KonMari Your Social Strategy and Say Goodbye to Everything That Doesn’t Spark ROI Joy

Remember to thank all discarded tactics that no longer serve you

A orange cube is in the middle of the screen; the cube has different purple shapes sticking out of it; a group of people work to fit the last shape into the cube
It's time to analyze which aspects of your social strategy are actually helping progress your brand's message. Getty Images

Marie Kondo introduced a revolutionary book in 2012, which led to the binge-worthy series now on Netflix dedicated to decluttering your life. Given that there are roughly 300,000 items in the average American household, this lesson couldn’t feel more relevant.

The best thing about Marie Kondo’s methods is that they can be applied to more than followers and feeds—they can actually be used to improve your overall social strategy. In true Kondo fashion, let’s break down the steps to decluttering your plan and bringing you (and your clients) joy.

Visualize your roadmap

To start, Marie Kondo recommends visualizing your end goal and the emotional reward you’ll feel by achieving it.

This is key to a thoughtful social strategy as well. Start with your desired end result. Are you excited about it, or do you feel like you’re settling? If your strategy isn’t sparking joy for you, it probably won’t for the consumer. Once you have a visualized finish line, you can work your way back to identify the paid, earned and owned tactics and learning agenda needed to get there. For example, the tactics to drive sales versus favorability are different. Isolating one or two key objectives adds a layer of clarity to guide a more focused social strategy.

When you have the pieces in place for a clean, simplified social strategy, it should be easy to make decisions moving forward.

Assess what you already have

For Marie Kondo, this means dumping your possessions into a huge pile to truly understand the volume. For marketers, it means auditing past campaigns.

Brands are often in such a rush to get the next thing in the market that they don’t take time to implement learnings or assess what did and didn’t work. Before diving into a new campaign, take a step back and simplify. For example, set up a schedule with learning checkpoints along the way while your current campaign is live. If you wait until your campaign is over, you either end up having to go dark until you can analyze your results or have to go live without proper learnings.

It’s also important to determine whether everything you’re planning can map back to your objective and learning agenda. Ask yourself if you’ve checked all the boxes: Are your campaigns set up to ensure statistical significance? Are your tests configured with the proper variables, controls, spend and audiences? Does your measurement framework ensure that learnings are measurable? Are the questions asked able to be answered despite any platform or measurement tool restrictions?

Respect your content

If you’re creating work that you’re proud of, give it time to shine. Crowding your media buys with too much content will reduce spend against each piece. Instead, look at your expected frequency in relation to budget, audience size and campaign length. Unless you expect a higher frequency based on these factors, you don’t need more than a few pieces of content in market at any given time. Refresh content only if performance or relevancy warrants the change. Typically platforms recommend four to six pieces of content in rotation in order to optimize and not spread budget too thin or limit learnings between pieces. This can vary pending any dynamic creative testing taking place, but is a good range to use as guidance.

It’s also wise to reconsider your organic approach. Do you really need to be always on? If you’re posting content organically, make sure it has a purpose and is served to the right places (e.g., Instagram Stories with its 6 percent average organic reach). Organic reach varies brand to brand, but it’s going to be significantly lower than anything you have paid around, so make sure to make your paid media work for you and prioritize production spend there.

Discard what doesn’t bring you joy

Replace the notion of joy with ROI, which is really the client’s source of joy.

It’s often tempting to jump on innovative units and rationalize their value. But unless that unit actually moves the needle for you, you should consider it clutter in your strategy and remove it.

Map out expected production and media spend on your desired initiative or unit, and based on expected cost per result, determine if it makes sense strategically. Vendors and representatives are always trying to sell the big, expensive, flashy idea, but it’s important to think about whether the idea is reaching your desired audience, driving your desired result and driving your desired cost per result, especially if you’re working within a limited production or media budget where a lot of times these ideas will eat up your entire quarter’s (or even year’s) spend in one fell swoop. If it’s getting the results you want, maybe that can work, but it’s important to look at the tradeoff of a big bang versus consistent presence in market.

Organize by category

Marie Kondo recommends tidying by category to ensure you relinquish things instead of simply shifting them elsewhere. The same thinking applies to your social strategy. By focusing on one facet at a time, you can eliminate what doesn’t work before you try to put creative, budgets, objectives, etc. together.

In terms of creative, are you prioritizing flashy ad units over effective ones? Is that actually in line with your goal? Look at your creative to see how much you really need and what could be duo-purpose.

When it comes to budgets, are you spreading your budget too thin between initiatives by putting too many campaigns in market at once? Are you maximizing your production dollars and thinking outside the box for how to stretch production dollars?

Then comes objectives. Do your campaign objectives map back to measurable business goals and your overall strategic objective? Are you following best practices for campaign/ad set/creative optimizations to maximize scale and efficiency?

Assemble a KonMari-style task team to work together on each component instead of siloing creative and media plans that may not end up melding. Cross-team collaboration minimizes miscommunication, allowing you to avoid situations such as a creative idea not matching the buying objective and vice versa.

Once you’ve found an approach that works, trust it. When you have the pieces in place for a clean, simplified social strategy, it should be easy to make decisions moving forward because they can all seamlessly map back to your objective.

And don’t forget to say thank you to every ad, tactic and target audience you cut.

Jess Spar is the resident leader of paid social, partnering with Deutsch’s strategy and comms teams to integrate social into all of their clients’ campaigns and ideas.
Juliette Leavey is an associate director of digital strategy at Deutsch.