I've noticed that a lot of our prevention agencies and organizations still focus on old style marketing and promotions strategies applied to social media channels. Old habits are hard to break. Few organizations are actually interacting with followers and fewer re-post good content that others have posted with attribution. I realize the old marketing process is much easier in some ways (control) but it is also far less effective in today's communications environment. Research shows we trust other people, even people we don't actually know, more than we trust brand advertising.
Today I noticed a recent post by Alexandra Bornkessel over at Social Butterfly (follow her if you don't already because she is in the thick of social media and social change). Alex's post refers to a study of how health departments are (or aren't) adopting and using social media stating that 60% say they use social media but the findings show the way they use it is less than ideal -- pushing messages out through the social media channels rather than interacting with people to connect and build their network. There were actually few posts, many using third- party auto-feeders (sigh) and as you can imagine most had no comments and about half had no likes. Not at all what we intend, but what to do? First things first ...
We've really got to drop the idea of using social media to
disseminate only our own messages and start thinking in terms of
making connections, engaging in conversations and building networks.
What do we already know about beginnings?
Under the Strategic Prevention Framework we begin with an assessment, right?. The same is true of social media. Start with a Social Media Communications Audit (.doc), collect some data (find out where your people are online), choose a place to get started with social media -- and give it a go. Establish and nurture your presence and be sure to decide on some metrics to watch. You'll want to learn from the experience in measurable ways that prepare you for more extensive and knowledgeable planning and action. Listen to people. Talk with people. Ask questions. Share good content. Find meaning. Rinse, lather, repeat.
When it comes to social media, we really need to see both the old marketing/public relations (which are also changing) and the new social media communications perspective. Both have their place and it really is important that we use each in ways that connect us and give us something worth talking about.
How does your agency or organization use social media to connect with people and build your network? What are you learning about what works where you are?