Social media is more than just posting a Facebook page or website and hoping for the best.
Successful social media marketing is created through analysis, research, strategy, integration, and evaluation.
The steps in a successful social media campaign mirror those used in traditional public relations plans. There are many acronyms used to summarize the plan’s components. As my colleague said today, “The one thing we can agree on in public relations is that we can’t agree.” However, all of the acronyms represent the same components. I prefer John Marston’s (1963) R-A-C-E Four-Step Model for Public Relations:
In this step, you gather all of the information available about the issue, problem or situation facing your organization.
2. Action (or analysis, depending on who you ask)
Use your research findings to determine the best course of action. In this step you think about what you now know and how best to use that information.
This step is where you use effective mediums to deliver messages that help your public/audience gain understanding, acceptance and support for your message.
This is where you consider the effectiveness of the action and communication. In this final step you evaluate how well the public relations process worked. If the communication was successful, you continue to build strategically on the plan. If not, you start the process again.
1. Analyze existing media
What are you doing to attract more customers? This is similar to PR’s research step in that you’re attempting to define what forms of communication you’re already using with your customers.
2. The Social Media Trinity
Focus on the three most important categories of social media: blogging, microblogging and social networks. This helps you narrow all of the different social media tools available to the three most important areas.
3. Integrate Strategies
Determining how you will integrate The Social Media Trinity into your existing marketing strategies. This is similar to PR’s analysis step because you’re considering what you know as a result of your research and how you can use the tools at your disposal.
Determining how to use the resources you need to implement your strategies. This also would be considered part of PR’s analysis step.
5. Implement and Measure
This is where you implement the plan and determine its results. This approach to social media utilizes PR’s last two steps of communication and evaluation by helping you to communicate the message using pre-determined, strategic tools and measuring the impact of those tools.
Lako writes in his book that none of these steps works well alone. This would be the same as creating a Facebook page and waiting for a paycheck. Instead, each step builds upon itself, much like those in the public relations plan. It’s just another way the two types of campaigns mirror one another.
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Do you see a comparison between successful social media and public relations campaigns? How do you think they are similar? What differences do you see?