My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Monday, April 11, 2011

Social Media is One Piece of a Strategic Communications Campaign

There’s a lot of buzz around social media, and that’s great –it’s fun, it’s new, and it’s growing, so it’s interesting to talk about. That said, perspective must be maintained: in survey after survey, social media is one avenue that people use to get information, and not consistently the favored avenue, particularly in business and government. Social media is an important element to include in any communications campaign – but it is just that: one important element among many tools.

Think of it this way: as public relations and communications practitioners, with social media our toolkit has expanded. We still need to think strategically, define our target audience for any campaign, and look carefully – and objectively – at what communications channels that specific audience prefers. What are the communications channels they use on a regular basis, and trust as a source of information? That is what should drive the means used to reach this targeted audience.

The growth of new social media avenues enables us to bring more options to the table, and expand the discussion of approaches for outreach. That’s a great thing. Video and podcasts are playing a more active role, interactive approaches and ideas are discussed and implemented more frequently – and all of this expands our toolkit and our ability to touch our audience. Still, it comes down to fundamentals: if you haven’t thought through your approach strategically, and you’re not keeping your focus on your target, you’ll miss. You might use a lot of social media, but if you’re not talking to your target audience it’s just more noise out there.