Social media sites have proven to be a valuable outlet for public relations practitioners. Websites like Twitter and Facebook provide a unique opportunity for organizations to keep their publics constantly updated, without spending a dime. This sounds fantastic, but there are some considerations that must be taken before embarking into the world of social media.
The first consideration is very simple; what is the purpose behind creating a social media site for the particular organization? The purpose should be clear. The organization might want to find a new way to reach existing publics, or just simply keep up with its competition. Social media is also a great way to develop new publics. The Internet is broad, powerful, and can be an easy way to draw attention to an organization.
The person, or group of people, running the social media site has a great deal of power. Due to the viral nature of the Internet, a small slip can turn into an all out crisis in no time. It is vital that anyone with access to the site is responsible and experienced.
What the Site Contains
The information on the site must also be considered. It must be made clear in advance what type of information should be left off the site. The goal should be that the organization appears transparent to its publics, while remaining private to an extent. Social media sites allow organizations to keep their publics informed, but there are some issues that need to stay in house.
Instead of creating just one social media site, organizations should strive to be a member of every social media site. The organization must consider before hand which sites it wishes to join, then link each page to one another. For example, Twitter followers could also follow the organization on Facebook, which would lead to more exposure.
The look of an organization’s social media page is one of the most important parts of the page itself. Internet users have short attention spans. The organization should design a vibrant, detailed page with pictures and headlines. Although, the page should not be too cluttered with meaningless artwork. A happy medium of pleasing aesthetics is the goal. If a user takes a two-second look at the page and sees nothing interesting, you’ve lost them.
Whose Got it Right
One organization that has its act together is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Its Facebook page has tons of interesting pictures from fights and fans, constant promotional updates, upcoming events, links to its online shop, Twitter pages and SMS messages. This page has more than 1.5 million fans.
Whose Got it Wrong
One company who is making no effort in social media is the SPCA. It has no Facebook or Twitter pages. This is disappointing, because this particular NPO has tremendous potential of appealing to publics’ emotions with pictures. It could be posting pictures of the animals on a Facebook or Twitter page every day, for free! Yet, the organization has nothing.
What are some organizations that you think could make improvements in the world of social media?