Some businesses know about the importance of social media in the 21st century and they want to be included on every platform possible, whereas other businesses don’t want anything to do with it. Neither of these situations is correct. It is important to remember that the fundamentals of public relations and marketing still apply to new technology.
Butch Ward from Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. spoke at the January 2010 Social Media Café and here are four useful tips for PR and marketing professionals from the seminar.
1. R.O.P.E. still applies to social media.
Many companies want to throw themselves in to every aspect of social media without really knowing why they should or shouldn’t be there. It is important to go through research, objectives, planning and evaluation when figuring out what platforms to be included on and what type of presence you want to have. Not all social media outlets are for every business and if your sole reason for using social media is, “because everyone else is doing it,” then you are going about it the wrong way.
2. Do blog and often.
A company blog keeps the customers in the know about important information about the company. The posts don’t need to be long winded or sound incredibly intelligent; rather, keep it short, simple and easy to read. The company will benefit from a consistently updated blog because customers will feel like they are a part of the conversation and the more interaction on the blog the higher the Google Web site ranking.
3. Use videos.
Include viral promotional videos, how-tos, testimonials and interviews on your Web site to draw more customers in. Then they can share these videos on other sites, expanding your reach beyond your site.
4. Prepare a social media crisis plan.
Everyone (especially a PR professional) knows the importance of Murphy’s Law. Something can go wrong in every aspect of business, including social media and you must be prepared to execute your plan the minute a problem arises. If you find out that an employee is badmouthing your company of Facebook, do you fire them? How do you handle negative comments and tweets from customers? Be proactive and answer these questions before they arise and make sure your employees are aware of the crisis plan.