Before social media use can begin to affect communication and public relations, it must encompass fundamental building blocks of social media efforts. What does this mean? Do not start blogging, tweeting or Facebooking without a purpose and an outline of goals. One of the common mistakes people make when they begin exploring and using social media is doing so without a strategic plan. It is important to post meaningful information with confidence, which many users struggle to do. The ability to obtain social media credibility and gain a large audience is accomplished by attacking social media with a well-developed plan.
Social Media Blueprint
In a recent blog post by Chris Brogan, he outlines the priorities for new social media users. Below are summaries of Chris’s ideas.
Goals: Maintain and achieve goals with social media. If the original plan is not followed, there is no point in continuing with it. Develop several objectives to always remember while blogging and Tweeting.
Dashboard: Be able to measure social media success. Within the defined objectives, clearly state ways to measure and evaluate the success. Without measurements, success rates will not be steady.
Strategies: Create several strategies that will help accomplish the goals. If they become too specific, turn a couple of them into tactics.
Listen: This allows users to obtain data, metrics and material to write about when using social media. It also allows users to understand the audience for which they are writing.
Read/Consume: Reading allows users to see other people’s perspectives and to learn about the latest and greatest online tools and trends. Reading and consuming information can never occur too often; there is always time to learn something new.
Read the remainder of Brogan’s blog post for complete lists of his social media priorities and vaules.
When Strategy Works
In the following video, learn how Proctor and Gamble used a smart social media strategy to increase tampon sales with young girls. Since the product is somewhat of a taboo topic, the company addressed the issue in a creative way with a Web site featuring the problems teenage girls encounter, including the use of tampons.
Why This Matters To PR
When businesses decide to engage in social media, they must do so with a defined outline of goals, strategies and tactics. PR professionals should be involved in this process, as many companies are now looking to the PR folks for advice and guidance with social media—but it has to be the right information. Practitioners should not advise their clients or employers to use social media without first implementing a team of associates to craft overall objectives, strategies and ways to evaluate success. Without these elements, the use of social media for business purposes is pointless. Just like PR professionals use objectives, strategies and tactics with daily projects, they must apply the same ideas for social media. Having an outlined plan is not only practical, but it provides greater opportunity for success.