There are a couple of topics for today’s post, so I will try to keep them short and sweet.
Della and I had the honour of speaking to the Edmonton Chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society on Friday. It was a great group of people – all interested in how to apply social media tools and tactics to their communications strategies.
Chris Brogan, who I have a huge amount of respect for, has a great post on The Undiscovered Country of Presence Management. Here he talks about the challenges of having organizations on Twitter and Facebook and blogging or commenting on blogs. Who should be the voice, where should you look online for your communities, how do you go about it? This is a great start to an important conversation.
One of the key points for any organization that would like to embrace social media is that you need to be strategic about it. You need to begin like you would any other traditional communications campaign and understand who your community is, where they are and how they would like you to join the conversation. And at the core of it—Chris nailed it in his post—what people want is “real” interaction. Social media provides the opportunity to create a relationship with people – one human being to another.
Great public relations has always been about building relationships – ethically, authentically and with integrity. Social media allows us to do this. It takes a client that will authentically embrace transparency, some effort, resources and a commitment to staying strategic (and not being pulled away by the newest, brightest, shiniest piece of technology). It provides opportunities that we have never had before.
We know that social media has changed how we do our job. Right now we’re in a bit of chasm between how it used to be done and how it can be done. It is a challenging time, but it’s exhilarating too. The world is demanding that organizations step up and be accountable, responsible, engaged and that they contribute. As communicators, our role is to help organizations do this in a way that benefits the community, the employees and the organization.
I think you did an excellent job of highlighting the main point of Brogan’s article. I think that too many companies are fatally unstrategic in how they use social media. Companies need to honestly look at what their level of expertise is with social media and which discussions they can participate in valuably and honestly. If your company is struggling to find compelling material to blog about then Twitter is definitely not the answer you are looking for.
As you mention content and integrity are the currencies in social media and if a company is providing neither, then they should not be using the service. I am going to post a longer article on our company blog http://scribnia.com/blog/ discussing the issue further but thank you for the solid analysis.