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Mapping Your Digital Strategy: A Bufferchat Recap

Jun 23, 2016 6 min readBufferchat

This week, Nick Westergaard stopped by #bufferchat to share his insights about mapping a digital strategy! We talked about exercises for deciding your main marketing objective, tools for mapping out your strategy, ways to decide which marketing practices to implement into your strategy, and so much more.

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone in other timezones that like this time the best!): 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (California time)

*p.s. we’d love to learn more about you, our community! Would you be up for filling out this quick 1-2 minute survey? It will help us make sure we’re focusing on the right topics in #bufferchat and in our community projects. ? Thank you!

Bufferchat: Mapping Your Digital Strategy (June 22, 2016)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 111 participants; 472 tweets; reach of 865,077
2nd Bufferchat: 328 participants; 2,178 tweets; reach of 2,381,901

Q1: What might be the 1st step in creating a smart & scrappy digital strategy?

From Nick:

  • The first step in creating a scrappy brand is strategy first. Always. WHY are you doing this?
  • Another great scrappy branding tactic comes from @dorieclark. Ask where are you now & where you want to be?
  • I really think your first step has to be #branding. Do you know WHO the brand is behind the marketing megaphone?

From the community:

  • “Research! Who is the target audience? How do they interact with digital media? Find out first.” @kbouffd
  • “Define your objectives, set and measure your KPIs to know the figures you want to achieve with your strategy.” @AviNair52
  • “1st step in building a digital strategy is understanding your audience. Do stakeholder interviews & get social insights.” @djksar
  • “Research and finding/setting goals with client and/or campaign. Can’t track ROI if you don’t know what goals are.” @anvilmedia
  • “Be SMART with goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-oriented!” @conradc

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: What exercises can you do to determine your main marketing objective?

From Nick:

  • To determine your marketing objective start with WHY. Why are you doing this? Usually this boils down to 1 of 6 things.
  • Common marketing objectives: branding, community building, customer service, marketing research, PR, leads/sales (PICK ONE).
  • You can use those SAME WHY objectives to MEASURE your success too.

From the community:

  • “User research and contextual interviews are not just for UX research, great for understanding what’s working + what’s not!” @KatLoughrey
  • “Ask why, then ask again. Keep on until you reach your core goal. Pressure test it with alignment across the org.” @J_Rouser
  • “Involve EVERYONE on the marketing team. They all deal with something different, so it’s important to get everyone’s input.” @winniegiang
  • “Start thinking about business goals. Do you want to grow revenue? Promote brand awareness? How can your marketing do that?” @BasicBon
  • “identify the brand issue & transform it into Q. E.g.: Users aren’t signing up Q/Obj: How to make more ppl sign up?” @HinoIII

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What are tools or techniques you can use to map out your digital strategy?

From Nick:

  • Mapping out your strategy. Doesn’t have to be complex. I’m a fan of answering the Kipling questions: why, what, when…
  • My personal favorite planning tool? Evernote. I use it for EVERYTHING.

From the community:

  • @trello has been great for managing ideas/projects from conception through completion.” @Stultzmatt
  • “Nothing beats a good old fashioned whiteboard for me!” @SearcySledge
  • “SWOT Analysis – leveraging internal strengths and weaknesses against external threats and opportunities in the industry.” @Lashbrook_pr
  • “I heavily rely on Buffer and Asana to plan w/our team. Our strategy revolves around a rolling 6 week editorial calendar.” @lucastpate
  • @Postit notes! Color-code the strategy & lay it all out. Easy to see/understand the flow. Dry erase boards are great too!” @graphic_cash

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: How do you decide which digital marketing practices to implement in your strategy?

From Nick:

  • I sound like a broken record but what works best is based on answering WHY you’re doing this & WHO you’re trying tor each.
  • As a marketer, you’ll get overwhelmed easily trying to create every form of content on every network.
  • Part of the #GetScrappy mindset is knowing what to do and what NOT to do.

From the community:

  • “You’ll never know for certain if anything you pick will work. Take risks, experiment a lot, learn. Fail fast, fail forward.” @athuface
  • “Remember, don’t try to do everything on every channel, if there’s not a clear objective don’t use every channel! Be Smart!” @anthonydlarsen
  • “I believe in having an integrated strategy dictated by who your customer is & where they are engaging with content.” @JasonZotara
  • “A combination of testing, iterating fast, keep costs down & ROI up. Most importantly, keeping focus.” @adrianspeyer
  • “Who is your audience? Where are they? What type of content provides value to them? What is your end goal? Go from there.” @aiaddysonzhang

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: How can you efficiently “do more with less” with your content?

From Nick:

  • One of the biggest ways to do more with less is to embrace the power of questions. They spark conversations & fuel content.
  • Another way to do more is embrace your people power. Quit being afraid of employees & social. Make them part of your marketing.
  • Another more/less strategy – connect your digital dots. Email + social. Social + content. POEM, etc.
  • It is easy to get siloed in digital. This group is email, this group is web, etc. It all works better together.
  • MOAR content marketing hacks: REPURPOSE everything. Hack your blog post into social images. Combine your posts into an ebook.
  • MOAR content hacks: utilize historical content. Old pics, ads, etc? #TBT for the next year! Or a Pinterest board.

From the community:

  • “You’d be surprised how many different ways a piece of content can be made into “snackable” posts.”  @cindymedran0
  • “Focus more on marketing content, less on creating it. Chances are your audience missed it the first time around.” @mnrebs
  • “Treat content like Thanksgiving leftovers. How can we dress these up so they don’t feel like the same old meal?” @BrittanySocial
  • “Think outside the blog post – get creative turn content into visual content – images, infographics, videos, podcasts.” @M2Franz
  • “Repurpose! With one idea you can get a blog post, social memes, a few videos, a podcast, and more!” @optimizemybrand

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: Whose digital strategy really inspires you, and why?

From Nick:

  • Here’s someone’s digital strategy that inspires me. @DanielPink. LOVE his books & his new, short Pinkcast videos.
  • Here’s a link to the @DanielPink Pinkcast videos –
  • Here’s a random brand with a great digital strategy — the TV series VEEP on @HBO.

From the community:

  • “Strategies that build in a personal touch. Digital world needs people and life added!” @lizeischen
  • “The ones that aren’t really selling anything seem to sell the best. They feel good & people gravitate to that and you.” @jchapstk
  • @Snapchat has done an amazing digital strategy to make money! Snapchat Discover, sponsored geofilters, Stories ads.” @CountrHQ
  • “Gotta go with @REI on the B2C side. They’ve really grasped UGC and visual storytelling across the board.” @globalHMA
  • “The folks @GoPro consistently showcase amazing work from users. It drives lifestyle *and* product jealousy!” @joeallam

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What’s the most frequently overlooked element of a marketing map/plan?

From Nick:

  • The most frequently overlooked part of a marketing plan? EMAIL. It’s the digital glue that holds online/offline together.
  • Whatever you’re talking about look for a way to connect it to email.
  • People love writing “email is dead” stories but it still takes an email account to join most social networks.

From the community:

  • “Really honing in on the needs/wants of consumers. Human psycology- so critial in marketing.” @_nicolemich
  • “I would also say continually going back and measuring success. Constantly motoring your page/posts.”  @JSimmsSocial
  • “Accessibility. We assume everyone has access to certain technologies/resources. Many times overlook that aspect.” @graphic_cash
  • “Most overlooked thing is reflection. Did the plan work? Not just recapping after but with hard numbers for every component.” @timothymehlhorn
  • “In B2B, failing to explore how teams buy together. A decision is not made in a vacuum.” @J_Rouser

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Nick for sharing all of his awesome insights, and to everyone who participated in this chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST, 5 pm BST (GMT+1)  **OR** at 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10). Join our Slack community with over 2,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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