By Sharon A.M. MacLean
Social media became the answer to a world of people demanding to be heard.
Let’s back up. How does social media compare to broadcast media, anyway.
Broadcast media (TV, newspapers, print and the like) pushes information out to an audience. Social media, on the other hand, relies on audience participation as a driver.
Social media needs to be part of strategic plans because networks offer multiple ways to monitor and build your brand and grow relationships with your audience. The key is being ready to use it. It’s possible to do more harm than good to your brand and communications objectives if you leap into conversations too soon.
Know who you are and how you want to position yourself online. Know your “why” for the stories you plan to tell. And consider these pointers:
• Be realistic about your ability to manage your social media strategies. Start slow. Small steps will help you assess the time and resources you’ll need to dedicate to social media and to benefit from it.
• Before you start talking online, listen carefully. Get a sense of who your audience is and what they’re talking about before you chime in. This will ensure you offer relevant information that positions you as an expert.
• Engage people in meaningful interactions. It’s easy to simply talk at people, but effective social media strategies are about building relationships with your target audience.
Once you join the conversation, protect your brand. Be proactive rather than reactive. The intimate nature of social media encourages open dialogue, and sincere exchange is welcomed.