Social Media Strategy


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Social Media Strategy

  1. 1. CHAMBER/GO TOPEKA SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 120 SE Sixth Avenue, Suite 110 Topeka, KS 66603-3515 785.234.2644
  2. 2. Goals and Objectives Social media has two main attractions for Chamber/GO Topeka use: the ability for information to spread virally and the opportunity to connect with those outside the office on a different, more personal, level. By implementing a strong social media presence the Chamber and GO Topeka can further several goals: Promote positive news about Chamber/GO Topeka happenings and counter false/negative information. Engage the Topeka community in a positive, friendly way to foster relationships and help stoke the sort of community pride attractive to incoming businesses. Help local businesses interact with the public in a way that will help foster success and growth. Network with developers, consultants, and site selectors to build relationships that could help bring opportunities for new primary jobs to Topeka. Follow the trends and conversations happening among active Topekans. Become proactive and preemptive in spreading the word about present and future happenings with the Chamber and GO Topeka. The growth and popularity of social media present a unique opportunity to the Chamber/GO Topeka staff, as it represents a shift in information control from traditional media to the general public. These goals and objectives can be met by presenting an active and cohesive presence on the internet through consumer generated media such as blogs, social networking sites, videos, podcasts, and other such venues to coincide with the continued use of traditional venues. Target Audience The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce and GO Topeka represent a broad spectrum in regard to their potential audience—ranging from citizens and prospective citizens, to business owners and professionals, to development consultants and site selectors. This wide variety will necessitate a flexibility in communication in the different ways staff utilizes social media. Key Messages What makes social media different from traditional media is that the emphasis is on personal connection. It is an opportunity to remind people that real people are putting forth the effort to make the Chamber and GO Topeka work—people who live, work, and participate in the Topeka community like so many others. When engaging with the public, it is an opportunity to remove perceived barriers and destroy the idea of the great bureaucratic monolith. When networking with professionals considering Topeka to relocate, it is an opportunity to act as an example of the sort of active, enthusiastic, industrious population that resides in the city. In either circumstance, the emphasis is on establishing relationships. WE CAN DO THAT 785.234.2644 -1-
  3. 3. The best strategy is to ensure that all individuals involved at the Chamber and GO Topeka through traditional and new media are creating a cohesive message to the public. By presenting a consistent, cross-channel message, whereby each medium is contributing to—and feeding off—another, the combined effort can be greater than the sum of its parts. Specifically relating to social media, the focus should be on the following messages: The Topeka community has a lot to offer its current and future residents, including quality education, a thriving business community, a high quality of life, and bright prospects for further growth. The Chamber and GO Topeka are dedicated to starting up, relocating, expanding, and growing business in Topeka and Shawnee County. Communications can also be used for promoting Chamber members, trumpeting Chamber/GO Topeka successes, alerting people to Chamber/GO Topeka events, and establishing connections with consultants and site selectors. When possible, the WE CAN DO THAT campaign should be incorporated into social media outreach. Action Plan The following steps should be taken to implement social media as a communication tool for the Chamber/GO Topeka: Training Andrew Davis will conduct training for all staff members in LinkedIn and Twitter. Sessions should be divided up according to appropriate experience in usage of social media and all staff should be encouraged to participate. The sessions will focus on the basics of how to use the social media (if necessary) and how the Chamber/GO Topeka plans to use them. LinkedIn LinkedIn will act as a professional connection for Chamber/GO Topeka staff. Each staff member will create and maintain a LinkedIn profile and search out groups on the network that will help them establish connections that are beneficial to their positions. LinkedIn groups have a discussion board feature where staff can engage other professionals in their field in conversation. Certain GO Topeka staff can find groups pertaining to economic development, the bio industry and “green” business, the technology industry, and other appropriate groups where they have the possibility to bring companies to Topeka and/or build relationships within the field. Chamber staff can interact with other chambers of commerce through groups, as well as build connections with area professionals and businesses. We also have the opportunity to form our own groups within the LinkedIn network to help build connections among community businesses and professionals. Those responsible for certain areas can WE CAN DO THAT 785.234.2644 -2-
  4. 4. maintain a group centered on DBE programs, area existing businesses, Chamber members, start-up businesses, as well as any others that can be folded into the overarching theme of building a stronger business community in Topeka and establishing the presence of the Chamber/GO Topeka on the Web. Twitter Twitter will provide an opportunity for Chamber/GO Topeka staff to disperse information and have it spread virally. This tool may find more use with community interaction, but as it continues to grow (1400%+ growth since February, 2009 and still considered to be in its beginning stages) we may find it offers a great opportunity to connect and build relationships with those businesses and individuals looking to come into the city. The Chamber/GO Topeka can maintain a Twitter account, as well as a DBE account and/or a Topeka Businesses account. More importantly, however, is that each Chamber/GO Topeka staff member create their own Twitter page, where they can help spread news by “retweeting” the organization’s posts, as well as adding their own unique information. People will be more likely to follow individuals than they will a company, and it will provide each Chamber/GO Topeka staff member an opportunity to connect with the business and professional community. Chamber/GO Topeka staff can “tweet” about organization news, forward helpful articles found on the Web, help area businesses spread their “tweets,” engage other Twitter users in conversation, and receive feedback from the public. This will also help spread the word about Chamber/GO Topeka to the local news media, who are increasingly finding stories and sources via social media such as Twitter. Facebook The Chamber/GO Topeka will have a Facebook fan page set up and maintained by Andrew Davis to help pass along information from the organization and help keep the public apprised of events, news, and happenings in the community. Those Chamber/GO Topeka staff members already on Facebook will be encouraged to become fans of the Facebook page and help publicize it. Individual Facebook pages for staff members won’t be required, as the network’s setup doesn’t readily lend itself toward furthering the Chamber/GO Topeka goals. YouTube A Chamber/GO Topeka YouTube channel has already been established, and so far a few commercials have been placed on it. This channel can be used to post more Chamber/GO Topeka-created videos to emphasize aspects of Topeka we’d like to see promoted more: Quality of life, opportunities for business development, showcasing education and our skilled workforce, and business profiles. WE CAN DO THAT 785.234.2644 -3-
  5. 5. Blog Establishing a blog on the Chamber/GO Topeka Web site will help the organization more actively promote news, information, and events with regular updates. A blog will allow for easy archiving, categorizing, and searching of Chamber/GO Topeka news. By adding a widget that will allow readers to quickly and easily share the stories through their own social media accounts, it will help to further enhance the viral spreading of a unique Chamber/GO Topeka message. The blog will be maintained and edited by Andrew Davis, though the flexibility of the blog will allow multiple users to add information, both informational and as commentary. A commenting policy will be drawn up and displayed on the blog, though close monitoring of the comments will only need to be enforced if they appear to be becoming a problem. Cross-Channel Promotion Whenever possible, interaction between the social media will help proliferate the information and help get people involved in multiple ways with the Chamber/GO Topeka. By organizing and unifying a cohesive message across all channels, the message will have a greater chance of finding its way into the public, being understood, and taking hold. Tone & Content It’s important that communications from Chamber/GO Topeka social media maintain a professional tone; however, with the emphasis being placed on relationships within this particular platform, it’s also important that each user incorporates their personality into their interactions. Content needs to be relevant and useful for it to have an impact, but there also must be an element of entertainment in order for it to catch a person’s attention long enough to keep them interested. This doesn’t mean every post must contain some joke or quip, but rather that posts should sound like the individual they’re coming from. People want to know there’s an actual person on the other end, and engaging people in a friendly, personal manner is how social media etiquette works. In short, you want people to come because they like you, but stay because it benefits them. Evaluation Quantitative To measure the level of success in Web and social media, we can look at certain numbers as a means to gauge our efforts: How many fans/followers do we have? How many @ mentions on Twitter? WE CAN DO THAT 785.234.2644 -4-
  6. 6. How many unique visitors have come to our site? How many have been routed there through Twitter/Facebook/YouTube? How many responses are we getting to Facebook discussion boards and blog posts? By measuring these and other statistics like them, and by comparing the statistics to other comparable chambers of commerce and economic development agencies, we can get some sense of public response. Qualitative Certain factors to gauge success won’t be measurable in numbers, as readily available, or as quick to develop, but can likely be a better measure of how our efforts are received: Has what we’ve said via social media shown up in the traditional media? Have we seen or heard people discussing our social media or what we’ve said? Do people say they heard about an event or announcement on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube? Have we been able to decrease the amount of negative commentary being put out there about us? These measuring posts, which will rely more on building relationships and paying attention to our audience, will be more helpful in determining what types of adjustments need to be made to our social media strategy to ensure that the message we are putting out is the most effective and consistent. *This strategy based on the Social Media Research Report and Recommendations from MB Piland, presented June 26, 2009. WE CAN DO THAT 785.234.2644 -5-