Social media and IRL strategy

We’re planning a MOOC here at Elon that will first be for our alumni and later for the whole world. It’s been a lot of fun putting together the lessons on interactive media and working with the technologist putting the whole thing together. The last thing to do is to get people to sign up, of course, and this is where promotion comes in, so I spent the weekend writing a plan, including a hefty dose of social media.

I teach a class that is partially focused on social media strategy, and often it seems like social media efforts want to be their own little island. It shouldn’t be that way. There are 3 ways at least that you can create synergy between your social media efforts and your enterprise, IRL.

Highlight the new – This is an easy thing to think of, since it fits into existing models of news. Here, you use social media to announce the new and the different. It’s a natural for communication, because the novelty factor is an inherent value to your audience. Caution here – make sure it really is a value before you shout it from the rafters. Social is an interactive, conversational space and no one likes to talk to boring people or drones.

Reinvigorate the old – The one enduring thing about social media is that it is ephemeral. This can be a disadvantage when trying to make an impression, but an advantage when you are trying to sustain a relationship but are limited in the amount of new content you can create. If your content is evergreen, it usually bears a repeat telling.

Understand and adapt – Social media is a conversation, and that means your audience is talking to you. You had best listen. They are giving ideas on what they like and don’t like about the way you do business, and logging/assessing those comments should be a regular part of your development and support processes. Caution here – make sure that your audience on social is representative of your audience IRL, or that you are collecting feedback in other ways as well. Twitter may be a great way to assess what affluent 20-somethings think, but for retirees, I’d go with Facebook.

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