Social Media is Just Communication: Hope for the Future of Human Interaction

What Makes it a Human Interaction?

If the real key to social media and the monitoring and measurement of it is what happens offline I am hopeful. My personal philosophy and I think the key to my success personally and professionally is the importance of kind, and compassionate human interaction. Understanding people and empowering them to live a meaningful life. The way in which we choose to engage and help one another, in my view, is the most important element of life. So, how does that fit with the prevailing move from traditional communication to social media?pexels-photo-326605.jpeg

Holding on to the Comforts of the Past

I resisted social media professionally and personally, I use it but primarily as an observer. Although, of course, it is by definition, communication, I wasn’t ready for the shift from what I saw as a career that aimed to create more and more human understanding and interaction through education, writing, and particularly events where people talked to each other, presented their experiences and ideas, and celebrated one another. Social Media seemed like a wall between people instead of the interactive tool it is meant to be.

A New Perspective

To some degree, I think I will continue to focus on communications strategies that are more traditional so to speak – articles, newsletters, newspapers, promotions, contests, events (a personal favourite), publications and communicative design, and on an on. The view that I have come to after initial studies in the field of social media, is that social media simply offers more channels or more choice in the vehicles where communications writing can be read and where people can react and respond to it. That’s as traditional and human as it gets.

A Bright Future that Includes Social Media

I cannot predict the future. And, despite my training in Future Casting as a public relations professional, I do not have any real insight into what will be created next in technology or social media. The Future of Social Media

I do know that communication and real human engagement and interaction will always be a cornerstone of the human experience.  Each of us wants to belong to our world, our communities, our families and groups. Each of us wants to be heard. And for that, communication must not only continue, but improve. Social Media and Belonging

Social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, You Tube or other channels, can be part of that improvement. I have come to see the similarities between the tradition in which I am trained – news reported by journalists and the use of media by journalists turned public relations professionals to create images and reputations and to promote ideas and things, inspiring a response from an audience, and the online media where any of us can be a reporter or an influencer. I have some fear of the citizen reporter.

But I have come to see, with a little less resistance than before, that it’s all communication. It all requires the dissemination and interpretation of ideas with the intention to create and inspire an action and reaction from another person or group.

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I still don’t love social media but I get it. I get that writing must still be inspiring and influencial. A writer must still understand her audience, find them and speak to them in a way that inspires an intended response – actions that can be seen and measured to determine the impact of an idea, a person, or a product and with that measurement, the communicator determines the next move. And interaction continues offiline. Doesn’t it?

Offline Activity – Humanity Prevails

I can see, after this initial study, that before anything happens online, in terms of corporate communications, the planning must happen as always. What is the vision and mission of the organization? What are the current strategic goals and how will Communications contribute to the achievement of them.

From there, social media is simply a tool to use, among other Communications tools. My job is the plan a social media strategy that reaches the key audience and achieves objectives in a measurable way.

And it is measurement that not only indicates the impact of the strategy but the actions and interactions of people in response to it. And that’s the result of effective communication – then and now. It is the offline activity – what people do in response to what they see, hear, and read that is important. It is human beings belonging and being heard.

So, after some initial study, I think it’s all okay. Phew! Us traditionalists can do it! Those of us who are accustomed to old media, and who perhaps resisted the new media – social media – can relax in the understanding that it’s all just communication and that’s very human.

Do you think social media creates improved communication, connection, action and interaction or just a greater volume of communicaton? Do we have more belonging and connection due to social media?


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Is Social Media human or is it the end of the human experience as we know it? goo.gl/eeuazq

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Is Social Media human or is it the end of the human experience as we know it? goo.gl/eeuazq

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COMM0011 Blog #3 Social Media Engagement Don’t Fear the Reaction Reshape the Message

As a traditionalist, I’m accustomed to creating a public relations plan delivering the goods measuring the impressions getting the expected numbers resulting from this, primarily one-way communication, and doing it all over again.

Social Media is a much faster, two-way street where the reach of the message is made exponential by key influencers and where the company that created the original communication can participate in the discussion. It is the job of the original messenger (the company) to be willing to listen and to act in a way that achieves its goals with its audience whether the discussion is positive or negative. Despite the risks of negative discussion, social media is a gift of engagement. Messengers can reshape the message like never before.road-street-sign-way.jpg

Traditional Public Relations – One-Way Communication – Disengagement

This is a fairly one way street – as traditional strategies are primarily one-way communication. It’s true that traditional public relations includes surveying audiences to understand the impact of the impressions, however, it is less likely and less common to have robust discussions with the audiences. Although it happens, it is not as common – we Communicators like to leave that to the Marketers.

Of course as Communicators, we scan print and broadcast news. We know how many articles are written and we know the circulation or reach of those channels. But we don’t know how many of the people using those channels, actually listened or read our news. If we create an event, we know how many people within our intended audience were there. If we write for our website, we know how many visitors we received. We create impressions. But do we do not create discussion and we do not know immediately, the actions that result from our communications.

Social Media: Engagement 

Social Media is a whole different animal. Social media is a two-way street. It creates engagement. We send out a message on a channel. We tailor it to the medium with shorter, categorized writing, more headings and sections than usual, more visuals than in traditional media and promotions for what we have written and posted. Now, we get instant feedback. But, not only that. Now we get instant exponential reach. That’s good right? Maybe. It depends on to whom our message goes and by whom it is sent. Yes, it is good that our message gets out to more readers via social media. But who is resending our message? Who is our influencer? What discussion is (s)he creating? Is our message getting to our intended audience? Is the discussion promoting what we, the messenger – the company intended? Maybe or maybe not. These are all risks that exist in traditional media too. The disadvantage of traditional media is that creating a conversation with our audience was a whole exercise on its own.

Whatever the risks of the engagement created by social media, we must see this two-way street as a positive and learn to inquire with our readers and respond in a way that furthers our objectives. We must become more agile – ready to hear the discussion and not only become part of it in a way we have not done before but also to listen. In listening we learn what our target audience actually wants and we have a whole new opportunity at our finger tips – the opportunity to accept what the audience tells us  and to use it to make adjustments to our products or services and to find a new pathway to meeting and exceeding the needs of our audiences.

Stay Engaged And Continually Reshape the Message

In today’s world of fully engaged communications – the two way street of social media–  we immediately measure the impact of communications strategies, and respond accordingly – according to the expanded audience given to us by influencers. When we read the measurements, we can react in real time. Of course the result we seek is a combination of:

  1. Lots of people, on lots of channels talking about our company, product or service
  2. Good things being said, posted, shared, and shared and shared…
  3. All of this good promotion = action – conversions such as sales

We aim for positive message. We aim for control. Controlling Damage It’s still a negative result when the information out there is negative. And we could say that thanks to the engaged audiences on social media, the damage is exponential compared to the traditional, primarily one-way street of traditional public relations.

Controlling the Message  But, there’s a difference when it comes to full engagement. If we are willing to accept the negative discussion that could occur, it is the exact tool we need to turn the tide. It is not the negative discussion that is important (go with me here), it is our reaction to it, the timing of that reaction and how we as communicators then reshape the message.  It is our continual engagement and willingness to face what comes that presents the opportunity to improve and to reshape and control the message no matter the initial reaction to our social media strategies and no matter the reach it had.

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Are you the social media influencer who frightens the corporations?                              Click. Comment. Share. What you say Matters!

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Social Media Discussions: The End of Controlling the Message                                                 Is the risk to great?

 

Social Media Relations & Writing vs. Traditional Media Relations & Writing Old Skills Apply in the New Media – You Can do It – COM0011

If you are a public relations writer who has successfully engaged the media, written press releases, gained the covered you intended that helped you achieve your goals with your audience, you can write online and for social media using the same basic tenants with  just a couple of minor adjustments. Make them, and you can control the messages and use the results like never before.

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 The Old Days of PR Writing

In the old days, if you were a public relations manager, you would develop a media relations strategy; develop relationships with media who were pertinent to your field, who wrote for your audience and specific subjects, pitch stories, write a media release, create and distribute a media kit manage a press conference as part of a media relations campaign and then monitor targeted to count impressions and evaluate the impact of the story or campaign upon the organization’s reputation, sales, community outreach targets and the like. Your ability to create a relationship, write and evaluate impact were all you needed.

The Online & Social Media Way

Today, the process is just about the same. You must understand your audience and subject, know your targeted media and what they are writing or broadcasting about, develop relationships with them, write a media release…. Well, that’s where the process might be a little different today. In addition to all of the things you would have done before, social media offers a whole new channel for media relations, writing, and public relations that is far more engaging than the old-time outgoing messaging, that although still important, don’t offer your organization the opportunity to truly know its audience, their needs, and motivations, how to gather and use that information to inspire action – whatever action you need. Social Media Engagement – New Media Relations

This is what’s new to you and I who are at most, accustomed to developing a strategy, pitching, writing and measuring impressions. If you drove the story and news cycle very effectively, the story would intrigue the media writers or broadcasters and your organization may then get some calls or emails from your audience and you’d have the chance to answer questions. That was success!

Social Media Brings Engagement

Today, if you write and promote very well, and listen and watch what your audience has to say, what your audience does, where they go online and with whom they interact, respond and go that one step further by understanding the motivations of each person in the audience, who interacts, you measure the actions and motivations and create content, products and services based upon those motivations, you’ve moved into the present and future of public engagement, and out of the old world of public relations driven simply by outbound communication.

Once you are in this new world of engagement, you’ll want to understand the difference between your traditional writing for media and writing for social media of all kinds. Web Writing – Keep it Short & Organized

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10 keys to Effective Media or Social Media Relations & Writing:

  1. Know your goals & objectives
  2. Know your audiences & where to find them
  3. Write for your audience & the channels they are on – remember to engage influencers
  4. Know which channels to use & how to promote yourself, your company, your content
  5. Keep it short
  6. Have a provocative headline / title
  7. Organize by subtitles
  8. Use links to further information
  9. Use strong images
  10. Include a call to action

If you can Write a Media Release, You Can Write for Social Media – #3 Engage the Influencers & #5 keep it short

Since most of the 10 keys are traditional PR strategy and writing 101, the focus for you, if you are new to social media writing is finding influencers and keeping your writing short. Each paragraph can almost be considered a sound bite. If you know how to write a media release, in essence, you know how to write content for channels such as a blog or a website. The information answers the traditional 5 W’s: What? Where? When? Who? Why? and How? Links to deeper content satisfy the reader’s need for more information if there is a desire. The links fill in the information that traditionally came from a media interview that followed the release and helped to create a newspaper article or feature. And where you once managed relationships with traditional reporters, find the online influencers – industry bloggers and the like.

Promoting Content and Driving Traffic 

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Pexels

The other new element is promoting your content and driving traffic. In traditional media: newspapers, radio and television broadcast you developed media relationships, pitched a story, acted as a spokesperson or provided a subject matter expert to speak on behalf of the organization and then you waited to see what was published. If your job was very well done and your media relationships were working for you, your media relations – the reporter, reached your audience with the story you intended, or there abouts.

Social media requires you, to be the writer and to ensure that you are on the channel where your audience will engage and you are responsible for ensuring that they find, read and engage with your content. It may sound like more work but it equals more control and consistent messages.

Promoting Your Content
For example, if you blog or Vlog on Blogger.com or WordPress.com or YouTube, and if you want to further use your blog (which may also sit on your website), to drive traffic to your website to educate the audience or ask them to act – buy or engage in a service, you must also know how to write a promotion to drive your reader to your content where they go on a regular basis – Twitter and Facebook are great examples where a photo and cut line style promotion can inspire the readers to click on the photo or ‘cutline’ to read your full blog including further reading links and land on your website where they can take action. Promote Your Content & Call for Action

So, when it comes to creating a media relationship you now must also be on the right social media channels and know how to drive your audience to the story. This is not so different from creating a relationship with a reporter is it?

Don’t change the way you write if you are already an experienced public relations writer. You already know the tenants of intriguing and strategic content. You already know about goals, targeting your audience, communications vehicles, headlines, and photos.

What’s different? The Difference Between Traditional and Social Media

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Practice keeping it short. You can have plenty of content – just look at this blog, it’s not particularly short. But, keep it simple and use links to deeper content. Find the influencers such as bloggers in your field to focus on your target audience and promote your content on social engagement sites such as Facebook and micro-blog sites such as twitter . These tools can drive readers to your blog, the blogs of influencers who advocate and act as ambassadors for your product or service and to your website where ultimately you want them to act by purchasing a product or service.

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Get Started: Check out Twitter.com and Facebook.com. Take a look at promotional posts and practice how you can create promotions for your blog and other online content or to drive traffic directly to your website.

 

 

 

 

Adapting to Social Media: Old Media Professionals Can Have Renewed Success – You can do it.

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Source: Pexels     No more peaking! Come on out and get on social media for real 

Coming out of Hiding

I’ve been on social media (Facebook) since 2007. Over the past 10 years I must say that I have not learned a lot about it. I have enjoyed connecting with friends and family, staying in touch, and reconnecting with people over the medium. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention, my Facebook news feed looks like a sweet tooth’s heaven. If it’s decadent, I have the recipe. Social media has essentially become my new cook book.

But, is that all there is? Although I have been in Public Relations & Corporate Communications for the better part of a decade, I haven’t had the opportunity to use social media as a tool in my work and didn’t really look at it from a public relations perspective if you can believe it!

So, I began to wonder: are there others out there like me – successful professionals who are masters of the old media: print and broadcast media relations, website content, events and presentations, who can no longer avoid dipping a toe into the (relatively) fresh waters of social media?

I consider myself good at what I do. But I didn’t even look at Twitter, Pinterest, Snap-Chat, Instagram and the like until just recently. How good do I think I am if I am ignoring a medium that has grown from .97 billion users in 2010 to 2.46 billion in 2010.  Social Media Use 2010-2017 . I began applying to Corporate Communications / Public Relations jobs recently and opportunity after opportunity required experience with social media strategy in promoting organizations, branding, and customer service. I was at a loss.

I was able to gain invitations to interview and even made it to the top two candidates in an interview process. I was not chosen for the role. Finally I decided it was time to engage in these new media and to learn.

 Finding a Community of People

I started talking about social media and my lack of experience with it as a professional tool; and I looked for information about older professionals learning social media, I decided to create an online community where communications professionals might help one another over this hurdle.  Let’s talk about what it’s like to be a mid-senior level corporate communications professional who does not have experience with social media as a communications or marketing strategy:

 Succeeding in the New World Media – An “Old Media” PR Professional Needs to Know:

  • Social media in relation to marketing and public relations
  • An essential element in the mix of corporate communications strategy
  • Learning to use social media as the tool it can be
  • What next?

Social Media: An Essential Element in Corporate Communications Strategy

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Source: Pexels

These days, a company must find its customers and must live and breathe within the space of the customer. It is our job – the job of the Communications professional to learn about the vast array of online social media communities and to recommend to our organizations, which communities are most likely to be those of customers and potential customers. This is not so different from the old mantra “Know Your Audience”. You must know who will use your service or buy your product and where he or she is. Now our customers are online. Go there! Dabble, learn and then engage. Write to and for your audience just as you would if you were the spokesperson for your organization in a media article that promotes your company, its products or services. And then aim to learn the specific nuances of social media, channels, links and how to use them to drive the actions you want from your audience. You’ll need to adjust your writing style too but perhaps not as much as you think. Remember that you must go to the individuals for who you are looking. Engaging with the individual is a benefit of social media that traditional media does not offer. The audience engaging in a given social media platform communicates with you the marketer and they become each other’s experts. This is another shift from the traditional use of experts from organizations or academia. The shift of control and expertise to the audience is new yes, but it can be used to your advantage as you have greater access to members of the audience to further influence their behavior. Different yes. But not so different. Traditional Media vs. Social Media

You can do it!

Why? Social Media is Essential in Marketing & Public Relations

Look all around! It’s everywhere. Social Media is an essential part of any thorough communications strategy because this is how people communicate. It’s where you will find your audience.

Write a blog and link it to your twitter post and, or your website. Write a client profile and post it with a link and an intriguing photo on the company’s twitter feed. Make sure that in any blog or profile there are links to further information about the topic of focus, about your company and of course about whatever it is you aim to promote or sell. Make sure that ultimately, each link brings the reader to a place where he or she can buy your product or take the action you wish them to take. Your goal could be to promote your company’s reputation, to sell its shoes or computers, to survey clients, to gain potential clients by offering a low or no cost product if they provide an email address. The list of actions a reader and potential company ambassador or customer can take is endless. But, make sure your photos, your headline, and your content are on the right social media channel and hold the attention of your reader until he or she takes the intended action. This is very similar to what you always aimed at – engagement and then action by participation or purchase. It’s not so different.

You can do it.

 Learning & Integrating Social Media

Go For it! Learn. There are endless options for learning how to choose social media channels and how to manage them to your advantage; how to write for social media, how to find and most effectively engage your target audience, how to respond and leverage comments and content about your organization (customer care online) and how to create and execute an effective social media strategy. You can go to school in class or online; you can attend webinars and seminars and these options are available full-time, part-time, online or in person and at times to suit everyone. If you don’t need a formal class or seminar, find a colleague or perhaps your newest direct report who has come up with this technology and take the opportunity to learn from him. It’s a great opportunity to empower your staff and to engage with them in a way that allows them to showcase their skills. Learning is not so different either! Learn Social Media for Professional Success

You can do it.

What’s Next for us – the professionals who are navigating this new media?

Social Media is essential. It is fun. It is different. But it is not so different from engaging the “old media”: print and broadcast channels of yesterday (and they are still relevant today). Professionals must still get to know the media; prepare information, write content, publish, connect published content to other elements in the broader media and communication or marketing strategy of your organization and respond to reactions on an ongoing basis. We must also continue to tell stories. That’s what we as communicators do. Remember the adage and continue to use it: Tell it all. Tell it fast. Tell it accurately.

Just do it through the new medium of social media and its various options or channels. If we remember to continue to apply our communications skills of writing, story-telling and building reputations through communications and the various strategies and tactics that have made us successful in the past, we will succeed in using this new tool successfully too. It’s not so different. I’m doing it.

You can do it – too.

Engage!

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Source: Pexels

Please share your story of learning and engaging the new media – social media. Tell our blog community about what you have learned. Tell us about your challenges and successes and stay tuned here for upcoming discussions that will focus on specific elements we all need to learn in order to be successful Communicators through social media.

Upcoming Topics for Discussion

  1. Developing & Using Experts to Promote your Brand vs. the Social Media Expert / Influencer
  2. Writing Social Media Content vs. Writing Media Releases and Matte Stories
  3. Measurement: Social Media Measurement vs. Measuring Media, Promotions, Events etc