What constitutes a Social Media ‘Strategy’?

I was looking at some Direct Marketing Initiatives from local agencies the other day along with a group of industry colleagues – agencies, clients and freelance consultants (I put myself in that last category for now).  

We were judging the various entries for the dm360awards.  I'm not going to talk about specific individual views expressed there or, indeed, any of the entries but an interesting discussion did develop which, I think, raises some points worth consideration. 

It was argued by some that there is no real such thing as a 'strategy' when it comes to social media and those same people suggested that it was the content itself that would determine its journey (and presumably success and ultimate exposure) through all the various channels.  They argued that this was akin to a good joke say twenty years ago – if that joke was good it would get spread because people like to share a good joke with each other.

So, does the content itself be it humorous, controversial or whatever drive it's uptake on blogs, Facebook and YouTube etc or is there a method that can be adopted that would ensure (or certainly encourage) uptake in the desired channels? 

I think there can be no argument that content can be its own driver.  Nothing becomes 'huge' on the internet without some inherent value or quality.  The more pertinent point or question is;  can something become huge without some kind of strategy?  

Let's consider shitmydadsays – a soon to be 'Twillionaire' (as Stephen Fry calls people with 1 Million twitter Twitter followers) and recent subject of a new TV show.  Did Justin (the guy who Tweets his Dad's ramblings) achieve this number of followers and general social media hype simply because of the content of the Tweets?  Or, was there some clever strategy along the way?  Some twitter or blog 'seeding' perhaps?  I don't know and would welcome comments from people who could shed some light on this.

What I do know is that if we wish to engage with social media with some strictly average content, then some tactics can play a large role in its ultimate penetration.  Some cleverly picked friendly bloggers or some heavy influencers in the Twitter or Facebook space can certainly give some content some eyeballs it mightn't otherwise warrant if judged simply from the quality perspective position.  

I'm normally quite a 'purist' when it comes to social media and twitter – even a romantic - so the idea of strategy (dare I say 'manipulation'?) behind a social media story irks me slightly and doesn't sit comfortably with me.  However, to suggest that some content or an initiative's success lies only in the qualities of the content and that that's the end of the strategy, is clearly wrong.  

In the spirit of this post could you all please post this everywhere, tweet it, Facebook it and generally do whatever you can?  Because I think the content is pretty average…..

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