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August 19, 2010
How's Your Social Media Plan Coming?
The gathering trend is becoming pretty clear: more businesses are using social media to relate to customers and build their brands. WebProNews is reporting that 35 percent of U.S. employers "use social media (SM) to promote their company." That's according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

"Twenty-five percent of these employers," says WebProNews, "are using social media to connect with customers and find new business, while others are using it to recruit and research potential employees (21%), or improve their employment brands (13%)."

They've got more detail in the post, but one set of figures is of particular interest here: 

"When it comes to managing social media, 43 percent of employers have their marketing departments take care of their social media strategy, followed by public relations (26%) and human resources (19%). Twenty-five percent of employers have 1-3 people communicating for their organization, while 7 percent have 4-5 people handle the work. Eleven percent have six or more people communicate for their company via social media and fifty-seven percent said they did not know."

"Social media" appears to be becoming a corporate communications department in itself, which isn't surprising if it is done well and across several different platforms. Successful use of social media in a business setting calls for a full-scale communications planning exercise, with goals, objectives, strategies, tactics, and tools all carefully accounted for. We've noted this before, but effective use of social media begins with listening and contributing to a dialogue. It's not necessarily a sales tool in itself, but a relational one.

It's a bit ominous to see marketing becoming the corporate home of social media, over public relations -- not that marketing can't be fully relational. But so much of the economic landscape of the future is likely to involve social media connections that public relations people need to take this survey as ominous, and get with their own capacities in social media.  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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