One of the most popular questions we’ll receive from new users of any social media platform is, “What is the right way to do social media?”
The first reaction is always to tell people how not to do it. The things to watch out for. The risks that can be involved. The mistakes that people have made or the things that have caused embarrassment for individuals and organizations. In a world of minimizing risk and fear of new things, these are natural and needed. I prefer to use those as anecdotal support for the direct question of what can go wrong.
There is no set formula for doing it right. I have seen organizations and individuals do the exact same thing with different outcomes and results. One reasons is the audience, another, the language and still another the platform of choice for the message.
Doing it right will always follow some basic principles. Professional, dedicated, consistent, and focused to name a few. Your social media use does not need to be perfect, but you need to strive for perfection. Meaning: mistakes will happen. Learn from them, recognize them and don’t repeat them.
Professional – you are representing an industry that at all times must be professional. That includes how you speak, engage, and share.
Dedicated – to the people you serve and what’s in their best interest. It’s all about them, never you. The core values, mission, and vision of your agency have to be your guiding objectives.
Consistent – don’t just dabble. Put both feet in and let your public know you are there. The more you share, engage, and promote, the more you will be heard and in turn the more you can hear.
Focused – you have to implement a strategy for your efforts. In this day and age of tight budgets and limited resources, there is no time or money to waste.
On that note. If you are coming to the IACP Annual Conferenc
e in Chicago, drop by and hear from the real people, real agencies that are actually doing it right. The Public Information Officers Track
is full of great examples and you can even “Meet the bloggers.” Encourage your delegates to drop by. Free information, from policy to procedure, tutorials to tech. Time to talk and no theoretical thinking… the real practical users of social media technology. For us, it’s not just, “What if’…”; it’s real.