Issue 35, Winter 2015
It seems these days everyone is enamored with social media.
It's hard to go to a conference that doesn't offer sessions titled, "How to Leverage Social Media to Benefit Your Organization" ... "10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Raise More Funds" ... "Social Media: Getting Your Story Out. What Every Social Marketer Needs to Know."
I'm no Luddite. But in full disclosure, even though I use it sparingly, I'm no big fan of social media for numerous reasons, including issues related to privacy, security, and time management, just to name a few.
Despite any of my personal biases, however, the axiom that "Good news travels fast; bad news travels faster" holds more weight in this age of incredibly fast communications technologies than ever before.
In short, when it comes to social media, be sure you've done your homework.
What follows are just a few things to ponder as you explore your initial, or expanded, use of social media.
For example, do we know the differences between social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), bookmarking sites (Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc.) social news (Digg, Reddit, etc.), media sharing (YouTube, Flickr, etc.), microblogging (Twitter, etc.), and the countless blog forums that are out there?
Do we need to employ all of them, or will just one or two do?
Social media is meant to be interactive. In other words, it's a dynamic — not a static — form of communications, and much of it is extremely time sensitive.
For example, if someone posts a question on your blog, Facebook, or LinkedIn page, how long will it take us to respond? Hint: It better be sooner rather than later. Social media almost demands real-time turnaround.
Keep in mind that social media is a window to your brand. Subsequently, the person(s) responsible for messaging on it in many respects become the online face of your organization. Choose them not only for their ability to know and understand the technology but also for how well they know and understand your brand and the image you want to project to the public.
Which leads us to ...
Do we understand that anything we say on social media is in the public domain, that it is all being archived, and that it can be retrieved at any time by anyone with a search engine — which means nearly everyone in the world?
Subsequently, do we have written policies in place regarding such things as the accuracy of information we are putting online, the use (or non-use) of vulgarity, respect for others (individuals as well as organizations), and how to address online criticism of our organization?
Which also leads us to ...
If someone in our organization becomes aware that the organization is being challenged or criticized online, to whom should they report, and how should the organization respond?
Do we know not to provide personal or organization-related information on social media sites that scam artists or identity thieves could use?
At what point might we be sending out too many tweets or other online messages that, instead of holding the attention of our intended audiences are causing them to consider our messages spam?
Is social media taking up so much of our time that it is preventing us from doing things more directly related to the success of our mission?
Let's be clear. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from using social media. Used knowledgeably and thoughtfully, it certainly has proven to have its advantages and revered place in organization communications.
I'm just saying ...
My thanks to GuideStar for publishing the above article in its Oct. 2014 e-newsletter.
As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer, branding consultant/coach, or management consultant who can help you answer the questions: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? And should anyone care? I invite you to for more information.
In the meantime, good luck with your branding! — Larry
Branding Bytes is a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco Communications. Please feel free to forward Branding Bytes on to others. However, Branding Bytes is copyrighted and may not be reprinted or reproduced without attributing Larry Checco of Checco Communications as its source and providing the following website address: www.checcocomm.net. Thank you.
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