Do you realize that there are tons of conversations on topics relevant to your brand all over the digital universe? Do you realize people talk specifically about your brand on the “world wide web” without you even knowing? Do you think these conversations only happen on your Facebook page and Twitter? Don’t you want to be engaged where the influential conversations are happening? Then why is your social media strategy and execution focused solely on Facebook, Twitter, and your blog – your own “on-digital-assets?” Yes you want to draw an audience to your assets, but go where the conversation is happening and engage there.
Social media is about engaging with your target audience. If you have read my blog before, you are likely familiar with my push for establishing the A-Path of social media. It starts with getting Attention; moving to Attraction; gaining Affinity; establishing an Audience; and ultimately winning over Advocates. In a nutshell, this is what successful social media looks like. (Of course you have to have metrics showing growth and movement to the next step in each of these areas.)
Thus, social media starts with getting attention and attracting your target audience. Attention and attraction are two terms PR managers are very familiar with so let’s bring this to the digital front. In order to get attention and attraction, you go to the place where the target market is. You identify influencers and build relationships with them. All of these activities happen “off-digital-assets.” They are not your own assets. These actions are carried out by a digital PR manager. Social media is not just about drawing people into your community. It is about reaching out as well.
So I will share with you a little bit with regards to how we approach digital PR and outreach in our practice (at MediaWhiz). We start by using a new influencer tool called Appinion. Many use Klout and other social influencer tools. But these tools identify influencers across their entire social reach. What if I wanted to find someone influential specifically in the areas of automotive, or diabetes, or cloud computing, or any niche topic. Most of the influential tools do not breakdown influence by topic and that is exactly what I need for each client. Thus, start by identifying the influential people and sites for your core area.
When you have identified the influencers, build a relationship with them. Make sure you understand their needs and what the value is that they look to deliver to their audience. Identify where and how you can help them. This is your opportunity to pitch compelling content to your social media influencers. Continue to sustain meaningful relationships with the key social media influencers in the niche vertical. This is really similar to community management except for channels of use … they are off-digital-assets as opposed to on-digital assets. Interact on the off-digital-assets platforms.
You also need to use social media monitoring tools to search for mentions of your brand and relevant conversations to your brand’s offering. You should establish a response criteria … there is no way to respond to all mentions, but you should pre-determine which types of mentions or comments you will respond to and if there are particular sources of commitments that you want to make sure to engage with.
You also want to identify existing groups and communities where conversations exist on topics relevant to your brand. Go there and join these communities. Listen – understand the needs and wants the participants have. Engage in conversation and softly introduce your brand and value. Not hard selling, no advertisements. The mention of your brand MUST be relevant to the existing conversations and topics.
All of these activities are outside of the assets you own and manage. That is why we call it digital PR and outreach. Like I said … it is really very similar to community management, but not in your community. We recognize that more conversations happen outside our own world than within our own world. Can you really ignore them? This is why I always say social media is so much more than Facebook and Twitter. Get the picture?
Make It Happen!