“There’s no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you’re talking about.” – John von Neumann 

When I am coaching clients on blogging and social media strategies, one of the most important themes is discipline.  At the beginning of your plan, you need to formulate a strategy that you have confidence in.  You need to write down the steps you are going to follow to execute your strategy (if you don’t write it down, it won’t happen).  And you need to build in multiple ways to measure success and progress.  (Measuring your success all along the way is crucial, because by measuring your results in the right way you’ll be able to fine tune your plan to achieve better results.

But what about straying from your plan?  As someone who reads Avinash Kaushik regularly, I won’t ever advocate randomly changing your strategy, because that’s a quick way to get lots of information and no insights.  But radically altering something in your plan, like doubling the number of posts you make, or reducing the number of posts by 50%, can teach you things you would never have learned if you had just “stayed the course.”  For example, I have a client who reduced her posts by 50%, then posted a survey, and this allowed her to speak directly to her most loyal, most consistent subscribers.  By reducing her activity, she was able to learn quite a bit about her most loyal subscribers, and this has allowed us to refine her communications strategy in a way that will deliver more value to this core group, and to create more of them in the process.  The von Neumann quote above, courtesy of Ben Horowitz, should never be too far from the mind of anyone who spends time in the social media space.

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  He would love to help you market your business on the Internet, boost the fundraising numbers for your school or nonprofit, or sellout your next big event.  Email him at will@alumnifidelity.com.