When someone asks me, what is it exactly that I do for living, I tend to answer that I’m working with social media strategy. “Ah I see, you update Facebook”, tends to be the common reaction. And I don’t blame them, for a topic so intertwined with our everyday life such as social media, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture behind it all. I’ve read quite a bit about social media strategy, and most of those definitions seem to be bursting with marketing jargon and whatever buzzwords were trendy at the given time, so that’s why I was quite pleased when I came across the following piece of text.

The quote originates from the book ‘On War’, written by Carl von Clausewitz in early 1800s. Although as the book’s name suggests, the piece has nothing to do with marketing, but the beauty of von Clausewitz’s material lies in its evergreenness and easiness to adapt to other topics as well.

Bolded words are edited by me, to better serve the purpose of defining social media strategist:

Strategy is the use of the social media for the purpose of communication. The strategist must therefore define an aim for the entire operational side of the communication that will be in accordance with its purpose. In other words, he will draft the goals for the year, and the aim will determine the series of actions intended to achieve them: he will, in fact, shape the individual campaigns and, within these, decide on the individual social medias. Since most of these matters have to be based on assumptions that may not prove correct, while other, more detailed orders cannot be determined in advance at all, it follows that the strategist must delve into the social media interactions himself. Detailed orders can then be given on the spot, allowing the general plan to be adjusted to the modifications that are continuously required. The strategist, in short, must maintain control throughout.

Add in the iterative learning process and continuous adoption of emerging social media technologies, and voilà – you have the work of social media strategist explained.


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