participation and sharing. Consumers are much more likely to interact with a post if they have been affected by or gained knowledge from the content. If social media managers are to be successful at engaging people, we need to understand what kind of content might “inspire the audience to do, see, and/or feel” (p. 160). To achieve this, create a persona profile of your target audience.
The next decision in the process of tactical planning is choosing where to post your content. Where will the brand engage with the target audience? The culture, guidelines and rules, and functionality of each prospective channel, or social media platform, will influence what can and should be shared, how people engage with each other, and choices about the timing and frequency of participation (Tuten, 2021, p. 161). Who uses this channel? How much time do they spend here? What kinds of content work best here? What specific goals can be pursued here given the channel’s functionality? Does our brand image, voice, and tone fit with the channel culture? Are our competitors present here, and if so, how are they performing? If we participate in this channel, what will we contribute? The answers to the questions posed and the evaluation of the characteristics of the channels will facilitate the creation of a channel plan.
What will the brand ask the target audience to do? Designing the experience is the next step of the process. Tuten (2021) explained “It must not only enable participation and sharing by virtue of its design, but should inspire the audience to participate and share” (p. 166). It must be consistent with the brand’s image and be valuable to the audience, as well. The design of the experience encompasses the type of tactic, the content type, and the content strategy. The type of tactic should align with the relevant zone of marketing; the experience should build relationships in the zone of social community, the experience should be informative in the zone of social publishing, the experience should be entertaining in the zone of social entertainment (duh), and the experience should be related to shopping and buying in the zone of social commerce. Regardless of the type of tactic or zone of social media in which the tactic of deployed, there will be one or more types of content employed. Some content types include live video, prerecorded video, photos, image, articles, quotes, infographics, announcements, news headlines, questions and answers, statements, songs, games, and more. Content strategy is the specific themes and topics for which the content must be identified. The only requirement is that “the themes identified fit with the brand, the target audience, and the tactics being employed” (p. 170).
The next stage of tactical planning is the how: processes must be established for producing the content identified in the content strategy and a schedule to guide the work flow. Each content unit must be created and produced. How you create content that matches your brand’s identified is up to you! I’m a sucker for Canva and Wondershare Filmora X when it comes to creation and editing. When posting, make sure to include a call to action (CTA). A CTA just refers to a direct request in a marketing message for a specific behavior. A content calendar will aid you in being organized and saving time as a social media manager. A content calendar captures which content is scheduled and prioritized for an organization, generally with an annual, quarterly, monthly, and sometimes weekly view. Companies that work with social media managers, such as Sprout Social, Hubspot, and Buffer will use calendars integrated into the system. I prefer Hootsuite, especially because it offers an academy full of informative courses for social media managers to use the system to the best of their abilities (can you tell I’m taking the courses right now?). Depending on your company’s specific goals, workflow, the formats and channels, and the volume of content you will be creating, you may also want to track extra elements to help you stay organized. These elements can be the channels where the content will be published, content formats, visuals, topic categories, keywords and other metadata, URLs, and calls to action.
Tactical planning and strategy has a lot of elements. Fortunately, you might have a social media team rather than handling it all on your own! A clearly defined workflow will help your team communicate more efficiently, and it gives everyone a role. Tuten (2021) defined a social media workflow as “a sequence of connected steps that enables the organization to act efficiently with minimal overlapping tasks and resources to implement the social media marketing plan effectively” (p. 182). Basically, a solid workflow helps you and your entire team understand the big vision behind daily tasks and projects, understand roles within the group, and prioritize time and resources.
Personally, this has been my favorite chapter so far because of how valuable the information inside of it is. It connects everything Tuten has discussed earlier in the textbook. Business owners understand the strategic objectives wanted and the tactics used, but it’s the disconnect in between where social media managers fit in. Social media managers not only know all the pieces of the puzzle, but know how to connect those pieces to complete the picture of a successful campaign.
Tuten, T. L. (2021). Social Media Marketing (4th ed.). London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.