I attended Social Slam sponsored by the Knoxville Social Media Club April 13, 2011, and one thing was clear — content is still king in social media. We sat through various panels and 3-4 keynote addresses throughout the day.
On the panel I sat on (as a substitute presenter), my colleagues Trey Pennington and Anne Deeter Gallaher spoke with me about convincing the CFO that social media had incredible value. My analogy was to compare it to advertising — when you run a print ad, does it garner immediate results, leads, conversions, impressions, sales? Nope.
While everyone was touting ROI (my favorite statement was by Amy Howell of Howell Marketing who said ROI meant “risk of ignorance”) for social media and how to communicate its value add with measurable impact, the thread that binds all of social media is critically basic. It’s CONTENT.
Let’s think about that a sec. Businesses far and wide are jumping on the social media bandwagon, finally. Regardless of how large the company or organization is, each has one thing in common — the need to develop content, a tweet, a post, a blog article, an Internet press release, a website page, a landing page, tips series, white paper, case studies, and more.
Even prior to engaging and creating a community, the message becomes the only thing that matters. And, so, with my PR hat, I encourage each of you, regardless of whether you’re a solo practitioner, corporate communicator, not-for-profit, agency peep, or consultant to do the following:
- Create a message map for your brand. Within this framework, tell your story much like Trey Pennington, one of the most impressive storytellers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting IRL (I learned that at Social Slam — “in real life!”).
- Consider using a mind map brought to you by none other than Roy Grubb, my tweep king of mind mapping who runs a wiki Information Tamers on all things mind mapping. Using this tool, show the progression of your marketing path and where you want to push your message.
- Knowing social media is a time suck, get in the habit of taking your iPad2 (I’m blogging on one right now while kidlet is in taekwando class) with you everywhere to jot a note about something that strikes you. (You can use the traditional method of pencil and paper, too, you know!) Content development is inspired at the oddest times; I come up with blog post ideas while hiking the trails, just before bed (that’s why I have to read sci-fi and fantasy before I sleep because there’s no chance I’ll think about business reading that crazy stuff).
- Hire a junior person to draft 25 tweets on a topic oriented to your work. These can be basic and good filler throughout the week when you’re trying to buy some time back. At the same time, hire some people to research for you, too. I find research time a luxury I don’t have. If someone can pull the studies and review blog posts for me, then I can draft the copy.
- There is an art and skill to Twitter and Facebook. If you’re naturally effervescent with words, and your personality shines through, then you can get away with engaging naturally. If you’re shy and have trouble with free speak, do a lot of reading, listening and testing the waters. Adopt a topic you’re comfortable with until you find your stride.
It takes a pretty seasoned public relations practitioner to be able to develop all variations of content as mentioned above. Not every department or firm or team is going to find that in house; it’s highly likely you’ll need to hire it out, and the best place to comb the field is at industry events the likes of Social Slam.
Mark W. Schaefer, the event emcee, announced next year’s event is at the end of April in Knoxville. Plan to attend; it was well worth it, and every age group was in attendance among the ~450; that’s darn impressive.