In the age of Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0 now?), social networking has become a critical component of our work, and more importantly, an integral party of an organization’s communications’ outreach. But, with the welcoming of this new media into our lives, also comes another type of communications activity that many of us public relations professionals need to manage.
So, how does one utilize social networking to market our organization’s brand, products and services without making it a time suck? Here are a few tips that I follow:
1. Don’t just jump into the social networking world. Many organizations feel that they need to set up a page on Twitter, a Facebook Fan page or launch a blog, but then are unsure of what do next. Determine which sites work best for you.
2. Develop a social networking strategy. Similar to creating a traditional public relations plan, you need to build a social networking strategy for your organization. Determine why your organization needs a strategy, the overall goals of it and what type of content you can/will provide. It’s a good idea to review your organization’s overall communications goals and develop content recommendations and tactics for each profile.
3. Set up a schedule and utilize some of the tools that are available to help you manage your time. By setting up a schedule, you are able to better organize your day, i.e., tweet 2-4 times a day, update Facebook status once a day about an organization activity, add a new video to YouTube once a month, blog twice a month, etc. Also, consider using tools like Hootsuite to schedule updates in advance so you don’t find yourself worried if you forgot to tweet one day.
4. Evaluate. Evaluate. Evaluate. Similar to any public relations plan, always benchmark your social networking activities against your goals. Determine what’s working and what’s not.
Social networking is an integral part of our work today, but it is not the only activity and should not consume your entire day–so keep that in mind when you are developing and maintaining your organization’s social networking outreach.
What are your thoughts? How are you managing your social networking activities without making it a time suck?
Sherrie Bakshi is the Communications Maven at Matrix Group. Bakshi has more than 10 years experience in the field, working with a variety of clients. She specializes in everything from traditional PR to working with clients on effective social networking and online strategies. Be sure to follow her on Twitter via @sher_32.
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