Social Media Plans Are Useless

by Jay Deragon on 06/21/2011

Most corporation are obsessed with having a plan. The plan is supposed to explain strategies, initiatives and actions that produce a desired result.

Much of the plan is tied to financial forecast which is used to communicate “planned results” with investors, markets, employees and suppliers.

The “planing process” usually includes an assessment of all the related factors that influence the business. Once completed metrics are usually established to measure whether the collective actions of the organization are in fact creating the desired results predicted in the “plan. Many leaders cannot operate without a plan. Planning becomes the “holy grail” for many and the effectiveness of the plan is measured by the results produced. If the results change then usually organizations change their plan. Sound familiar?

Can You Plan For Chaotic Change?

Historically change was incremental rather than real-time. Since it was incremental change was predictable and thus it was anticipated in the planning process. However, disruptive and chaotic change is not predictable thus trying to plan for it specifically is a waste of time and productivity. During chaotic and disruptive change all you can plan for is more change.

If you haven’t noticed today’s economic, business, technological, political and global environments are all in a state of disruptive change. No matter how hard the media tries to say “things are stabilizing” they are only saying so hoping to speak stability into existence. Analyst and politicians are changing their stories, their spin and their ultimate justifications constantly because everything seems unpredictable. Yet consumers, business markets and governments seem to ignore the constant state of flux we’re in and instead of simply accepting it they make yet another plan, another prediction and spin out the latest and greatest insights, their new plan. Here is a clue, the change behind all the change reflects a new philosophy which is grounded in different beliefs. Understand the beliefs of a market and you understand the changes required to adapt.

No Plan Then What?

Suppliers can’t produce without a plan. Businesses can’t fulfill sales without suppliers. Market demands can’t be satisfied without supply. Supply and demand are fueled by communications. So what should a business, an individual plan on?

It isn’t about not planning rather it is about planning for the right things at the right time. Instead of thinking about what you’ve been doing your plan must be grounded in a philosophy that matches the behavior of the market in real-time. Throw out the high gloss thick plans and tell people to think and create one page short term plans that reflect what the market of people believe in. Sound impossible?

It isn’t when you consider that the basis of all plans are fueled by beliefs. Beliefs are reflected by communications, data and collaboration. collected, created, analyzed and driven by human beings, one to one to your entire audience. Planning is now a real time function rather than a future or past function. To do anything less is a waste of time and productivity. Wasted time and productivity is a pathway to failure, both short and long term. Why? Because people believe that media that steals their time, productivity and attention is a waste.

What are you planning for NOW?

{ 1 comment }

Brian Driggs June 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

“Throw out the high gloss thick plans and tell people to think and create one page short term plans that reflect what the market of people believe in.”


“Business needs” should reflect the needs of the people within the organization in direct contact with the customer base. The more the business knows about the people it exists to serve (front line staff and customers), the more value it can provide, making it more attractive to both customers and staff.

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