December 2, 2009
As social media continues to grow and gain significance, business leaders are increasingly concerned that PR professionals do not know how to use social technologies effectively. For instance, these leaders have accused agencies of neglecting social media in favor of accumulating more billable hours.
While some organizations probably do need to correct this mindset, most agencies and practitioners are making positive contributions to social media and passing this value on to stakeholders. Furthermore, their insights and efforts are revolutionizing the profession. Whether we’re affiliated with organizations that invest in social media training or not, we are all responsible for educating ourselves on the job and after hours.
Last month, I recommended periodically evaluating mature and emerging social media channels to gauge their viability and ensure that you’re aware of all the options. The next step is to implement the tools that best support your personal brand, your business and your clients. Here are several tips that you should consider when assembling your social media lesson plan.
Create a hub
Whether it’s a blogging platform such as WordPress, a blogstream like Posterous, an online community created with Ning, a Facebook page or your Web site, you need a home base where people can find you and link to all of the content that you’ve posted elsewhere.
Connect the dots
Your other social channels, sometimes called outposts, usually focus on a specific type of content such as Twitter updates, Flickr photos and YouTube videos that can stand alone, but become part of your larger footprint when linked to your hub.
Use a social bookmarking tool like Diigo or Delicious to index and promote your most interesting content, while helping others spread theirs. Social bookmarking helps accelerate your inbound marketing — or how your content attracts people to you or your hub.
Manage your outposts
Use a manageable number of outposts to support your communication goals. Be clear which ones you’re committed to by linking these to your hub and keeping them up-to-date. Meanwhile, continue learning by experimenting with other platforms and features.
Also, look for tools that automate how you manage your content. Ping.fm can help you post a message to multiple channels simultaneously. HootSuite is a Twitter tool that your team can use to manage multiple accounts, group followers and schedule tweets in advance.
Remain in the know
Using social media is an ideal way to learn from each other. But there’s a lot of relevant advice available and not enough time to absorb it all. Creating a short list of social media-themed blogs, podcasts and video feeds offers manageable variety that can keep you focused and engaged.
Following Twitter hashtags like #pradvice and #PRBC, and participating in Twitter chats like #journchat and #PRStudChat are helpful too.
Regarding this column as a community resource, please share your comments, questions, successes and ideas. I’m interested in hearing from you about more examples of social media in action to highlight next year