In the classic baseball movie ‘Field of Dreams’ a , mysterious voice tells our hero, Ray Kinsella (Costner), “If you build it, they will come”. Costner follows the advice and constructs a baseball diamond on his soon to be bankrupt Iowa farm. To the delight of audience memebers, people do come, the farm is saved, Costner plays catch with his father and we all live happily ever after.
Well my friends, social media isn’t like the Field of Dreams. Just because you built it, doesn’t mean anyone’s coming. While signing up on all the major platforms and building a interconnected network is a start, it isn’t enough.
So many businesses, who don’t get the true value of social media, think they can create a strong community simply by signing up. A tricked-out profile on umpteen sites is not the ticket to ‘rock star’ status. Major brands, think Coke, may be able to get away with this strategy for a short period of time, but sooner rather than later, your community will expect you to produce awesome content. If you do not… they’ll find someone who will.
A major key to your SM success is a properly developed strategy. Just like the Marketing Plans of old, you need a properly executed strategy for your social media efforts.
So before you dive head first into the shallow end, sit down with your team and hammer out the details.
-Why do you think your company needs a social media plan?
-What do you want to accomplish?
-Who do you want to reach?
-Where are your customers and potential customers meeting online? (listen to them first!)
-What will this cost the company?
-Do you have the right people for the job? Who is responsible for what?
-What is the competition doing? How can you do it better? Where are the opportunities?
-What makes your company different?
-How often will you produce content?
These are questions which must be answered. Without a clear plan you’re doomed to failure, or worse, mediocrity. Take the time to brainstorm with your team and answer these questions. When you’re done (this could take hours or even days), review your team’s answers and discuss what can be done to make them a reality. And look at that, you’ve got 75% of your social media strategy all mapped out. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it is a science. Do yourself a favor and make the time to plan your social media campaign. Taking the time to doing it right the FIRST time will save you countless headaches in the end.
What’s really interesting about this policy announcement is reporters are also banned from using social media to relay in-game updates. Here’s directly from the NFL’s Social Media Policy:
“While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates) so that the accredited organization’s game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts.”
Mashable’s Adam Ostrow makes a great point, this policy seems more geared towards protecting “lucrative TV contracts” than anything else. It seems the NFL fears Twitter will nullify DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket and other available packages. Think about it, why pay for the season pass when you can follow live game updates from your Twitter feed? A simple hashtag plus your team’s name should do the trick (#falconsgame).
In my opinion, this is absolutely ridiculous and someone within the NFL’s policy committee is out of the loop. Social Media does not take away from the experience, it adds to it. The NFL is missing an opportunity to reach a much larger audience. By combining the NFL’s traditional coverage with that of social media, the league could create a ubiquitous gaming experience. An experience in which the average fan becomes completely engrossed in the action, but… they missed it.
An interesting side note: while this policy may stop players and reporters from tweeting during the game, it cannot stop fans. The information will reach the people regardless, there’s no stopping it. Fans are free to tweet in-game updates just as fast as their thumbs will allow. Why the NFL has decided to tie the hands of it’s professionals is beyond me.
If you want to see social media done properly, follow @PGATOUR on Twitter. Every tournament weekend, the Tour augments their TV coverage with live updates from around the course thereby giving the viewer the sense of actually being present at the tourney. As I said before, social media doesn’t take away from an experience, it enhances it.
I have covered this topic before, but see Mashable’s Story on Twitter and Teens.
Again, I’m attributing this lack of tweeting to teen’s love of Facebook. FB was their first introduction into social media and, unlike other areas of their lives, they are remaining faithful to their first love. Some, if not most, even have an outright hatred of Twitter.
Does this mean, Twitter’s success will stumble and fall as these teens enter the business world? As the current generations of Twitter users retire and fade, what will happen to Twitter?
I stumbled across a company today that truly set me back on my heels– Inbound Marketing. This site offers, what they call, the Inbound Marketing University or IMU. This online place of learning is 100% free and offers courses designed to produce savvy online marketers. Courses include: SEO, Community Building, Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn, and Twitter for Business to name a few. These courses are delivered in a Powerpoint/Podcast format. At the time of ‘taping’ students were able to post questions to their lecturing professors, which were then answered during the Q and A at the conclusion of the class.
“Why are they offering this”, I asked myself time and time again. I then see the book. Inbound Marketing: Get found using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.This entire university is designed to create interest in their book. They’re building the community first. By offering these amazing value-added services, Inbound Marketing is building customer and brand loyalty. They will soon convert this online community into dedicated customers/readers. I applaud their efforts. This is what Web 2.0 is all about. Give before asking. Provide for the community and they will provide for you. Genius.
I’m half-way through the training and each class has been packed with useful information. There are a few ‘basic’ courses (there are just as many advanced classes too), but each was packed with great information and great content for both the newcomers and pros.
This company has given so much in term of social media, marketing, PR, and community building. Come October 19th, when this book becomes available, I’ll be right there in line along with other IMU students. Well done guys, well done.
Brian P. Brown
check out Social Media Training Course
In the nature of full transparency, I have to admit I have been waiting for this book for a long time. When I saw Brian Solis’ take on public relations and social media, I was stoked to say the least. With that said, the following is my honest review of
Putting The Public Back in Public Relations- How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.
It’s not about technology, it’s about relationships and people.
This is the underlying theme throughout the book. Social media is only a tool used to interact with people, i.e., ‘the people formerly known as your audience’.
The first part of the book is dedicated to the history of public relations and the recent paradigm shift in the industry. Don’t skim through this section. It’s perfect for anyone new to the realm of social media / public relations or anyone who hasn’t participated in the conversation until this point. The authors frequently include direct blog posts which provide the reader with a sense of inclusion. A nice touch.
As soon as the reader is caught up to speed, Solis and Breakenridge jump right into the meat of the subject matter.
The authors cover the change in language that has taken place in the PR industry. This language change represents a more important attitude change in regards to participating with the public. This section also includes a somewhat funny chapter on blogger relations. The methods bloggers went to in an effort to stop PR spammers was pretty brutal, yet somewhat funny (example: Robert Scoble listing the email address of PR spammers on his blog).
The real gem of this section revolves around SMRs or Social Media Releases. These interactive press releases (I can barely call them press releases) are changing the way information is disseminated. A rough template is provided supplying the reader with a spring board for their own release ideas. SMRs are the way of the future.
Next, Social Media tools and technologies are addressed and explained for anyone who is late to the game. Again, don’t skip this section as the information provided is solid. The authors take this section to hammer in the concept of Relationships and People over Technology (sociology is greater than technology). After reading this section, the reader is left with a solid idea of what social media should and can be.
Finally, the future of Public Relations is discussed and provides actionable steps to properly implement the idea discussed earlier. This section is key for anyone hoping to adopt a social media strategy in their own business or hoping to ‘sell’ the idea to the larger corporation they work for.
This book kept me awake for nights on end. It has that motivational quality to it that just makes you want to do your PR job better. The book will get your head spinning with ideas while making you an effective PR 2.0 participant. Solis and Breakenridge have made this book their platform to change the public relations industry. While PR is the focus of this work, anyone participating in the online conversation should take the time to learn from their experience. The book’s themes are presented clearly and effectively. Putting the Public Back in Public Relations brings much to the table: it’s full of resources for further study and is worth multiple reads.
I recommend this book to anyone who plans on participating in the online conversation. If you are already active in social media and marketing online, you cannot afford to pass over this book. We all have much to learn. With greater participation and interaction, the PR world is prepped for greatness as long as we all keep in mind;
It’s about the people!
Check out this beautiful representation of conversations in social media. This is where it’s happening. All around us.
Just remember, these technologies will always change but the underlying principle –relationships– will always remain the same.
Thanks to Brian Solis and JESS3 for this masterpiece.