Social Media

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Over the past decade a myriad of sites and platforms have emerged with functionality that allow us instant access to other members of our group or community. Most of these interactive solutions cost absolutely nothing, but this is a double-edged sword. Social Media has fundamentally changed Advertising and Public Relations. Social Media has brought with it the concept of real-time advertising, or conversation marketing. While first-wave social networks were open to anyone, next-wave social networks will likely filter noise and be much more targeted to groups with specific affinities.

Social Media platforms offer two primary communication strategies: profiles and display advertising. As a member of the Social Media platform your organization can cultivate an audience with real-time updates, pics, videos or otherwise. As an advertiser, Social Media platforms allow you to reach members of your target audience with display advertisements based on their affinities. These are two very different strategies for Social Media but, when performed correctly, they can both help you grow your brand.

With traditional media advertisers and public relations professionals would spend weeks, if not months, crafting and planning publicity or awareness campaigns to be run in newspapers, magazines, television stations and so on. For professional communicators nothing is an accident; copy, images, slogans, colors, fonts & layouts are chosen with great care. In today’s interactive media environment every business has the ability to communicate with their target audience with little to no investment at all; however, many businesspeople aren’t trained in the art of professional communication. Knowing how to use a site is not the same as knowing how, when, and why to use specific communication strategies and tactics.

Using a Fan Page or a Profile on a site like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, Vimeo or Orkut, can win an audience over; it can also drive away contacts, customers and leads. Crafting business communication is an art form. Knowing how to hit speaking points while remaining concise is an art form. Using key words is an art form. And yes, winning over an audience is an art form.

Now consider that many social networks allow you to create and combine your profile account with other networks. Open source platforms like WordPress are extremely flexible in that developers are constantly creating social network plugins & widgets to allow your site to be a “central hub” for all your social communication efforts. Truly, the amount of possibilities is dizzying, which is why the identification of communication objectives is so helpful. Which type of online communities can you utilize for your organization?

Consider all of the free types interactive channels at your disposal:

1. Instant Messaging
2. Location and Status Networks
3. Blogging
4. General Social Networks
5. Specialized Social Networks
6. Professional Social Networks
7. Video Sharing Networks
8. Image or Photo Networks
9. Bookmarking Networks

Communication objectives set the guidelines for the communication strategy for your organization. Yes, it is easy to create a profile account in a social network. But, how will it be utilized? How will it be strategically employed to fulfill your communication objectives? How should it be integrated with other network profiles? What type of copy, taglines, images, colors, fonts or layout will be utilized?

Social networks can be a double-edged sword. Ironically, they are probably utilized most sparingly by professional communicators. At the end of the day, your organization must treat your immediate access to your target audience with great care in order to create a positive brand experience with every “touch.” Vagary can help you select your social network communities based on your communication objectives. We can help you set up your profiles, integrate with other networks, and assist with strategic message points. Vagary is Social Media Solutions.