Recently I received several calls from organisations seeking advice about how to establish a presence on Facebook and other social media platforms. Most importantly they wanted to hear about the advantages of social media adoption. My first question to them is always: what is your communication objective? This is usually followed by a moment of silence. In fact, most of them do not have a communications strategy. Yet jumping into social media without a proper communications strategy seems like building a house without a proper foundation.
Social media may produce immediate results but it also presents an opportunity for a long term communication management. You build relationships, gain knowledge, and participate in and shape conversations. But how do you combine the immediacy of posts, status updates, rss, etc. with longterm objectives and goals linked to a communications strategy? To answer that we should review the elements of a communications strategy. These include a proper stakeholder analyses, goals, objectives, and a proper method for evaluating results.
A stakeholder analysis is essential for any organisation. There are numerous methods that can be used which focus on the identification of stakeholders. The challenge is to decide which stakeholders should receive specific attention. One excellent model that can be used was developed by Brad L. Rawlins which prioritizes stakeholders through a four-step process: 1. Identifying all potential stakeholders according to their relationship to the organization; 2. Prioritizing stakeholders by attributes; 3. Prioritizing stakeholders by relationship to the situation; 4. Prioritizing the publics according to the communication strategy. This model helps an organisation decide how much attention each stakeholder group deserves or requires. If you know your publics you can select which platforms are most suited for your specific objectives more effectively. You might set shorter communications initiatives with some stakeholders while others would require a longterm investment. Social media could be used for both.
In communication we distinguish between goals and objectives, in that a goal is a statement rooted in the organization’s mission or vision and an objective is a statement emerging from the organization’s goals. For example, if your goal is to raise awareness about a certain issue or product, your objective might indicate how much awareness and it would specify a time frame. Once an organisation has set specific objectives and decided on which stakeholders to target, specific channels can be identified. These channels may include a more traditional approach such as print journalism or advertising or they may include social media. One advantage social media offers is that you are able to listen to your stakeholders. Effective communicators implement a two-way approach which requires longterm investment. Just posting a message blindly to reach a maximum number of people will not be effective in the long run.
The final step is then to decide on how to measure your results. Here again the most effective approach is a combined measurement, both on and offline. Some interesting references for measurement are Intelligent Measurement and the Metricsman. They talk extensively about the importance of evaluation and measurement but also about the combined approach implementing both online and offline techniques.
One reference which I think describes this point is from the film Field of Dreams, where Kevin Costner’s character hears a voice which tells him to build a baseball stadium. He hears repeatedly “if you build it, they will come” referring to the spectators. And at the end of the film you see thousands of cars approaching the farmland on which he had built the field. But was he ready for all those people? We don’t know because the film ends. In social media it is comparable, you can build your profiles, start posting, commenting, linking and you might generate a great deal of traffic very quickly. But if you do not feed that traffic with quality material they will disappear and it will be counter productive in the long run. Therefore, think and plan ahead. Establish a proper communications strategy before building.
This entry was posted in Communication, Evaluation and Measurement, PR 2.0, Public Relations, Social Media, Social media and business, Social media measurement and evaluation and tagged Communication, evaluation and measurement, PR, Social Media, strategy.
An interesting conference will be taking place on 22-23 March 2010 in Paris. Marketing 2.0 (M2C) will bring together experts and specialists to discuss the future of marketing, (social) media, and advertising, as well as new technology.
If you click on the icon on my blog, add the code: PGM2C2 and receive a discount..
See you in Paris!
The major difference between Public Relations and Advertising is the cost. Advertising is paid space which comes with advantages such as control over when and where it will appear. Until the rise of social media Public Relations largely relied on the media to distribute the organisation’s messages. That implied very little control over when and where the information would appear. A recent post onPRsquared introduces the Awareness Scale, “a simple way of thinking about how Social Media, Public Relations and Advertising fit together in an ideal way”. The idea is that Social Media is the engagement, PR is the credibility, and Advertising is the defense. Ideas are shared on social media platforms, they are picked up by PR professionals who turn them into campaigns, and they are reinforced through advertising. So advertising’s role changes from actually building the brand to capturing attention that reinforces the consumers’ perception of the brand.
As Web 2.0 and Social Media became globally pervasive, the landscape proved expansive, overwhelming, and bewildering. It required a social cartographer in
Throughout history, communication has been used as a tool to manipulate both individuals and the masses. On an everyday basis we use it to convince people about our views, to persuade them to either accept our ideas or to take some action. But can we use communication simply to inform, to clarify, to understand? Is listening part of communication? If so, how many of us really consider all the steps of communication? How can we use communication in a positive way, to understand our audiences and inform accordingly?
This following documentary is about the work of Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments sought to control people. Edward Bernays, is considered “the father of PR” and “the father of spin”. This series reveals a great deal about his approach, how he used PR to manipulate people into adopting the ideas of his clients.
He believed that propaganda and news were legitimate tools of his business, and he was able to offer philosophical justifications for these beliefs that ultimately embraced the whole democratic way of life.
An example of one of his most famous campaigns was in the 1920s, working for the American Tobacco Company. He sent a group of young models to march in the New York City parade and told press that a group of women’s rights marchers would light “Torches of Freedom.” On his signal, the models lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in front of the photographers. This ultimately helped to break the taboo against women smoking in public.