It was interesting to read a recent report stating that whilst many PR organisations are now including social media channels as part of PR activity for their clients, the way in which they are using them isn’t as optimised as it could be.
The critical flaw highlighted in the report – is the use of social media channels purely as broadcast channels. Pushing out updates, notices, press releases and news – good old traditional marketing methodology pushed into a conversational platform. But surely effective conversations are meant to be two way – otherwise it’s not a conversation, it’s just noise.
And it’s not just some PR organisations that are getting this wrong. We see activity on the social channels day to day where there’s a lot of ‘talking at’ going on – but not much listening and engaging.
Each time we see this, it breaks our little hearts – as social media channels are perfect resources for engaging with people. Used effectively, they are wonderful channels to engage in authentic conversations, to compel others to connect and share content or your ideas, extending reach and brand awareness – and yet, even though these channels have now been around for a number of years – we continue to see masses of lost opportunity.
Perfect example of pushing yet not listening
For example, we were recently working on a campaign for a client that meant we were tracking a range of keywords to research relevant conversations. In doing this, we uncovered that the PR company working on the campaign (and again, not just getting at PR companies here – there are some PR companies that do social exquisitely) – whilst they were sharing updates on social platforms around a campaign, they were not actually geared up to follow up on any engagement. This meant that questions were being asked, people were asking for more info, where they could find products in which stores etc – and yet no one was engaging. The channel was purely being used to broadcast – nothing more.
My question to you therefore is – are you listening? And if so – is that listening effective? Don’t just plan a campaign and set up a tweet bank to push out a whole bunch of timely tweets – that’s not social, that’s broadcast. Focus your campaign on engagement. Ask the questions:
- How are you going to engage?
- How are you going to encourage engagement?
- How are you going to get the conversations started?
- How are you going to keep conversations continuing?
- How are you going to track conversations?
- How often?
- Who’s listening in?
Basic questions – but all too often this critical aspect is missing from social activity.
Listening is part of being social – let’s not forget that.
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