Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Don't Make "Ready, Fire, Aim!" Your Organization's Facebook Strategy

By Dennis D. McDonald

If you are thinking of setting up a Facebook or MySpace page to promote your business, brand, association, or agency, you should first read Jeremiah Owyang’s Why You Need to have a Strategy before you make a Facebook Fan Page NOW!

In a nutshell, Jeremiah provides some practical tips that boil down to “first figure out why you want to do this before you do it.”

In the little time I’ve been using Facebook I’ve already seen a series of inactive pages emerge. Someone wanted to set up a personal or organizational page, was impressed with how easy it was to create a page, invited some friends in, then realized, “hey, this is a lot of work!” and started casting about among friends to get help. The result: Facebook (and MySpace) are littered with inactive and seldom visited pages originally created by individuals and organizations enthralled by the idea of connecting with a “community.”

This plea for planning is being heard a lot lately. Another example is Maish Nirchani’s Planning & Sustaining Wiki-based Collaboration Projects. Nirchani’s topic is the use of wikis as tools to support collaboration. Nirchani’s framework presents a planning process as a balanced approach that is structured enough to provide guidance but simple enough not to result in “analysis paralysis.”

I’ve published my own approach to social media strategic planning.  It is intended for use in situations where a large organisation is seeking a corporate wide strategy to support a wide range of corporate functions with a variety of social media. The questions that Jeremiah asks in his post are much more targeted and should be much easier to answer.

One of the reasons there seems to be more attention being given to strategy and planning these days may be that technology and technology related costs are no longer  the barriers to organizational change that they once were. People can jump in and get social media projects started without the maddening questions that I.T. departments like to ask such as “Is this secure?” and “Who’s going to support this?”

Given the increasing complexity and sophistication of tools that Facebook is providing that enable targeting and communicating with specific types of individuals, you owe it to yourself to think these things through. Time is money. Maintaining multiple web presences and multiple web based communities takes time, attention — and planning.

  • Click here for a list of Dennis McDonald’s blog posts related to Strategic Planning.
  • For a list of Dennis’ bookmarks for the tag “strategy,” click here.
  • Do you need help thinking through the details of your own social media planning process? Let’s talk. Contact Dennis by email at



More Thoughts on the Social Networking "Make Versus Buy" Decision

Bill Would Force Colleges to be Copyright Cops or Lose Federal Aid

Bill Would Force Colleges to be Copyright Cops or Lose Federal Aid