Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two simple questions about social media

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

So how exactly do you use social media and how do you measure results? Those were the two most common questions I heard this week after doing a presentation on social media to a joint meeting of TEC 15 & 30 this week. (TEC is a membership organization of CEOs and other company leaders who meet in small groups on a regular basis to share knowledge and learn about a variety of topics).

After my presentation there were several case study presentations and, again, those two questions came up repeatedly. I admit, being in a company where social media has long been a part of what we do and who we are, I take the answers to those questions for granted. But it’s a very good reminder to those of us immersed in social media (be it for ourselves or our clients), that we have to continue to reach out and let our clients and others know what social media is all about; how it works and how to measure results. Contrary to what many think, not everyone is Tweeting or has a YouTube channel.

There’s no better way for PR or marketing to make its case for integrated social media than making sure the CEO and other key leaders understand (at least a little bit) what social media is and what it can do for them; how it can positively impact not just the ROI, but the overall brand and image of the business.

How do you do that? First, spend some time with them just walking through the basics of what you’re proposing. Show them what a Facebook page (or other social media) looks like. Most CEOs will never admit they haven’t gone online to check it out (in fact, some are downright proud of the fact they never go online). It’s an education process up front. Case studies of complimentary companies, your clients or even your competition can also be a great way to show what’s going on “out there.” Have a plan for using social media, as opposed to simply saying “we need a Twitter account.” Know your target markets and the results you’re hoping to achieve. Decide how you’ll measure success. There are many measurement tools out there, ranging from simple to complex, so be sure to share what they look like.

There are no “one size fits all” answers to “how do you use social media and how do you measure results?” But the more you know – and the more you share that knowledge – the more likely it is you’ll be able to develop and implement an effective social media effort.

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