Why a social media marketing strategy is important for small businesses

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest road to victory, and tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat,” Sun Tzu wrote, a Chinese military strategist and philosopher.

Strategy is simply defined as a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term objective or goal. It was also coined as the art of planning and directing an overall military operation in a battle or war. It is always assumed that all companies or brands, big or small, have long-term goals to succeed in a sustainable way.

So when Tzu wrote in his book The Art of War over 2,500 years ago, long before digital marketing and traditional marketing, he was reminding current and future generations that those who run their businesses with a well-designed marketing strategy will always have a competitive advantage.

Whether we accept it or not, the business environment is a battleground where only the strongest and smartest will survive. Those who run their business with a well-designed marketing strategy will always have a competitive edge.

It’s a well-documented fact that marketing your brand without a strategy is like driving in a foreign country without a map. I likened it to selling electrical gadgets to an informal establishment with no electricity.

Traditional marketing

Before the advent of digital marketing, traditional marketing ruled. Traditional marketing has simply been defined as any type of marketing that is not online, including print, outdoor, direct, and face-to-face marketing. To some extent, even radio and television have gone digital.

For corporate marketing, brand managers have used their advertising, communications and media agencies to help develop and implement marketing campaigns.

Small businesses struggled because they lacked the resources to fully utilize traditional marketing.

digital marketing

Digital marketing uses the Internet and online digital technologies and platforms to promote products and services. The most popular component of digital marketing is social media marketing which uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and many more.

Today, social media marketing campaigns have become mainstream, and many small businesses now have access to this new channel. If one owns a smartphone and has access to the Internet, everyone becomes responsible for marketing or branding their own business. Most, if not all, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs use some form or another of social media to promote their products and services and to reach their customers and potential customers.

The critical questions that need answers

  • Is there a clear and concise marketing strategy behind social media campaigns and posts?
  • Has market research been conducted to understand the market.
  • Is there a clear and concise vision of the business.
  • Are the marketing objectives of social media campaigns clearly defined?
  • Are measurement tools in place to assess whether the objectives have been achieved.
  • Is the content correct and relevant to the target audience.
  • Is it necessary to use social media influencers.

Or are our marketing activists right after “LIKES”?

Regardless of the size of your business, you still need a comprehensive marketing strategy to gain competitive advantage. There are marketing strategists or consultants who can help small businesses develop marketing strategy and planning.

Pierce Brown, the New York Times #1 best-selling author of the Red Rising saga, said, “Tactics win battles and strategy wins wars.” Strategy should always precede tactics and both should work hand in hand and any marketing action without strategy will surely yield unsuccessful results.

Lebona Moleli is the founder of The Marketing Kraal, an outdoor media company, and Lesaka Marketing, a Johannesburg-based marketing consultancy.



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William L. Hart