Need a Social Media Blueprint for PR Pros?

by PR Coach on February 27, 2011

How do you choose from the latest shiny new social media?

I love shiny new technology and social media more than most PR pros. But I’m not afraid to say some of the newest social media “emperors” are not wearing any clothes. The challenge is how do we know which ones will offer an ROI?

Rand Fishkin recently wrote an excellent post about social media marketing where he said “there are clear signs that Twitter and Facebook aren’t enough.”

Fishkin provided data to show that, while Facebook and Twitter are important, some of the up-and-coming social media will soon be critical to success. And he provided some very useful guidelines to these up and comers.

No doubt you’ve heard of and likely used Digg, Foursquare, Reddit, Tumblr and Delicious. Sniff, already so old school.

Maybe you’ve already explored Quora, Yelp, Slideshare and Scribd? Getting better and sometimes a terrific tactical choice.

But as savvy PR and marketing people how many of you have heard of or used StackExchange, Care2, Hunch, DeviantArt, Namesake Forsst and Dribble? Suddenly feel there’s so much to do and learn?

There are new social media applications launched every month. Many you should explore as a PR strategist.  Some you can ignore. That’s not to say they have no value. They just may not be for you and your PR program.

The problem is trying to keep up, learn about, participate in and get results from each. It truly is a big time management and resource challenge.

I look at each new social media product and often admire their creativity, development, resourcefulness and ingenuity. What I like most is when they provide a return on the PR investment. What I don’t like are the cost and pain of trying to make use of some of these shiny new toys just because someone thinks they should be part of PR.

Download HubSpot’s free ebook, “How to Monitor Your Social Media Presence in 10 Minutes a Day”

I’ll share nine tips I use to help me decide which new social media to include in my communication programs.

Nine Questions to Help You Choose Your Social Media

Here are nine key questions for PR and social media strategists to ask in choosing social media tools:

  • What do you need to do? Your basic goals and objectives.
  • Do you need strategic or tactical? There’s a big difference but it’s okay to be tactical sometimes.
  • Will there be a return on the investment? Without ROI, use these social media on your personal time until you can figure out how to leverage them
  • Have you set objectives and your measures of success? If you or your company are paying to play, you’d better be able to say you clearly reached your goals.
  • Do you have adequate budget and people to deliver results? Be prepared for surprises.  These new toys usually cost way more money and need more people resources than you expect.
  • Can the social media tools of your choice deliver what you need? Be realistic. Not every social media tool can solve every problem.
  • Does the social media campaign fit within your overall marketing, branding and communications strategies? Consistency within your program elements, including social media, is critical to success.
  • Are you committed to a long-term program if needed? You need to be prepared to stay in for the long haul.
  • Can the new tool or social media sharing really make a difference? Don’t be dazzled by “newness.” Trust your instincts.

If you’ve got the answers to these nine key questions, then you already know exactly what to do. You’re well on your way to a better PR/social media blueprint.

Just remember, you don’t need to use all of the existing and the latest-greatest social media. You just need to use the right ones, the right way, to get a real return on your PR or social media marketing investment.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get back to reading, surfing, texting, instant messaging, Googling, SEOing, tweeting, blogging, Facebook-liking, posting, Stumbling, Digging, Tumbling, Friending, Flavor Me-ing, Quoring, Reditting, Yelping, following the DeviantArt gallery and Foursquaring.

And then after lunch, I’ll be learning how to StackExchange, Namesake, Hunch, Forsst and Dribble. Just a few years ago, who would have thought this would be such an important part of our PR jobs? There had better be a payback!

We’d love to hear what other shiny new social media work for you. And what was your ROI?

Like to learn more about PR and social media? Our PR library has many more resources. And if you sign up to the PR Coach blog, we’ll make sure you hear about the latest new social media tools that PR pros simply can’t do without.

Author:  Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

Photo Credit: hurleygurley via Flickr

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