There were four principle concepts to take away from Thursday’s social media presentation with Peter Shankman of HARO (Peter was in Atlanta and the guest speaker at a PRSA luncheon on June 18th that I happily attended). While the entire presentation was full of insightful tips and entertaining anecdotes, Peter stressed the importance of these four primary principles, which are the basics of any effective social media campaign.
- Transparency Consumers and the public in general are not stupid. If you are not honest about who you are and what your intentions are, it will come back to haunt you in the end. Unfortunately, the public relations industry is full of examples where companies were not entirely transparent with their intentions and the negative ramifications were tremendous. Wal-mart with their “Walmarting Across America” blog and the “Working Families for Wal-Mart” blog, Sony with their blog “All I want for Christmas is a PSP” and McDonald’s with their “4railroads” and “Mcdmillionwinner” blogs promoting their Monopoly game are only a few examples. Learn from the mistakes of these big corporations and be honest with who you are and what your message is.
- Relevance Make sure that your message is on topic with who your audience is and what your industry is. Before you get invested with social media, you need to know who you are talking to. What type of people will be looking for your product online? What information is this target audience interested in? And, this might be most important, what is their preferred form of communication? This information is crucial to being successful in social media (and might I add is an expertise of mRELEVANCE, LLC)
- Brevity Thanks to constant improvements in technology the average attention span has shrunk to 140 characters or 2.7 seconds. Thus, you have got less than 3 seconds to capture the attention of your audience and encourage them to read more. This is especially important in regards to your Web site. Many companies have sites built completely in Flash, which takes longer to load. If your Web site does not load within 5 seconds, your shoppers are going elsewhere.
- Top of Mind You want to make sure you are consistently putting your brand in front of consumers so that you are top of mind when they are in need. How do you stay top of mind? Constantly update your Web site, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account with fresh content.
Whether you are online or not, your consumers are talking about you. That is what social media is all about. It would be in your best interest to join the conversation and help control the messages that go out about your brand.