Over the years, much has been gleaned from the ancient Chinese text The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I was looking to use it to unify the different accounts of war in the 3 novels, but instead found a wealth of information on how his philosophies could be applied to business and marketing. I love when coincidence works in my favor.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
In this particular discussion, the tactic I am referring to is social media. Before you can decide how to use social media, you need to clearly define your business strategy. This means taking a step back and taking a big picture look at your business: where it is and where you want it to go. Do you know how you plan on winning in your respective marketplace? You would not head out on a road trip without a map (at least a google map), so why would you set out on the social media superhighway without a strategy.
There are two fundamental strategies to consider-low cost or differentiation.
A low-cost strategy would involve any tactic used with the focus of both lowering your costs while increasing your customer volume. Social media is a tactic that could certainly fit into this strategy. Your goal here would be to make as many connections with potential customers while spending as little time as possible. Typically a low-cost strategy is focused on reaching customers that are more broad in nature.
A differentiation strategy focuses on meeting the specific needs of a more narrow customer base. With this strategy, you need to really know your potential customers needs and know how you uniquely fill those needs. For this strategy, you would use social media to highlight those qualities that differentiate you from your competitors. Alternative solutions will often bring clientele who are willing to pay a premium for a custom or unique solution to their needs.
Whichever strategy you use for your business, social media can and will play a crucial role; however, the nature of that role must reflect your overall business strategy if it is to work for you.