Apurva Harwani
5 min readMay 21, 2022


5 ideas you should unfollow as a social media strategiest

We’ve all been told that learning is key to being successful. Over the course of our careers we work doubly hard to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible. Until one day the truth bomb is dropped on us: unlearning is just as imperative! And bam, suddenly we must uproot everything we’ve known and learnt. Fun, right?

Of course, being the person on the team who designs social media strategies doesn’t help. Because that means learning and unlearning at the speed at which you scroll on Instagram. Not fun.

So why is unlearning important? Technology, trends, context, pop culture change too fast, too often. The wheel is constantly turning. Marketing lessons you learnt at universities need newer perspective, technology, means and platforms. So, in the quest to draw up a kick-ass strategy, the archaic ways of marketing must be dropped like the guy who left you on read should be dropped. (Happens to the best of people)

As someone who has closely worked on social media strategies for a few years, here are a few things that I’ve unlearnt along the way.

  1. You need to be present on all social media channels

FOMO is real for both — social media user and marketer. If you’re not on all platforms, you’re losing the race. If you skip the newly launched social networks, are you even nailing your social strat? There was a time when we embraced ‘your consumers need to see you on ALL platforms’ as the holy truth of social media. The game truly changes when your resonance with the product you’re marketing increases and when you understand business objectives and the end consumer better. So if you’re a B2B or a B2C business, the first step is to identify the platform where your most relevant audience is and nail that platform thoroughly.

2. Same content, different platforms

But, if you’re someone who thinks that you must be on all platforms (or you’re someone with a boss like that), then consider re-jigging your content strategy. This will garner relevant followers on each platform, quality engagements and better brand building.

One size doesn’t fit all — as relevant as this is as life advice, it holds too true for your social strategy too. That meme that got over a 100 shares on IG does nothing for your Linkedin page and that infographic on how many of your employees want to ditch the hybrid model (uh, please) will add very little value for your Instagram peeps.

Content strategy should compliment the platform — more relevant, pop culture led, video first engaging pieces for Instagram, more PR, corporate and employer branding led pieces for Linkedin and more fire-fighting capacity to deal with the hate you get on Twitter.

3. Ditching data

I learnt this the hardest way possible. Being in digital agencies forced me to learn this, nothing else. So much re-caliberation happens when you look at your strategy from the lens of data. The more time you spend on your page’s data and analytics tab, the better tuned your approach will be towards your strategy. Who did your content most engage with, the demographics of your page, the domino effect of it on your followership, the share of voice and the negative/positive sentiment it garnered is all hidden in that tab most of us keep for a day that almost never comes. You can’t measure the efficiency of that outdoor ad but you can measure the efficiency of each and every content piece you put out. (Feeling all the bittersweet feels of this)

Bottom line — measure that campaign, check that post data, get excited and disappointed by trend lines, that’s where the real fun is! Metrics just like vibes, don’t lie.

4. So long, vanity metrics

I really understood theimportance of this after working on high budget, high - decibel campaigns that compel you to go down the rabbit hole of data to draw conclusion of its impact.

So let’s dial back to how it started

‘follower campaigns’ — they were an it thing in the larger social strategy (Early in my career, I’ve personally put this in my pitch decks and emphasised on how we must absolutely do this!)

Cut to, brands started pumping in more money to create dynamic content and the north-star metric changed to impression and views. We were happy. Brands, agencies, finance head, everyone was happy. Then someone asked the dreaded question — ‘did your TG view it?’ followed by ‘Where are these views coming from?’ (*insert awkward silence*)

And that day we graudated — from vanity metrics to metrics that actually matter, that actually justify the high investments (and the long hours)— engagement rates, CTRs, CPA, CAC, reactions, conversions, link clicks, mentions! Since then, there’s been no looking back because we’ve unlearnt this the hard way and we have tons of reports to look at.

5. Seizing all moments

Spoiler alert: the bitter truth of moment marketing is that not all trends are for every brand. As a social media strategist, you should always go by the guide stick of ‘less is more’ and ‘sometimes is better than every time’ when it comes to moment marketing. Its’ all about context and relevance and just a teeny bit about the copy/content. So the two questions to answer are—

  • Is the trend/ moment contextual enough for my brand to participate in?
  • What is the opportunity for lateral awareness?

Just like marketing, consumers and audiences on social media have evolved too. Whether it’s with topical content, banter or battle of words, moment marketing is fruitful when it’s not a force-fit and risky when the attempt is too unbecoming.

And on that note, here’s to the constant unlearning curve that lies ahead for all of us.



Apurva Harwani

social media & content strategist | nature lover | amateur tennis player | read, write and overdose on chai to deal with adulthood.