The thing I hear most with PR practitioners and their reluctance to get started with social media is that they don’t know where to start. Often people get intimidated with the technology. My advice:
- If you’re not afraid to have a conversation with a person, get over being intimidated by the technology. Social media is not about technology, it’s about the people at the other end of that technology. In fact, face-to-face interaction is just an important as the relationship you maintain online. Technology is just an enabler of that conversation, so just start the dialogue.
- There’s no “right” place to get started. BUT there’s a right time and that’s NOT when you’re trying to pitch something. It’s important to establish your credibility online before you can expect people to care about what you have to say and ultimately get engaged.
- Social media does not replace your other PR activities. This comes up time and time again when people think that social media is the magic bullet to save their product after other marketing didn’t work. Truth is, if you have a product that people don’t want, putting a video on YouTube won’t save it. Through communications planning you can be strategic and see how social media can be incorporated by tailoring your content to what your audience wants to see.
- Be a real person. I’m highly unlikely to follow you on Twitter for example, if all you have in your profile is business related interests. I want to know that I’m going to be talking to someone who’s not just going to pitch me all the time. Even if you’re reluctant to post personal information for privacy reasons, find something you’re comfortable with. So you may not be posting things about your family for example, but the fact that you’re an avid sailor may be something you’re comfortable with. Personally sailing doesn’t interest me but I’m more likely to follow you because I know you won’t be all business.