Brian Solis is sometimes concerned that he overdoes the rigor involved in applying social media to customer relations (or, by extension, public relations), but not for long. Social media aren't simply fun to use, they're tools to connect with. "In the end," says Solis, "the reality is that you get out of social media what you invest in it. But at the same time, experimenting with social media is not anything to discredit. The difference between today's media and the networks of yore is nothing less than the democratization of information, from creation to consumption to sharing and the equalization of influence..."
So where does that leave us? Pretty much at the same point where any good PR planning process begins — defining the aim and shaping a program to accomplish it. Or, in the case of social media, says Brian, "Start by understanding who you're trying to reach and what it is they value."
Don't just run YouTube videos (as though you can make them without having a purpose in mind) or post regularly on Facebook. Understand why you're using social media, and what its outlets potentially offer — like any other tools. We've said this in other ways before, but even though they're readily available, social media channels aren't for PR joyrides. Not if you want to accomplish given objectives with them.
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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