The answer to this question is – it depends. Partly it depends on the nature of your business, your goals and expectations, and whether your customers are using digital channels for any reason at all.
And partly it depends on which of the following you already have in place. A digital strategy should be part of a marketing plan, which in turn should be part of your overall business plan.
If you don’t already have a business plan and a marketing plan in place, then your digital strategy will need to be a lot more comprehensive. If these two plans are detailed and current, then the task of creating a digital strategy is a lot faster and more straightforward (and cost you less to develop).
The planning hierarchy usually looks a bit like this:
1) Business plan – all aspects of your business, projections, competitor analysis, benchmarking, goals, financial analysis and budgets.
2) Marketing plan – everything marketing related: online and offline, traditional media (radio, tv, print ads), events, print collateral, PR/comms, client events, trade events, packaging, branding and more.
3) Digital strategy – focuses on the online/digital, and should be part of the marketing plan (if you have one), helping to leverage your overall marketing spend (e.g. reinforcing your offline campaigns by ensuring content across your website and social channels is relevant and helps towards conversions), including your website, mobile apps, online content creation and more.
4) Social media strategy – a sub-set of your digital strategy, reinforcing your brand messages, running targeted campaigns, building relationships and loyalty among your customer base, providing insights into your business and team, sharing relevant and useful information to your existing and potential customers.