I think we're all getting fed up with the people who are saying that social media is easy, that all you need is their ebook, their method, their exclusive software, to add your email address to their database and receive their newsletter every other day to get ahead using the secret system that the rest of us social media experts haven't 'discovered' yet. A successful social media campaign simply put, is not that simple. There is no secret formula or magic switch to pull that makes you successful and if you think there is, then 'you know nothing, Jon Snow'.
So whether you're planning on conquering Westeros, playing a game of chess or sitting down to work out what you're doing on social media, there's a few things you need to consider. The first important thing to remember is that just knowing the rules of engagement is not enough to secure a positive outcome. Just as it is not enough to know where each piece moves on a chessboard, it is not enough to just know about each social media platform out there. Like a game, a social media campaign has rules that you should follow, a set order in which things really should be done. Every game is different, and so should be every single social media campaign you embark upon. What worked for one client may not work for another. Whilst one group of wildlings may have been enchanted by your social media efforts, another may be confused. Social media does not and will never work on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ level.
A social media campaign should always start with a strategy. In the same way that a good general will investigate his opponent, their strengths and weaknesses or their preferred method of attack, a good social media planner will start a campaign by fully investigating the forces at his disposal, or more accurately, the placement of the brand they plan on promoting. Like understanding brand values, who the core audience is and which field of battle to engage them upon. After all, you never meet the Dothraki on an open field, as the Lannisters learned at great cost.
Just like the Game of Thrones, there are some things that cannot be risked when it comes to social media. You should leave your king exposed during battle and so you should always protect the core brand message of the client. It might even mean that some of your creative ideas aren’t suitable. For any client, their brand message is king or key to their business and if it's damaged or lost, you are too. Ensure you know what must be protected, what cannot be risked and who you should bend the knee to, before any campaign begins.
Social media is a game like any other, I cannot stress that enough. You need an understanding not only of the rules of the game, but you also need to be able to strategise, to look at a half-played game and see what the viable moves are. You have to be able to plan for how your audience reacts and to be agile enough to adjust your battle plan for anything they might throw at you. It has stakes like poker, it has it's snakes and ladders and it has all the intrigue and deception of Game of Thrones. But like any game, it also has to be enjoyed and if you find yourself getting overly stressed, it's worth taking a step back and re-assessing what it is that you're trying to achieve.
So whether you want to be the King in the North, rule the seven kingdoms or reclaim the top spot for your brand online, you need a strategy. Something the Lannisters, Starks and the Mother of Dragons would be worthy of. But if you really want to win the game of tones in social media chess, you probably need to think a lot more like George R R Martin and keep everyone, including his cast, guessing.