Iron Chef – Social Media

So your boss is interested in social media.  They’ve read some blogs, checked out some illegally copyright-protected videos on YouTube, and even have a Facebook page and one of them fancy Tweety accounts.  Now they want you to come up with a social media plan to get them into as many Social Media groups as possible.  You’re on the verge of throwing out your company’s communications plan and starting from scratch, looking at every social media site you can lay your browser on.

(There are bosses who do get social media, and they aren’t are rare as you might think. So to get this out of the way, we’re not talking about them.)

First, don’t throw out the comms plan. While a lot of people talk about “social media strategy,” myself included, it’s important to remember that social media tools are just that – part of the communicator’s toolbox.

Actually, think of them as ingredients in a dish. (OK, I admit I’m still on a “No Reservations” high after tonight’s premier).  But more than that, the various tactics we will be looking at in this series (many of which you know, some of which you might not know or might not have thought about) are more than the proverbial “pieces to a puzzle.”  There is not one correct way to solve this puzzle.  Instead, there are myriad ways to use these tactics, and how I put together the social media sub-plan for a communications plan will probably be different from how Crosscut Communications will put one together.  And each of these will be different from how Drake Intelligence Group will develop one. And it goes without saying that someone like Chris Brogan will take those same ingredients and whip up a 15-course dinner (with fava beans and a nice chanti) compared to our barbeque cookouts.

Are any of us right?  Are any of us wrong? Not really, we just have different ways of approaching a challenge.

Continuing the cooking theme, every great chef has sous chefs, cooks and grill peeps to  help them keep running things smoothly and even provide input on new dishes. Now is a good time to raise the point that if you can, get a few creative pros together and let ideas bounce around.  You’re bound to get a lot more good ideas (as well as more ideas that’ll never fly).  Pay them for their time, let them give you some tasty morsels and then run with it.  A good social media PR peep should aim to make themselves redundant to your company when they are done training you.  As previously discussed, firms should take a serious look at content creation and how they can add that and other social media tools to an overall communications plan.

Now, your ingredients are coming up this week.  As they say on Iron Chef, “Allez Cuisine!”

Note: In this series I’m going to look at some social media/new media tools and briefly touch on what you can, can’t and possibly shouldn’t do (in my opinion).  The creativity will come from you.  This is in no way a complete list of all of the tools out there, and if I miss anyone’s favorite tool then please feel free to leave a comment or email or throw something blunt at me the next time you see me.