Social media strategy in a nutshell: Mission! Tool! Metrics! Teach!

For a few months now, I’ve been repeating this mantra about how to approach social media projects: mission, tool, metrics, teach.  It was even one of the options for the day 1 camp song at Gov’t 2.0 Camp.

It came to me while walking home from the Metro one day. I was trying to come up with something punchy because people were regularly asking for help creating social media strategy for their agencies. I particularly wanted something that would be easy to remember and help me emphasize, esp. to managers, that it’s not about being cool: it’s about meeting the agency’s mission.

Tonight, I realized I’d never blogged about it. So heeeeeeere we gooooooo …


Everything we do in a gov’t agency needs to be about mission.  Sometimes the connection is a little looser than at other times, but it’s still there.  For example, I was talking to some folks at another agency, and they wanted to know why they should use social media.  I asked whether there was anything in their mission that would be easier to accomplish if the public knew some stuff.  I honestly didn’t know that such info existed;  I’ve never thought social media was appropriate for every agency.  But they immediately identified something relevant.  Sometimes, it just takes stepping back and thinking.

For example, at EPA, our mission is to protect human health and the environment.  It’s not “write and enforce regulations” or “conduct research.” Rather, those are efforts we undertake in order to protect human health and the environment.  And in both cases, working with the public through social media can improve how we do them.  The public can help us both write better regulations and tip us off about people breaking the law.  And they can help us set research agendas and tell us which fields of study matter most.  And another way we can accomplish our mission is to educate and inspire people so they directly protect the environment without us being involved.


Once we’ve identified the mission, we’re ready to identify some tools to help us get there.  Not all of them are social media, not by a long shot.  For example, email is still an important tool.  When we launched Pick 5 for the Environment, we sent an email to everyone on any of our news release and blog subscription lists, which was 98,000 people.  No other online tool available to us at that point could’ve put our invitation in front of so many people.  The point isn’t to use social media, but to find the right mix of tools to meet your mission (see below for my presentation on that point).

That said, of course, blogs, wikis, podcasts, and their ilk do offer exciting, new ways to engage the public.  But they always need to tie back to accomplishing the mission.

I will allow one loose connection: learning about the tools themselves.  I think it’s ok to try some things out that might not be quite so directly tied to mission as other options, as long as your long-term goal is to learn about the tools themselves and then use them more directly for the mission.


Once you’ve chosen a tool, how do you know whether it’s the right tool?  How do you know whether you should keep going?  How do you figure out what to do next?  Yep, you have to measure what you’re up to.  This is the area I’ll admit I’m the weakest on.  I have some ideas about how to measure our social media efforts, but I’m not happy yet with either the metrics we calculate or the strength of my convictions about the results.  For example, we sent that Pick 5 invite out to 98,000 people and about 1200 signed up on day 1.  Was that a lot?  Not many?  What could we have done differently?  I’m still not sure.


How does teaching serve your mission?  Well, maybe it doesn’t, at least not directly.  I guess you do serve your mission indirectly, because if no one ever makes the behind-the-scenes stuff easier to find, then everyone has a harder time learning.

But this is more my attempt to inspire people to give back to the community.  If you’ve learned anything from me, please teach others.  If you’ve ever sat in a seminar or webinar and left knowing more than you knew going in, pay it forward by sharing with others.  Basically, we’re all learning how all this stuff works, and it’s still new enough that there are vast areas left to explore.  At a minimum, write up your lessons learned and share them in the Social Media Subcouncil’s wiki.  But I’d encourage you to do more, by speaking at conferences and hosting your own webinars, writing blogs, or just talking to other folks at lunch.

No matter who you are, you have something to teach others. Remember: an expert is just someone who knows one thing more than you do about a subject.

In that vein, here’s the presentation I give about how we mix Web 1.0 and 2.0 tools together for Earth Month:


18 Responses to “Social media strategy in a nutshell: Mission! Tool! Metrics! Teach!”

  1. 1 Cath Styles July 8, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for this! I will share it.

  2. 2 sea horizon location August 9, 2013 at 3:55 am

    This page definitely has all the information and facts
    I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  3. 3 powerpoint free download August 30, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Great post. I am going through a few of these issues as

  4. 4 Www.Notebookspot.Com September 17, 2013 at 5:54 am

    I enjoy the valuable facts people give to your articles. I am going to book mark your web site and look all over again right here on a regular basis. I am comparatively positive I’m going to be educated lots of new stuff listed here! Best of luck for the following!

  5. 5 Gold Coast Boat Rental December 9, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article
    and also the rest of the site is also very good.

  6. 6 MONEx December 23, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  7. 7 Ardipol Wentylacja January 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues?

    A couple of my blog audience have complained about my website
    not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in
    Safari. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this issue?

  8. 8 cosmetic dental auckland May 16, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Never imply that the dentist appointment is anything to
    be concerned or worried about. The dentists in Tampa FL are experts in their own right.
    Using this experience along with the input
    of several prominent dentists in the United States,
    they use a selection process that picks superior dentist.

  9. 9 celebrity skin August 25, 2014 at 4:25 am

    My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and
    thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following
    you. Look forward to going over your web page repeatedly.

  10. 10 gulet charter turkey October 16, 2014 at 3:46 am

    Excellent points totally, you . gulet charter turkeyonly picked up your logo new viewer. What can you advocate regarding this page that you simply built at times in past times? Virtually any selected?

  11. 11 travel green canyon July 20, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Excellent, what a weblog it is! This blog presents valuable
    information to us, keep it up.

  12. 12 Manjakani Kanza October 15, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Good day very nice site!! Man .. Excellent ..

    Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also?
    I am happy to seek out numerous useful information right here in the put up, we’d like work out extra strategies
    in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  1. 1 Government 2.0 Beta Trackback on July 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm
  2. 2 The Ultimate Social Media Policy for Government Agencies « Government 2.0 Beta Trackback on July 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm
  3. 3 Gov 2.0: Mission, Tools, Metrics, Teach (The Four Laws of Levy) « Uniting Progressives on the Social Web Trackback on November 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm
  4. 4 Gov 2.0: Mission, Tools, Metrics, Teach (The Four Laws of Levy) « Wired to Share Trackback on November 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm
  5. 5 Gov 2.0: Gov 2.0 Hero: Wayne Moses Burke Trackback on June 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm
  6. 6 ‘MTMT’: Templating Social Media Strategy, Jeffrey Levy Style « Adriel Hampton: Wired to Share Trackback on March 30, 2011 at 1:05 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

I’m on Twitter @levyj413


%d bloggers like this: