My first suggestion to organisations looking to get involved in social media is to keep a clear head. Question everything and challenge every assumption. Social media is not always the silver bullet it is purported to be; rather it is merely another tool in the communications mix.
You can spend time at courses and seminars or pay for gurus and boffins, but the key issue will always be – who are you talking to and about what? Thereafter the decision on which media is straight forward.
The best risk mitigation factor for any communications activity is to work with someone who is literate, mature and responsible to help you manage it, someone who’s been in business long enough to have a solid reputation for reliability.
So go back to your communications strategy. If you don’t have a communications strategy, then develop one.
Evaluate media channels against your strategy: which channels will serve you best? If your company is in the fast moving consumer goods sector, selling ice-cream for example, your approach will need to be very different from that of a management services organisation. Depending on the nature of your organisation and the profile of your clients or customers, investing in social media may not be as productive for you as developing a relationship with an established trade publication, radio or television.
Once you have determined where you are going to spend your time, energy and communications budget, you must next decide with whom you are going to spend that time, energy and budget.
An issue I often hear raised by organisations considering establishing online customer communities is the risk associated with putting customer relations in the public arena. The best risk mitigation factor for any communications activity is to work with someone who is literate, mature and responsible to help you manage the digital area, someone who’s been in business long enough to have a solid reputation for reliability. When you find someone you like, take them out to lunch and find out how they would approach your campaign. Your company’s communications terrain should not be charted by the uninitiated or naïve.
Heusler PR’s five point plan for risk minimisation
- Develop a communications strategy
- Work with someone who is highly literate
- Evaluate the channels against the strategy
- Incorporate measurables
- Ensure an understanding of risk