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Did Social Media Hijack My Communications Strategy
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Did Social Media Hijack My Communications Strategy


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This presentation focuses on the challenges facing communications teams and chart viable strategies for creating an effective presence in the Web 2.0 world—punctuated by valuable lessons learned from …

This presentation focuses on the challenges facing communications teams and chart viable strategies for creating an effective presence in the Web 2.0 world—punctuated by valuable lessons learned from our biggest failures. The discussion will be relevant to businesses that need to gain footing and find a path to maintain relevance in the social web.

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  • The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M can show that social media did not kill your communication and engagement opportunities, but instead has given you an opening to interact with (and even grow!) your target audience. This will bring to light the conundrum facing communications teams and chart viable strategies for creating an effective presence in the Web 2.0 world (...with help from our biggest failures). Clearly the discussion of these issues and the development of strategic, sound solutions are essential for survival. These solutions are applicable to businesses that need to gain their footing and find a path to maintain relevancy in this new climate.
  • If web strategy were an outfit, social media would be the hat. Surviving in a post Facebook-world means having a strategy, and a strategy isn’t 100% dependent on social media. Social media plays a very important role, but don’t forget about your other tools!
  • Many organizations are in a state of flux (or panic) trying to figure out how they fit into the social media landscape. The “broadcast only” communications model has been turned upside down by social media. Have Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites made your communications irrelevant, stale, or just archaic? Have they removed you from the communications equation? Fear not – social media is actually good news.
  • Going back a few years, we, like many others, attempted to create our own walled-garden social networking site. This initiative cost significant amounts of time, money, effort and ultimately created a stand-alone, and dare we say “exclusive,” social network. We convinced ourselves that our constituents wanted controlled access and interaction. Right! Right? Wrong. For the most part, the project was more of a burden than anything that fostered interaction. Note the Mashable article 10 Ways Universities Are Engaging Alumni Using Social Media ( – way Number 5 was our valiant attempt (we filled that need of a “here’s what not to do” example). Many, many months of planning, countless man-hours attempting to generate (force) the fervor and—the worst part – creating relevant, provocative, and engaging content. We were exceedingly reluctant and stubborn about acknowledging the dropping participation numbers (which was the exact opposite trend of our Facebook numbers – they were growing although, in comparison, we were not expending near as much effort). Although we moved away from this strategy, we did not abandon social engagement on our site.
  • Once we found our customers and entered their world, we immediately saw results in participation and dialogue. I was also very excited to find the our LARGEST brand presence was a LinkedIn… and it wasn’t even started by our organization. Brand evangelizers can be a very powerful force – a side-benefit of social media!
  • Find out where your people are before you jump into any network!
  • There are many ways in which you can be relevant, interesting, inspirational, fun make money in the social media realm. In most cases, this involves a fundamental shift in how we engage our constituents. Although there is still a place for broadcast communications, this section will cover the importance of entering world (blogs, social networks, video/photo sharing) and becoming a part of the dialog (and this really is communicating BOTH directions), without the impetus to control it. The notion of giving up control is probably the most difficult hurdle that creates heartache and discomfort for marketers and communicators, BUT it is a reality and a requirement they must accept in order to maintain any relevancy. Don’t accept that the biggest social network is automatically your solution. It depends on your business, your customers, and your goals for social media.
  • No matter how legitimate your emails are, if you look like spam, you aren’t getting to the inbox. Email is a much trickier game than it used to be. This is one case where big numbers only mean something if they are legit numbers. Anyone can buy an email list, but that won’t deliver results and may just get you blacklisted.Source: ReturnPath, a great resource for email-related research.
  • you don’t have a mobile presence, you may be setting yourself to be at a disadvantage (and it’s only going to get worse in the coming years!).
  • It’s easier than you think to get started with your mobile presence.
  • Strategy first, tools later!
  • Don’t go searching for the social media silver bullet, because it doesn’t exist. Your awareness of best and worst practices will get you on the best footing, but moving forward, you need to be able to adapt. Metrics are your friend and can help guide your strategy.
  • In both cases, the companies addressed the issue at hand… but the results were very different. Here’s a link with some interesting Twitter case studies -
  • I like the way Dell branded their site-based community. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
  • This is a prototype / futureversion of our site that my team is working on. Even though a full-blown social network wasn’t a success for us, we still identified a need for social aspects on our websites that couldn’t be filled by the major social networks. We have focused content which can be re-aggregated based on our constituents’ interest; it is shareable both to websites and the social networks where they spend most of their time. We also had a need to be able to connect people regardless of their participation on other social networks. Now when we asked ourselves “What are we providing them that they can’t get somewhere else,” we have a clear answer. With our walled-garden social network, we didn’t. Even if you can’t identify a need for an integrated social solution on your website, you still need to make your content easily shareable. Shareable content is a great way to increase your brand’s presence and drive traffic back to your site.
  • Point #3 is one of the hardest sells you will have to your leadership.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Did Social Media Hijack My Communications Strategy?
      How to Survive
      in a Post-Facebook World
    • 2. Mike Smith
      Twitter: @MikeSmithDev
      Contact Information
      My opinions do not represent those of Texas A&M University or The Association of Former Students
    • 3. Did social media steal my control over communications?
      If you build it, will they come?
      Engage your customers where they live
      Where does email fit?
      Going mobile
      So how do we do it?
    • 4. What This Brief Is Not: 100% SM
      Don’t worry about your “Hat Strategy” if you are naked
      When we talk social media strategy, we are really talking web strategy.
    • 5. Social media has claimed its role as an integral part of Web 2.0
      Has your “broadcast only” communications model been turned upside down?
      Have you been removed from the communications equation?
      Current Climate
      The Reality: You have a powerful new medium to connect with your audience.
    • 6. Creating location / content / need
      Tackling Social Networking… the wrong way
    • 7. What Happened When We Entered Their World
      Not shown: LinkedIn group, Aggie Networking with 14,000+ members. Currently not affiliated with The Association, but we are working to build a relationship.
    • 8. Engage Your ConstituentsWhere They “Live”
    • 9. Outside of the “Facebook arena”
      Video sharing
      Photo sharing
      Engage Your ConstituentsWhere They “Live”
      It’s about finding your customers and becoming a part of the dialogue.
    • 10. Email sent in 2009: 90T
      95% is SPAM
      Reputation matters:
      20% do NOT reach the inbox
      Complaints of .4% can severely damage delivery
      Email: Death by Spam
      Spam complaints
      Source: ReturnPath study 2009
      Frequency, message, & audience must be on target
    • 11. Going Mobile
    • 12. Going Mobile
      Written specifically for a particular device
      Doesn’t require web access
      Can take advantage of all the features of the device
      Mobile site:
      A version of your site optimized for a mobile device
      Doesn’t rely on the mobile OS
      Viewable on any smart phone
      Establish your mobile site first to increase your brand’s reach
    • 13. Do you know why you are getting involved?
      What is your social media strategy?
      Who are you targeting?
      Your audience can help determine your choice of tool
      What do you expect to get out of social media?
      What are you providing to your customer?
      Who is responsible for it?
      Don’t let your content wither and die
      So How Do I Do It?
    • 14. There are no social media silver bullets
      So How Do I Do It?
      Which is OK… since social media isn’t a werewolf
      Awareness of best AND worst practices
      Ability to measure & adapt your strategy
    • 15. Examples
      How other organizations have utilized social media
      Where social media can exist on your website
      How to start getting involved in their networks
      How to manage your mass email strategy
      Examples of mobile sites
      Watching trends
      So How Do I Do It?
    • 16. Using Social Media Tools
      SeaWorld: Following the tragic attack by a killer whale, they had a rapid and appropriate response
      Nestle: Environmental activists pressured Nestle about palm oil purchases on their FB page.
      Nestle’s replies were followed by a negative social media response even though they addressed the palm oil issue
    • 17. Is your site social?
    • 18. Is your site social?
    • 19.
      Twitter brand alerts
      Link backtracking
      Google Alerts
      Search notifications, Attensity/Biz360,
      Integrated monitoring
      Real time social media search
      Blogs / search
      Monitor your brand
    • 20. When you are ready to get involved, remember:
      Social media is a two-way conversation
      Be genuine
      10% of 100 is better than 0% of 1,000,000
      Promote your users
      Don’t broadcast all of the time: discuss relevant content (to brand/industry) that isn’t your own
      Respond to criticism as needed, in a positive way
      Social Media Strategy – Next Steps
    • 21. Ensure you can effectively measure campaign success and adjust strategy accordingly
      A/B tests
      Convio –
      StrongMail –
      Constant Contact –
      MailChimp -
      Establish an Email Strategy
    • 22. Pick the most important aspect of your site, and design it for a smart phone
      Over time, add more to your mobile functionality
      Harness the benefits, like location data
      Establish a Mobile Presence
    • 23. Mashable -
      Social media news and tips
      MediaPost –
      SocialMediaInsider blog
      Smart Brief -
      Industry-specific email newsletters
      eMarketer –
      Digital marketing intelligence
      Stay Atop Trends
    • 24. Create a social media & content strategy first. This will determine the tools you need
      Don’t be too reliant on a 3rd party social network or tools. Strategy trumps tools
      Integrate your website, mobile, social, and email strategies
      Social media isn’t free. It takes time, resources, and dedication
      It’s not about the numbers. Organically grow. Focus on brand loyalty/engagement
      5 Key Takeaways
    • 25. Mike Smith
      Twitter: @MikeSmithDev
      Contact Information