Is your organization social media friendly?

This item was filled under [ Content, Social Media, Social Media Measurment ]

For the last couple of years, I’ve been touting the opportunity for companies and brands that are unlikely to actively participate in social media to not ignore the space. Why are they unlikely? There are a number of reasons. Legal, regulatory and disclosure considerations in healthcare and financial services are the most obvious. Some companies just aren’t resourced to manage social media. Others started, got bit and have run away.

There’s nothing stopping any organization from becoming social media friendly.

Social media engagement can be active or passive. Active organizations get right in there. Brand advocates participate in the conversation and become recognize contributors to the community. Social channels are both an input and output, used to help shape the message and build relevance. Passive organizations on the other hand use social media primarily as a listening mechanism. The insights gleaned from the conversation and community activity are used to shape communications and shared content.

Almost every organization has a communication function. Today, effective communication is influenced more than ever before by the inputs of the community. Customers, consumers, employees and business partners share thoughts and ideas that are top of mind. Their opinions offer context. Organizations that listen to social media and other channels of input can leverage insights gained to shape truly targeted, useful and relevant content. Package in the right format, this information is easily shared and woven into the conversations that surround an organization or brand.

We call this being social media friendly. Any organization can be social media friendly if it’s people take the time to listen and craft great content.

The Changing PR Landscape (PRSA teleseminar reactions)

Once again I had the pleasure of sitting on one of Peter Himler‘s legendary panels. Today I joined Peter, Adam Christensen (manager of social media communications at IBM), Stacy DeBroff (CEO of MomsCentral) and Max Kalehoff (VP marketing at Clickable) for The Changed PR Landscape: What Works, What Doesn’t.

It’s amazing how insufficient 60 minutes seems when you’re discussing the most significant evolution the public relations industry has ever seen. There is so much to talk about. Topics during the session ranged from:

  • companies managing their viral and Google footprints
  • how much time an organization should devote to managing social media initiatives, 
  • leveraging employees as online ambassadors and corporate representatives
  • using social media to collaborate, inspire and motivate action, and
  • the role of search in communications.

We really only scratched the surface. The first half was an opportunity for each speaker to talk about what they do and comment on where PR is headed. The second half opened lines to listeners to ask some really great questions.

  • A team of county public affairs professionals from North Carolina asked how they could capitalize on social media at the local government level and they were directed to Personal Democracy Forum.
  • A PR consultant cited an encounter with a client disappointed that her work landed an article on a Wall Street Journal blog, but not in the print edition. I argued that there is great value in this since that content will remain accessible for a longer period of time than an article in the print edition that may appear online, but may only be accessible to subscribers. Reader commentary and reactions to the blog could improve credibility of that coverage. Stacy also suggested that a placement like that can be linked to from other sites and used in ongoing PR initiatives.

Determining value and quantifying ROI is a major hot button for many PR professionals. Why should they integrate social media? What does success look like? We talked about quality vs. quantity of coverage as a major point of distinction in social media. Digital communications allows you to pinpoint the audience and reach those that genuinely care or affected by your offering. You can also measure direct response as a result of social media.

So many topics. So little time.