Getting Started, listening, metrics, social media strategy

Is Your Social Media Strategy Missing Steps?

11 Comments 08 June 2010

image courtesy of Ric e Ette

A wise person once told me that when I’m frustrated with someone or something, it’s most likely because there are missing steps. In social media, missing steps lead to frustration with using social media and sometimes complete disbelief in its use or good for the organization. More often than not, if the strategy isn’t working, there are missing steps. Most commonly, missing steps occur because of the organization’s rush to become involved in social media without thinking about the strategic goals, failing to research and identify online stakeholders, poor selection of appropriate social media channels to use, and developing tactics without considering how they will move the strategy forward. The biggest missing step is lack of a social media strategy.

When an organization is rushed to develop its strategy, the missing steps become apparent when questions like these arise:

  • How can we get donations out of this group of fans and followers online?
  • If we have 4,000 followers, how come no one is signing up for our (fill in the blank)?
  • How do we get more people talking about us online?
  • Why isn’t anyone talking to us in our online spaces?

Below are four slides that I created which represent stepping stones to developing a social media strategy. The entire slide show can be found on slideshare (or click the icon to the left of the link).

The first image, the Social Media Funnel, represents the fundamental belief that stakeholders must be really engaged (by your organization) in online spaces in order to take the next active role for your organization.

When you are creating your social media strategy, it’s 75% preparation.

The flip side of creating social media content and engagement is listening for opportunities. Listening is part of the preliminary research needed to create a social media strategy, but it is also an ongoing process essential to tweaking the strategy, finding opportunities and stakeholders, proactive reputation management, and engaging stakeholders. If you want to create a listening dashboard, read how the National Wildlife Federation creates and monitors its amazing (free) listening system here.

Your URL isn’t just your website anymore, but everywhere you are on the web. A social media strategy should tie official social media profiles to the organization’s website to create a goal-oriented comprehensive web presence.

I would love to improve upon the steps in the images above, with your bright ideas.

I’m also curious to know: has your organization experienced any missing steps? How does this affect your social media implementation? Are you trying to fill in the missing steps, or move forward in a different way?

(And, if you liked this post, you might want to read its related post, The Cornerstone of Social Media Is Clarity.)

  • Debra – Can I get a copy of the slides you mention here? I'm doing a session this week about blogging, and they'd be very useful. 🙂


  • Debra – Can I get a copy of the slides you mention here? I'm doing a session this week about blogging, and they'd be very useful. 🙂


  • @John – Absolutely! They are intended to be shared. Just like hugs and good food. 🙂


  • jessicakirkwood


    Thanks for the thoughtfulness and insight you bring to this space. Your posts are always so helpful and serve as great reference points for our community!


    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Love warm fuzzies. Will take them anytime 🙂 Thanks so much.


  • prosperitygal

    Debra I am giving presentation to business owners this month and would love to share your slides there-they are so interested and nervous at the same time. The colors were fantastic too.


    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Hi Michelle – I’ve also uploaded them to slideshare now, and edited the presentation to include link. Feel free to use them, within the Creative Commons license. That’s what this blog is all about – sharing, exchanging ideas, spreading ideas around.


  • It's amazing how those cool graphics that you provided helped me understand the hundreds of explanations I've heard on this subject! I guess I'm a visual person who needs stuff simplified every now and then, and I think it'll help the social media strategy session I intend to have with my teammates. Thanks!


    Debra Askanase Reply:

    That’s awesome – so glad to have helped. Really – do check back and let me know how it helped you in the planning process. Would love a real example – as we spoke about – of creating your strategy through these types of steps.


  • I am a visual learner and new social media intern for World Vision, so this is very helpful for me to develop my strategy with!


    Debra Askanase Reply:

    So glad this is helpful, Annie!



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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