Six keys to success in social media

One of my colleagues, Pierre Killeen, developed a list of six strategic considerations that corporate communications should bear in mind when planning their approach to using social media. I was struck by how simple, yet true, these six considerations are. So, I’d like to share them with you.

Six keys to success in social media

1. Success in social media is about human resources. The major input into social media is people’s time. As social media success begins to take hold, the resource requirements will start to grow. Where additional resources are not an option, organizations will have to reallocate existing resources in order to meet ongoing social media needs.

2. Social media platforms facilitate connections and conversations between individuals, not between individuals and institutions. Despite the filter of a social media tool or application, the conversation still takes place between two individuals. This distinction is integral to understanding the social media landscape.

3. People use social media to remain current with news and information filtered from people they know and trust. Connecting with social media influencers engaged in your issues is a key way to earn and build trust and spread your message.

4. Social media communications are about communities, not about target groups and audiences. Whereas traditional communication strategies seek to push messages to audiences, social media strategies are about connecting with and building communities of interest and practice.

5. Social media is about engagement. Some organizations think of social media primarily as another channel for pushing out content. This is inconsistent with the nature of social media and will, ultimately, act as a barrier to social media success.

6. Social media is measurable. Social media communications are rich in data and metrics. If you don’t measure everything you are doing, you are missing the opportunity to understand what is going on and what you are participating in.

What do you think?

I’d welcome your thoughts. What do you think about these points? Do you agree with them? Are there other considerations that you would add?

  • Our jobs would be much easier if every CEO read this blog post 🙂

  • so very true. Almost every conversation with clients about social media touches on these truths. Frankly, I’m amazed at how many organizations come at 2-5 in exactly the opposite way that best practices dictate.

  • Donna Personeus

    Nice job! Clear, Clean and to the point. Plan on sharing it.

  • Good social media programming is about creating and maintaining a covenant between you and your communities. It can’t be automated. It can’t be hidden behind a marketing wall. Open up and engage! Well done post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Great post! I particularly like number 4. I believe this is a whole new way of thinking about business. It’s a paradigm shift and the companies that don’t pick up on this soon are not going to last.

  • Amanda

    Social media is still sort of new to me, so I am just beginning to learn about all the ways that it can be used to network and share. As I am hoping to get into the public relations field, this post was very helpful in giving me ideas and insights into how to use social media effectively. Remembering these tips can help any individual or corporation to most effective and strategically use social media. I also think that your point about social media communication being between two individuals instead of a corporation. It can potentially transform the way that we communicate with various publics. Thank you for your post!

  • Clear, concise and (agreeing with both Davids) something that every CEO and his team should read and exercise in particular to point 5.

    Bravo, Pierre.

    Joe, may I have your permission to use these six points in a (paid) report I’m writing (with full attribution of course)?

    • Hi Lee, please do use any of the material from this post that you find useful.

  • Thanks for sharing. There are so many good points in this article. I think the past five years have been such an uphill battle of trying to change mind sets of managers and what not. It is all about dialog not just pushing info!

  • This post should be required reading for all clients.

  • Brian Mack

    Great post! Succinct and to the point. I would add to the observations made in #2 & #4:

    Social Media is a 2 dimensional medium. We live in the 3 dimensional World – SM cannot replace the value of real, in-person, interaction between living breathing people. SM can facilitate and even significantly improve knowledge and access to communities, but ultimately, the person behind the avatar MUST get up from their keyboard and network within those communities.

    Brian Mack

  • I really like Point 5 where you say it’s about engagement. I can see where people would have a hard time doing that when they have a big product and start to get “Followers” but I think people come back to the companies that respond and engage in a way that isn’t about pushing their new product but maintaining the connection with the people who have made them where they are.

  • Great post Joe. Since you mention corporate communications I assume you’re talking about doing social media in fairly large organizations. Given that, I would also add buy-in/support from upper management and the I.T. shop as success prerequisites.

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