“Facebook and Twitter are like classic rock. Don’t’ talk to people who hate you. Competitors can be great partners.” All food for thought from today’s IABC’s “Trending: Social Media–A Pivotal Communications Tool” event.
Though their areas of expertise were diverse—government, PR, business and journalism—panelists leading the discussion agreed that content and strategy trump tools and tactics every time for successful social media campaigns. Some valuable takeaways for those who couldn’t be there today:
From Daria Steigman, Founder of Steigman Communications and the author of the Independent Thinking blog: Five major trends for the year will be data, mobile, Content marketing and scaling of platforms. With smart phone and tablet users growing rapidly, she said mobile sites are more critical. She recommended The Age of Platform, by Phil Simon. For her small business clients, she advises: improve your mobile sites, partner with your competitors, understand how to use analytics, and don’t underestimate the value of blogs.
From Dan Horowitz, Executive Vice President and Senior Partner for Fleishman-Hillard’s Digital Group: Segment your audience and talk more to your influencers. Don’t waste time on people who hate you! Large companies, why do you need 178 social media channels? Pare down and manage your channels with tools like Buddy Media and This Moment. 84 percent of the population is using social media, so it’s ingrained in everyone’s day-to-day life and the #1 way to reach people.
From Steve Radick, Lead Associate, Digital Strategy and Social Media Practice, Booz Allen Hamilton: Though budgets have tightened, government agencies are becoming more strategic about integrating digital strategies back into their core missions. Internal social sites like Intellipedia are serving as important tools for sharing information within agencies. Managers need to reallocate resources to better guide social media. Hire an expert to come in and train and empower key people. Use your people as a resource, not a police force. Like classic rock, some things don’t change—social media is about conversations, relationships and authenticity.
Rick Dunham, Washington Bureau Chief of the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers. Chief author of the Texas on the Potomac blog: Journalists today must have hybrid skills such as multimedia and a good command of social media tools. Though he concentrates on the long story, Rick also uses social media to drive traffic to his newspapers. Two thirds of his Houston paper’s online readership lives outside of the area, showing that newspapers bring people together from far and wide. Success comes with great content, but you must differentiate to stand out. Take a look at Storify to help get your message out.
As a new member of IABC’s DC Metro chapter, I was very impressed by today’s program. The panelists brought multiple perspectives and years of communications experience to a topic that’s rapidly changing and often covered superficially.
Debbi Jarvis, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility at Pepco Holdings, Inc. is IABC’s local chapter president. Their monthly meetings are hosted at PEPCO’s Edison Art Gallery, a wonderful community space.