Note: This was originally published in 2010. Information is still relevant today. I wrote this after attending a webinar.
(In 2010) I attended a webinar hosted by @MarketingProfs that discussed social media at Cisco. The presenter was @LaSandraBrill. What follows are some thoughts I had following the webinar. Some of the points discussed in the presentation led me to think about certain topics more; that’s what I’m including here. These thoughts and opinions are all, of course, my own, and are not related to the company in any way.
Go To and Involve Your Users
I believe that Twitter is an excellent vehicle for pushing information to users: a classic one-to-many. It’s also a way to elicit information. This could be both one-to-one or many-to-one. In Cisco’s example, the CTO asked questions of her Twitter followers to help determine content for a presentation. The company also employed the use of contests to obtain input from the public. Use of Facebook encouraged participation as well.
Tweets appear, rush by, and are quickly gone. Even if you use a hashtag, they have a limited lifespan. For Facebook, people’s comments on posts and discussion items may last longer and encourage more conversation. This is a wonderful forum for the public to discuss topics of interest, and share information with other contributors.
My take from the webinar was this: as part of a social media strategy, consider actively seeking input from users. I’ve seen social media as an excellent way to push and share information, but hadn’t thought as much about specifically asking direct questions. Now I will –
For Tech Communicators
I still strongly believe that it’s good to use a Twitter feed to provide information, tips regarding using applications, and point out where to find information in docs. You could also use Twitter to ask questions: what do they need? What are they looking for in the help that they can’t find? This could be real-time. As in: I can’t do this. A tech comm response could be: procedures and information are here & have a link to it. Teach them where to find information in docs. Get the conversation going. Wondering what your users are thinking? Just ask them!
Use Varied Media to Address Communication Styles
Know your audience. Play to different communication styles. As we know, some prefer to read blocks of text while others prefer visual communication. Address all. Do so in two ways: the presenter’s preferred style, and the style used by recipients of that information.
Use of varied media accommodates everyone. Video and presentations may work best for those that prefer to present or obtain information through visual means. Those that prefer written communication may be the best bloggers, Twitter users, and for audience, readers and analysts of more detailed information. While I believe that society places an emphasis on verbal communication over written, those of a more reticent nature may be best suited to write your blogs for you. My suggestion: in your company, seek out employees with the communication style best suited for the message being delivered for a specific medium. It’s definitely not one-size-fits all.
Your social media strategy may succeed or fail dependent in part on how you match the communication style of both presenters and audience.
How do you determine which content should be presented in which media by which presenter? I’d suggest letting the content drive the mode of delivery. Perhaps at different stages, different approaches are needed. I’d say it’s a case-by-case situation, only meaning that for certain campaigns, releases, or information, or stage in an overall process, one mode may be preferred over another. Or, perhaps real-time situations demand approaches in stages: quick Twitter response, quick video, followed up by detailed information on blogs & doc updates. This may also include additional videos.
I’ve seen this noted in multiple presentations: try it! However, keep in mind that what works for one situation or company may not work for another. Experiment and try different approaches or methods to determine what works for you. While Cisco suggested experimentation, they also emphasized planning, testing, and following a strategy. In my opinion, perhaps both are needed. Have plans in place, but perhaps try something new once in a while.
The presentation touched on many points and provided many statistics regarding use of different mediums. I won’t get into that here, but instead will point you to a copy of the presentation that you can review yourself (see below). I recommend that you do review it, for there is quite a bit of helpful information there.
– via @MarketingProfs