Can you tell me about Social Media? I have a presentation to make

Not for the first time, I had a request yesterday from someone who wants their organisation to “do social media”. They are about to do a presentation about social media and are looking for information.

The single problem with “doing social media” for organisations is too many stumble into it just because everyone else seems to be doing it. The proponent is enthusiastic and just wants to get on with it. There is not enough thought given to why it should (or to be fair, shouldn’t) be done.

Unsurprisingly there are strong opinions against an organisation using social media. Usually from people who don’t understand it – or want to put in the resources to do it properly.

Here is the reply I sent:

Thanks for you email. You are asking quite a big question; there is a lot of information on the internet about the pros and cons of Social Media. It’s virtually impossible to think of a ‘primer’.

This is the advice I give to organisations considering using social media.

First, social media should be treated like any other business activity:

Purpose: There should be a purpose to be a purpose to social media activity – what are you trying to achieve? How will you know when you have achieved it? Social media is not about broadcasting – it is about building and keeping relationships

Audience: Who are you trying to reach? Why? What do you want to say to them? What do you expect to hear from them?

Management and resources: Who will manage the communications, monitors messages to the organisation and responds to them? How much time are you able to devote to social media? What channels will you use? Why?

Strategy: The social media strategy should fit with the organisations strategy, the communications strategy and overall business plan. Who develops the strategy? Who signs it off?

Policy: There needs to be policies around social media including community management, safety online, and other matters including the above.

There are too many standard negative responses from people who can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to social media particularly if they don’t understand social media. So understand what they do know; understand what their fears and concerns are and one by one answer the questions – or find out the answers if you don’t know.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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