This post first appeared on the nextcommunication blog on June 16, 2008.
I am reading Groundswell by Forrester Research’s Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. This book is easily one of the most intriguing professional books I’ve read in a while. According to Li and Bernoff the groundswell is:
A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.
While I don’t particularly care for the name they chose to describe the social media phenomenon, I do appreciate the terrific insight and research they’ve provided.
One graphical representation from the book helps explain the Social Technographics® Profile in the form of a Ladder to represent consumers’ social computing behavior categorized by participation.
The social participation rungs in the ladder are (from bottom to top): Inactives, Spectators, Joiners, Collectors, Critics, and Creators with explanations of each. The authors provide various samples of profiles to help drive home the point that different people come to you and your company or organization at very different levels of social media participation.
The POST Method
- Assess the social activities of your People;
- Decide what Objectives you want to accomplish;
- Plan your Strategy for changes in customer relations; then
- Decide on the suitable Technology or technologies to meet your goals.
I was struck by something so simple, but could have serious implications for those interested in social media if forgotten:
The POST method starts with “P” for People.
If you don’t have your people, (audience, stakeholders, customers, community, or any other term you use) your social media strategy will be much harder to effectively implement and accurately assess.
To often Communication/PR practitioners are presented with the challenge of adding a social media to their communication efforts and they jump straight to the latest and greatest social media technology with buzz.
I am all for jumping in and experimenting with social media mainly because you are more credible if you’ve experienced the various forms of social media. This holds true even if you outsource.
However, I caution (from experience) that your community participation assessment should come first.
If the biggest sin in social media is inaction, then I think the biggest mistake is not knowing your people.
This post first appeared on the nextcommunication blog on May 9, 2008
I am proud to be a public relations professional. Some outside people might scoff at the idea of being in PR. They (like many people I would guess) have an antiquated idea of public relations.
There is a great song by Jimmy Buffet, Public Relations off of the Don’t Stop The Carnival album about Norman Paperman, a Broadway press agent who is in need of an awakening:
Up every morning, out every evening
Hustling for headlines, that’s what I do
Table at Sardi’s, grappling for gossip
Working the press for a mention or two
I never acted like some nervous rookie
Right form the start I was hot as a cookie
I was a numero uno
What a debut
Public Relations, Public Relations
Boozing and schmoozing, that’s what I do
PR’s my vocation
And I’m a sensation
Public Relations, Public Relations
Ego inflation, that’s what I do
Isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it fabulou
Public Relations, such hullabaloo
While humorous, the song’s lyrics say what many people may think about PR.
We should not forget the bread and butter of our craft (especially in media relations). However, with the changing communication landscape PR professionals need to be better equipped at integrating social media.
So what does it mean to practice PR? According to the “bible” of public relations, Cutlip, Center and Broom’s definition:
Public relations is a management function that seeks to identify, build, and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and all of the publics on whom its success or failure depends.”
Mutually beneficial relationships
Relationships should be nurtured and grown over time. As a PR professional, I need to seek out and adapt to ways of reaching my organization’s community.
I like the idea of getting rid of the word “users” and replacing it with “guests”.
I agree that we need to be more efficient.
I think Jason Falls is on to something when he asks “Can Advertising Truly Be Social?”
And even though he specifically targets agencies, Todd Defren’s post Five Thoughts on the Future of Public Relations should get the rest of us thinking.
I once read the following:
Don’t confuse revolutionary change with evolutionary change.
In this case, the evolutionary change must come from the PR practitioner. Keep up or get left behind.