1/29/2010 3:55 PM
By Tracy Schario Johnson
When the Pope encourages the priesthood to proselytize the “Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) alongside traditional means,” you have to ask yourself: What Am I Waiting For?
Three years ago, if you were using social media, you would have been an earlier adopter. Today Facebook, YouTube, Text Messages, Blogs and Twitter are required channels for establishing an open connection to customers and talking with the media. If you aren’t using them today, you could be considered a laggard.
It doesn’t matter if you are in a business, government or non-profit environment. It’s time to take action and begin planning your social media strategy. Whether you form a social media council to gather organization-wide input or you collaborate with a small group of leadership, make a plan to embrace these powerful new channels as part of your public relations plan and marketing mix.
A few tips as you prepare:
- Research. What are your competitors doing? Who are the thought leaders on Twitter? Should you offer a tool box of share tools (del.icio.us, Yahoo! Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, email, etc.) or only a select few? Understand what your options are. Learn what your key audience/s will use most.
- Define your audience. Are they internal? External? If both, do they have the same needs?
- Define your goals. Are you seeking to create a community? Solicit feedback? Offer an opportunity to share and distribute information? Understanding what you want to accomplish will help you select the most appropriate toolset. For those that merely wish to distribute information, you could be missing a great opportunity to engage in a two-way conversation with your target audience.
- Visuals. If you elect to set up a YouTube Channel or Twitter, for example, be sure to personalize the page. It may seem like wallpaper, but it’s an important branding opportunity. Also, incorporate short video (30 seconds to 2 minutes) to illustrate key initiatives and news announcements.
- Integrate. Once you implement your social media strategy, integrate with existing PR and marketing campaigns to build your social network.
- Measure. Define metrics that are tied to your goals and objectives to evaluate if your strategy is working. Measurement guru Katie Payne has created a social media checklist that is an excellent starting point.
Above all, you need to create a social media policy for your organization. Employees are the ambassadors for your company’s product or service. However, they can also create significant corporate headaches. Just ask Dominos. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them in the online world when representing the company.
Tracy Schario Johnson