Ever since the advent of social media, companies large and small have been buying into the hype that all they need to do in order to drum up more business is tweet several times a day. A solid social media strategy, they’ve been told, is a miracle cure for flagging sales. 

It would be nice if this were true, but like most formulas touted as miracle cures, it’s nothing more than snake oil. And the problem stems from a rudimentary misunderstanding of the difference between a strategy and a tactic.

Strategy and tactics, though often used interchangeably, are two entirely different concepts. A strategy is an overall plan, while a tactic is one of the steps that make up the overall plan. Think of it this way: a strategy is created in the mind (by thinking and planning), while tactics are carried out by the body (by taking action). Strategy and tactics work hand in hand, but they are not interchangeable.

You may be wondering why we’re getting so tied up in semantics. Why is the difference between these two terms so important? Because if your entire marketing strategy is just “social media,” you’re about to step on a land mine. Social media is not a strategy in and of itself; it’s a tactic, a single step that should be part of a larger, more holistic marketing strategy.

Let’s look at it from a military point of view. If your overall mission—your strategy—is to take over the enemy’s position, you can’t do it with just one soldier. You need troops, weapons, tanks, and a solid plan for how to use these resources to carry out your mission.

Companies that bank their entire marketing strategy on a single tactic—social media—usually wind up funneling tons of money and time right down the drain. Social media is an excellent tool for businesses to reach and engage with new audiences, but simply sending Tweets or Facebook posts out into the ether day after day isn’t likely to result in the progress you desire. A good marketing strategy involves every aspect of how you run your business and interact with customers, including customer service, technical support, internet presence, and social media. 

That being said, while social media should be part of a larger marketing strategy, it’s important to have a strategy for your social media as well. A good social media strategy might include posting to Facebook regularly, sharing user-generated content on Instagram, keeping your blog posts updated, and re-Tweeting posts by other leaders in your industry.

Equally important to a solid social media strategy is high-quality content. Posts that are carelessly written, poorly researched, and irrelevant to your target audience will get you nowhere. Many companies overlook the importance of quality when outsourcing their content creation because they’re trying to save money or cut corners. Even excellent tactics won’t work if they’re not part of a great strategy; likewise, a great strategy won’t work if the tactics aren’t appropriate and well-executed.

If working out a plan for marketing your business seems like too much to handle on your own, let the five-star marketing generals at Absolute Holdings Group put together a winning strategy to help you conquer the competition. Whether you’re a sergeant or a foot soldier, we’ll treat you with respect and keep your input in mind while working out a way to help your business succeed.