Start with WHY, then move to WHAT and HOW

This afternoon I had the opportunity to speak to 200 social media enthusiasts who were concluding an all-day conference on the role of social media during times of disaster.

I talked briefly about a future that will be driven more by strategy and less by the actual tools and technology. We must begin with why, not what or how.

Sometimes we find ourselves focusing on gadgets, widgets, tools and technology. Too many of us know how to tweet without knowing why we tweet. Too many of our agencies or organizations create Facebook pages without having a clearly defined purpose. Too often we assume that because we can, we must.

My desire for each of us is that we become more active in social media, but only in a purposeful way. We must avoid the temptation to join the parade just because everyone else is doing it. My hope is that we begin with strategy and then move to tactics, that we ask before we act, and that we think before we do.

May our mantra be:  Strategy first. Tactics second. Results always.

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3 Responses to Start with WHY, then move to WHAT and HOW

  1. Natasha says:

    Great post, Duane. It’s always good to have a reminder that strategy rules.

    I’ve found the best way to focus on the “why” of a particular communication tool is by asking, “What’s the purpose of this?” If this question is followed by silence, then that’s usually a good indicator that strategy is lacking. If not, that question almost always helps tighten and refine the strategy. I feel that fruitless efforts and half-concocted strategies knowingly implemented by nonprofits are forms of irresponsible stewardship.

    That said, challenging others to explore the reasoning behind certain ideas is not always the most popular position to be in.

  2. Duane Hallock says:

    Natasha, you and I think alike on this topic. Thank you for moving the conversation forward by adding additional thoughts here. I especially like the idea about how a lack of strategy is actually a form of irresponsible stewardship. I’d never thought of it quite that way, but you are absolutely right. Again, thanks.

  3. Duane, I like the perspective and strategy you expressed. Considering the why before just acting will be worth it because your organization’s use of social media will be much more effective if you have a plan going in. Your post is throught-provoking for my own use of social media in my job search. Thanks for sharing!

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