Thanks to Stephanie Krol and PRSA Chicago for inviting me to participate in the discussion “Making Communications More Effective with Social Media Tools” along with these all-star panelists:
MJ Tam, Chicagonista
Rick Wion, McDonald’s
Reid Lappin, VOKAL Interactive
Adam Keats, Weber Shandwick
Gini Dietrich, Arment Dietrich
For anyone who couldn’t make it to the event, here are a few of my points regarding social media tools for use specifically by PR professionals:
1. As PR practitioners, it is your duty to learn how existing and new tools can help your clients. No more saying “I just don’t have time to keep up!”
2. Use and learn new Social Media tools before your clients or executives do. What is an expert? Frequently, it’s someone who just has a jump on the information.
3. As you learn about a new social media platform or tool, sign up and try for a minimum of 30 days. You may find that it has little use for you personally but it may be a useful channel for your brand or clients to engage stakeholders and customers. In any case, 30 days will give you enough of a history to be able to intelligently advise clients about including this new tool in their tool box.
4. Take some time to reevaluate your personal usage of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and any other platforms. I’ve spoken with many PR pros who still think they should a) trust privacy settings and 2) not connect with clients or bosses. I find that to be extremely narrow-minded and misses opportunities.
If posting personal material that your clients should not see is more important than making a deeper business connection, than perhaps you’re in the wrong business. Stop worrying about privacy settings – which need to be changed on Facebook constantly – and be transparent!
5. What’s the Future of Social Media? All of the panelists agree that the future is mobile. I add that the future is mobile and local. Users are flocking to mobile app versions and it’s time for your brand to engage customers at the local level.
Think about how PR can deliver results not by just Tweeting about the brand on a global or national level, but also by keeping friends, fans, and customers informed about events happening at each outlet, store, location, or community.