I attended an EBig webinar today on PR in the age of Social Media. It was given by Jeannette Bitz from Engage PR. The presentation was enlightening. She documented a strategy on how to integrate Social Media into your PR Strategy. Most of it is common sense, but if you are not familiar with social media it would be very foreign to you.
Before the strategy there are some interesting statistics. 2/3 of publications are now vender and user generated content (Sam Whitmore Media Service 2008). Wow, that is lots of self-serving generated documentation. This is good and bad as customers now have a very large soap box. So having a strategy to working with social media in your company is important. Even if you ignore it you are participating. One of your customers will blog or tweet about your company, services or products. So you and your company are participating whether you ignore it not.
So on to the strategy – Five Steps to integrate social media into your Marketing campaign: Develop Strategy, Identify your Social Media Audience, Solicit Support, Get Started, Measure and Evaluate.
You need to determine the message that you want the world to see in social media. Remember that social media is like anarchy. The rules are established by the mob. So you need to have a plan or your message will get blown around like a ship without a rudder. Establish a communication process for employees or your social media voices.
Identify your Social Media Audience
You already have a social media audience. You may not think you do, but you do. You need to find out who is your audience, your competitors, who are the social mavens (key influencers), what social media sites are best for you market. Once you wrap your head around that you need to identify what social media networks you will be going after and who you need to build relationships with.
This may seem like an insurmountable task, but it has to be done. Back to the boat analogy. You have a rudder now, but you need to know where to navigate the ship. When the winds of change come and you get attacked it would be good to know who is there to give you points of reference and protection.
If you cannot tell already, working with social media is not something you do once in a while. It will take time and effort. You need to prepare your resources for the time it will take. Spread the love. Make sure you don't drop your social media work on one person or one department. It is good to have a cross section of functional organizations participate.
Once you have established a virtual cross functional team ( I love buzz words), you will need to feed the team periodically. Periodic brainstorming session keeps the team fresh as well as adding and removing team members periodically. It gives people a chance to get involved and have a break if they are getting burned out.
One of the biggest problems to getting started is knowing where to start. Here are some tips that Jeanette gave in here presentation.
- For blogs develop a list of topics
- Create a library of videos prior to making a YouTube Channel (3-4 minutes tops)
- Have some kind of internal review and approvals for linkedIn pages and twitter accounts.
Now that you are generating content, you will find that people will comment. You need to respond to the comments. Nothing tells a customer that you care when you respond. Ask Toyota. Who decided to ignore problems and not communicate with their customer? Look where they are now. You should respond to posts within 24 hours. Remember that it is a community. Much like the community yellers in the 17th and 18th centuries, we have it again in cyberspace.
Measure and Evaluate
Now that you have things running you need to measure and evaluate how you social media strategy is going. Easier said than done. Every social media site has different types of measurements and ways they interact with users. You will need to analyze what social media outlet is working best for you, and which ones are liabilities. Time is important to all us and we don't want to waste time working on a social media site that 2 or 3 people are looking at.
The Shameless Pitch
I really liked the approach that Engage PR is using to work with companies. I really see a sweet spot for Yoly. Yoly helps people and companies get socially centered. In the initial planning Yoly can be used to find the social media key influencers, most influential social networks and blogs, and competitors. Once their strategy is working, Yoly can monitor and measure the effectiveness of their campaign.