For many traditional media specialists, social media is seen more as a hobby, on the periphery of mainstream media. Changing this perception, or to out it differently: thinking outside the box, takes time. This course, and this certificate program, provides a formalized structure to do just that: Think outside the box, and appreciate the enormous potential of social media – particularly as they relate to listening, demographics, analysis and applications.
Listening: This course has, among other things, afforded me the opportunity to better understand how social media must be and should be an integral part of any communications strategy or marketing plan. It also means that any successful communications plan must focus more on listening to the target audience(s) as opposed to having the audience listen to you.
Demographics: My line of work tends to focus on an older demographic which has a particular social media presence. But any effective outreach program must reach out to as many target audience(s) as possible and this can be most successful by identifying the demographic characteristics of these audience(s) (including your competition) and reaching out to their specific social media networks.
Analysis: The biggest challenge, once you understand all of the sources of information found on social media, is to develop a means of getting your message to stand out all-the-while developing a search matrix to find the right, pertinent and cogent pieces of information and feedback that is out there.
Applications: Through this course and certificate program, I have come to appreciate the enormous potential of five social media apps: WordPress, , LinkedIn, Facebook, user generated content (UGC). and free media monitoring through Google. All of these will, henceforth, be an integral part of any communications plan.
That said, one must also include an ability to manage all of the social media we intend to use. Thus far my preferred method is Hootsuite.
To summarize, social media is more than a hobby and when subjected to the same rigors of structure, research, discipline in messaging as traditional media, it will allow us: “…to connect, network, build your personal profile and brand in many ways.” This capacity, in turn, will have a direct impact on our ability to think outside the box and develop a more successful communications or marketing plan that you may wish to embark upon.