How much is too much?
Ok, so you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Google+, Empire Avenue, FourSquare and YouTube...you have a corporate website, a WordPress blog, and RSS feeds galore. You check Google Analytics, Klout and Twitalyzer to make sure you’re connecting. Yikes!
How can you possibly keep up? Should you even try?
Here are some questions to help you set priorities:
• What are your primary reasons for using each platform? Do those reasons match your business strategy and objectives?
“Because we have to” is not a sufficient reason to be on a particular platform.
• Do you understand the pros and cons of each platform? Most platforms were designed for a specific purpose, which means that some may be better than others for connecting with your key audiences.
• Speaking of which, who is your primary audience? On what main platforms is the audience most active? Connect with your primary audience using the method that’s most comfortable to them.
• Where are your customers most likely to look for you? In business, most customers still search for corporate websites first. Gathering “likes” on a Facebook page is nice, but not really a measure of anything. Same with the number of Twitter followers. It’s what you do with those audiences that count.
• How many accounts can you reasonably manage to keep current? Stale content is a death-knell. Unless your company is over-staffed, it’s unlikely you have the trained and qualified people available to suddenly take on the management of social media accounts. While the platforms are free to use, the time and energy to maintain them is not.
• Who is managing your various accounts? Well-connected, savvy communicators are able to post interesting and provocative content. Make sure your content isn’t one big sales pitch or an endless series of inspirational quotes. Both of those activities will turn off audiences.
• How are you quantifying success? Your metrics should link back to your business strategy and objectives, and your social media presence should help to further those objectives.
Bottom line: you’re better off to manage fewer accounts, but do each well. Don’t feel pressured to hop on every new platform as it emerges. And, finally, make sure you have a strong purpose for participating in each social media account that you have. Linking your purpose and your measures to your business strategy will help keep you focused on results.
Will we ever stop being us and them?
Friday, May 20, 2011
I work in public relations, and have done so for 30 years. When I started my career, I tapped noisily on my IBM Selectric™ typewriter, dabbed errors with WiteOut™, photocopied and then mailed out news releases to newspapers, TV and radio. If it was urgent, we couriered...or sometimes even hand delivered. (I know!)
Strict deadlines were met. Never hold a news conference past 2pm or TV won’t be able to make it. Always return a radio reporter’s call immediately, but not at the top of the hour when he/she would be reading the news. Never let a phone message sit for more than 24 hours. (Yikes)
Reporters were the enemy. They were the people around whom we had to be especially guarded. “Loose lips sink ships” and other sage words of advice kept us from blurting out some detail that was not quite ready to hit the front page. “There’s no such thing as off the record” we were told. Anything you say can and will be used in the court of public opinion, aka local newscasts. (Ok, that part is still true.)
A lot has changed since then, most likely evidenced by the fact that there’s a good chance, dear reader, you’ve never seen an IBM Selectric™ typewriter. In today’s online world, where citizen journalists report the news faster than most media outlets can (reporters have that pesky fact-checking thing to do, after all) both sides are coming together.
PR people and reporters are each discovering that the other is NOT the enemy. They are also discovering that each is a human being, capable of making mistakes and also capable of forgiving them, too. We’re also discovering that partnerships between PR and reporters can result in some of the best stuff. Let’s face – we need each other.
In this hyper-connected world, I think we need each other more than ever. Reporters need instant access to credible, reliable information. PR people need to provide reporters with innovative story pitches and digital assets to meet the needs of multiple formats. Most importantly, the news cycle is now a minute-to-minute thing, and that places a lot of pressure on everyone.
Will we ever stop being “us” and “them”? Probably not, but the “dark side” (whichever that is for you) isn’t quite as dark as it used to be. Your thoughts? Click on “comments” at the top of this post.
Social media connects adults again
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I wrote recently about the relationship economy and the value of personal interaction in successful business. On February 11, more than 100 people gathered for the first #meetthemedia tweet up – a huge success that will undoubtedly occur again.
As much as we credit social media for making us ‘social’ beings again, the face-to-face personal meeting still ranks highly in our society. My take on this is that we’ve come full circle. Let me explain.
When I was a kid my parents knew, and socialized with, their neighbours and co-workers. There were backyard get-togethers, house parties and Grey Cup shin-digs. Fast forward about 30 years, when my kids were small, and activity was focused on the children. We ran (literally sometimes) from kid-focused event to kid-focused event, making small talk with parents we knew we would not see once the the hockey/soccer/baseball season was over. This kid-centric social life may have been great for the young’uns but we parents were more disconnected than ever. Despite having met dozens of parents over the years, we were always too busy rushing our precious cargo to their next activity to really make any friends.
Fast forward again about 15 years and we have the arrival of the social media revolution. Now we can meet and socialize with people of like interest. Finally, something for the adults! Social media has taken us back full circle to the days when my parents met people and socialized around areas of mutual interest.
You may say this is true because my kids are adults now and I’m no longer on the kid-activity treadmill. However, the average age of people at the tweet up on Friday was probably 35, and ranged from early 20’s to 50+.
Social media has given us the auspices to socialize again. And, that’s really the point of it, right?
A little courtesy, please
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Time for courtesies again.
Life is rushed, people zipping here and there, multi-tasking and, quite frankly, slowly going crazy in the process.
In the midst of this hullabaloo, common courtesies and manners have been lost. No time to say please and thank you, too busy to hold open a door. The worst offenders, in my humble opinion, are people talking on cell phones.
I have a cell phone. I talk on it. But I am conscious of where and when I do it, whom I am impacting, and what I say. I also appreciate the technology that goes into my BlackBerry enough to know that I don’t have to shout into the phone to be heard at the other end.
The height of rudeness is being subjected to someone else’s personal conversation while stuck in a line up. Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, one is forced to endure the gruesome details of a friendship gone wrong, a co-worker out of control or the misbehaviour of an errant child. Look, this stuff happens; I get it! I just don’t want to be involved.
I was at a public market recently where a woman was having a long and involved LOUD conversation with someone on her phone. Worse, she was doing it at the service counter, facing the clerk, making it very uncomfortable for anyone else to ask about merchandise or make a purchase. She wasn’t even buying anything – just zoned out on her phone. As a bystander, what is the appropriate thing to do? (Trust me, multiple ideas sprang to mind...)
As we enter 2011, I am on a personal campaign to bring back common courtesy and manners. C'mon, who's with me?
I’m going to start with the irritating people shouting into their cell phones like they were tin cans on a string. So be warned. Take your call if you must. But please have the common courtesy to be aware of your surroundings, remove yourself to a quiet corner, and respect all the hard work that cell phone manufacturers have put into making your phone a delicate communication device.
Please and thank you.
Ugg the Cave Man started it all...
December 3, 2010
As humanity evolves, each generation brings forward its best and brightest ideas to improve quality of life, add entertainment value or solve problems.
The past 30 years has seen an astounding range of technology put in the hands of everyday people; gadgets never before conceived or dreamed. Older generations are heard to say, “what will they think of next?”
I started to wonder if “they” would ever run out of ideas. What’s next in technology? How do people dream up things that don’t exist?
The answer is evolution. New generations are there to pick up where older generations leave off. When our grandparents couldn’t imagine a device that cooks meals in minutes, a new group of people were right there with the microwave oven. The difference is context. Microwave oven inventors didn’t start from open fires, circa the middle ages, as their models; they created microwaves after electric stoves had been in use for many years.
Ugg, the caveman, could never have invented the cell phone. That’s just way too much pressure for a caveman! But for Dave, who was sitting at his desk and accidently cut the phone cord, it’s not such a stretch.
Each generation is really no smarter than its predecessors; it just begins solving the challenges of the day from a new starting point. This continual improvement pushes humanity along, developing answers to problems we didn’t even know we had. Rinse and repeat, as they say.
So, don’t be concerned that the world has run out of ideas. A new generation of fresh talent is waiting just around the corner for their turn.
It was ever thus.