Social media is a balancing act. Where to spend your efforts, how often to post/share and what to share. This week we’ll talk about how to manage the many components of social media.
By Samantha Scott, APR
Social media is one part of the communications mix, but it involves many different components and channels. From Facebook to YouTube to Google+ and LinkedIn, it can easily consume your workday (and beyond) if you let it. So, how can we wrangle this part of our PR plan and be sure to effectively communicate?

As professionals in the public relations field we live and breathe by plans. Social media needs to have a plan too. Just putting up a business Facebook page or creating a Twitter account isn’t enough. Put together a plan to include:

            • Who will manage the account(s)?
            • Where will content come from?
            • How often will you post?
            • What happens in the case of an emergency or natural disaster?
            • Who will measure your efforts? (Facebook Insights, Google analytics, audience growth, etc.)

I advise developing a content plan – a spreadsheet that lists all the social networks you’re on, the topics or things to be shared and the dates that information needs to be shared on and which channel. This will be your guide and an easy way to make sure you have content regularly and you maintain a quality ratio of content (promotional vs. value added).

What makes someone a friend or fan of your business in real life? A common ground or interest, need, etc. With social media for someone to 1) like your page and then go a step further to 2) maintain a relationship and if you’re lucky, 3) engage with your company you must have a RELATIONSHIP with them. You have to establish a common ground and/or a pain point which you can then resolve. If I liked a business page, but all they did was spam me with sales info or product information, I’d unlike them and leave. You have to give your audience something worth coming back for.

Example: If every time I see my friend I tell her about my business, my current sale, my services, etc. and never share any other (useful) information OR ask about her, eventually she’s going to stop seeing me. It’s like I’m constantly offering commercials and it’s all about ME. People have Tivo and DVRs for a reason. Businesses are terrible about this. Go visit a few small to medium sized business pages and see what they’re posting. We have to engage like people. That’s what other people connect with!

Below I provide some tips for using social media effectively for business. These are just things to keep in mind and help balance the content you/your company puts out.

            • Post useful, engaging content. This may seem like common sense, but we’ve all seen posts that were clearly made when someone was bored. While this probably won’t drive people away, how does it help build relationships?
            • Provide a variety of content! Be careful of over-inviting people to your events, meetings, groups, etc. This also includes sending  updates to fans. All of these actions result in a notification message being sent to other Facebook users. It’s important to keep the 4:1 ratio when inviting your fans. (For every 4 posts that provided added-value, you can post 1 about your company/services.)
            • DO NOT: Continually try to sell something, broadcast/promote blatantly, talk about yourself/your company only!

Social media can be powerful if used correctly. Take these tips to heart, start practicing and go succeed!


            • Social Media Examiner:
            • Mashable:
            • The PTE Blog’s Social Media Section: