Social media is here to stay (You know that, right?)

Here at the AHA office, we’re updating our knowledge to include Pinterest. If you don’t know what it is, here is a great piece on Mashable that explains it.  It’s our job to be on top of new tools and technologies. While that’s not always easy, it is always interesting.

Our clients rely on us to know what is of value for them and what isn’t. I have to say that our clients don’t tend to be out there, ahead of the pack, using new social media technologies. They aren’t early adopters and I don’t think they should be. For the most part, our clients want to communicate with the “average” person – someone who is using social media networks, not creating them or leading the charge to populate new ones. Our clients see social media as an important part of their communications tool kit, but as just one component. (At AHA, we just don’t develop social media strategies; we develop communication strategies.)

I had an interesting conversation with a potential client recently. Their approach to social media was that they think it’s just a trend, that isn’t here to stay.  I was a little surprised at that and probed a little deeper. There were some red flags for me because when they said their stakeholder group wasn’t really participating in social media, I asked how they knew that. He said: “I just know it. I don’t participate, so I am sure they don’t. I don’t think it is of value for us.”

I realize that there are organizations that may have stakeholders that aren’t active in social media (in my personal experience, I have yet to identify one, but I am sure they are out there). Even if your stakeholder group doesn’t appear particularly active – they aren’t “liking” your fan page on Facebook or following you on Twitter – it doesn’t mean they aren’t active. They just might not be engaging with you!

Before you jump to any conclusions whether your stakeholder group is active or not, do some research. Find out if they are online, where they are and what kind of information and social networking sites appeal to them. Understanding your audience is the first step to entering the conversation.

For those of you who might think social media is just a fad, have a look at this short presentation that puts social media and its influence into context.

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