Danger: framing a social media strategy as a “campaign”

February 14, 2008 at 6:30 pm (social media) (, , , , )

Computer deskPaul Dunay‘s post about the terminology of “campaign” in the realm of social media really caught my eye.

Recently, I’ve been working on a small social media strategy for a client at AHPR. I realize that there is so much more to it than just sticking it into a PR campaign, which is what my team and I ended up doing. It needs to have its own strategy along side the PR campaign because there are so many components for a client to understand.

First of all, it is true – the word “campaign” is dangerous to frame a social media strategy. Social media take a lot of time to build and sustain. It is much longer than the standard PR campaign. From my understanding, for example, it can often take up to a year for a blog to obtain a steady readership (courtesy of my professor, Kelli Matthews). Framing the social media strategy as a standard campaign can increase client expectations for both timelines and strategies.

Here are two things that I think are important to convey to a client when proposing a social media strategy:

  • Emphasize that it takes time. Getting noticed in the information age takes a while, especially on the Internet. It will take a while for readers to trust you and consistently keep track of your social media efforts, as well as results of increasing search engine optimization.
  • Reiterate the importance of the client’s role and participation. The client needs to know that being part of the Web 2.0 means continuous surveillance and activity. In order for the audience to trust the client, the blog posts and comments, and any other social media tactic, need to come from the client. It means he, she or they need to take the time to research and write. The social media realm is too personal to have a PR professional write personal notes as the client to the public.

I’ve talked to the AHPR client about these two things, and the social media strategy is still moving forward. However, in the future, I know I will emphasize the size of it and make it a separate or supplemental plan.

*Image courtesy of Flickr: Paladin27. It was taken under the Creative Commons license.

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