social media

 – it ain’t rocket science

As a communications professional, I readily admit to being a big fan of social media. You could argue that, to even consider being otherwise is tantamount to professorial suicide – which is quite possibly correct – though I have to raise my hand and profess that a great deal of nonsense has been written about social media, including the ‘Must Dos and Don’ts’.

Much wiser figures than I have written extensively on the subject, offering sound guidance – respected industry experts such as Seth Godin, Chris Brogan and Mari Smith – while sites such as Mashable and Social Media Examiner offer reams of great, ongoing tips and advice.

Yet every social media channel – from the ubiquitous Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to the more visually-led Pintarest and Instagram – depend upon solid, quality content for their very lifeblood. Rubbish in, rubbish out as the old saying goes – sadly, also the swiftest route to first disappoint then turn off your audience.

But beware any individual or company which tries to invoke the fear factor – as in “You simply can’t afford to delay. Your competitors are already tweeting daily so what are you waiting for?” – to press gang you into hiring them to carry out this fundamental communications function.

Before launching any social media campaign, you should be presented with a social media plan detailing channels to be activated, with messages tailored to address key target audiences, showing ongoing resource requirement to service the plan, and backed up with analytics tools to deliver all-important feedback on audience engagement.

And this social media strategy should dovetail seamlessly with your existing marketing communications plan. Never let anyone fool you that this key weapon in your communications armoury can be rolled out in a mere 15 minutes a day, because it simply cannot – at least not in any way designed to deliver maximum benefit for your organization, nor any level of heightened brand loyalty or awareness. And certainly not by a junior employee with little or no communications background but a virtual PhD in speed texting and tweeting, for that route flirts dangerously close to reputation Russian Roulette.

Social media is by no means rocket science but, handled correctly, it could deliver customer service benefits that will leave you and your customers feeling over the collective moon.

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