With the influx of tweets, posts and “likes”, social media has changed the way in which organizations communicate with their constituents for good. The question remains how to effectively harness the social media momentum to effectively integrate a social media strategy into an existing communications strategy. Recently, AIDS.gov, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) and others have created excellent materials to help organizations get started.
The focus of a communications strategy is two-fold: communicate your information and have it be successfully received. Social media makes it easier to get the word out but the information is not always effectively received. That’s where strategy comes into play. To summarize our previous post on the 2011 Communication AIDS.gov Communications Strategy (http://www.aids.gov/pdf/aidsgov-communication-plan-jan-2011.pdf), let’s revisit Forrester Research’s “POST” method in determining how to shape and implement a communications strategy. “POST” relies on four critical areas:
People: Who are we trying to reach? Who is our primary audience and where do they exist online?
Objective(s): What are we trying to accomplish? What is our mission and what are our specific goals?
Strategy: How do new and traditional media support the organization’s objectives? How do we best meet our audience’s information needs and fulfill our communication goals?
Technology: What are the most appropriate tools to use? How can we repurpose existing content? In what ways do you want to interact and respond to your audience through tweets, “likes” and comments?
Once these questions have been sufficiently addressed, it’s time to consider your group’s organizational needs and constraints. Who needs to be actively involved in creating the effort? Remember that managing a strategy requires time. For example, maintaining an online blog can require a minimum of five to ten hours a week on average. How much time does your team have to devote to a strategy? Lastly, it is important to consider how you plan to measure success. How many Twitter followers do you have? How many do you want?
Social media also makes it easier to connect to similar groups and form partnerships with other organizations. Consider how to take advantage of this through Twitter hashtags (#) and mentions (@), sharing content (such as this Dose of Change blog post sharing material from NMAC and AIDS.gov), and utilizing geolocation features of social networking sites. Geolocation involves linking a location to social media, such as “checking in” to Foursquare, which enables other Foursquare users, as well as many users on Facebook, to see what their friends are doing and where. Geolocation features can be used to promote online behavior by offering incentives to participants. For example, MTV automatically entered people to win a contest if they “checked in” after getting tested for HIV as part of their partnered with the 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation Get Yourself Tested campaign.
Learn more about creating and implementing an effective social media with the following toolkit:
AIDS.gov 2011 Communications Plan: http://www.aids.gov/pdf/aidsgov-communication-plan-jan-2011.pdf