Organizations and Stakeholders

Pick the people, then the tool

Last summer I was an intern with the Frederick County Government’s Public Information Officer. I remember the first time I met my supervisor she told me the county website was on Twitter, so when a media advisory went out, a tweet was automatically posted. I was so excited to hear that local government could be to using Twitter and other social media. My first project at my internship was to help choose the county’s Facebook page design. I was more excited about the media we were using than really thinking about if Frederick County citizens were going to pay attention to the Twitter or Facebook page.

As professional communicators, we are sucked into the latest way to get a message out and not thinking enough about who it’s reaching.

David Finch from the Social Media Explorer blog calls this “The Social Media Trap.” We love new toys, and it’s easy to look over the fact that they might not be as effective channels for our audience. He comes up with some very helpful ways to look beyond the new social media such as don’t jump right over to new media – if it’s as great as everyone says it is, it will be around a while. He says most importantly think about your audience over a new tool.

Understanding the audience you’re trying to reach is more important than the tools you’re using because the tools change. At a Social Media AZ conference in September 2009, Social Media strategist and speaker, Jay Baer talks about how we shouldn’t fall in love with the social media of today.

What’s more important is what your audience thinks about your company. When people are using the social media to say good things about us is when we know the strategy was effective.

As a future corporate communicator, I’m going to have to think beyond the latest social media like Google Buzz. I have to pay attention to what people’s needs are and use that as a reason to use particular social media.


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  1. * Kristin Dyer says:

    It sounds like the experience you gained through your internship was really valuable! It is crazy to think about how important social media is becoming just for an organization to survive when a few years back it wasn’t even invented yet! What is even more important then actually using the new technology is the WAY you use it. It is not enough anymore for an organization to simply sign up for a Twitter account, they need to be active in using and provide feedback to their followers for it to actually affect them in a positive way.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 9 months ago
  2. I think it’s great that you’re thinking about of the factors that influence whether the cool new social media “toys” are successful or not. I find what you say to be so true. For example, with Google Buzz… do we really need it? Are people really going to use it? We already have Facebook and Twitter, and Google Buzz so far seems unworthy. It does not offer us any benefit Facebook/Twitter alerady doesn’t offer. Or, so I think. Perhaps people are jumping on the bandwagon now, but I wonder how long the “buzz” of Google Buzz will last. Seems like Google was just trying to come up with the next new toy, rather than trying to benefit US with something unique. Just a thought!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 9 months ago
  3. * Jillian Whalen says:

    I totally agree about people/companies deciding to use a specific media tool just because it’s the coolest and newest one out there instead of doing the research to find out if it will truly work in the first place. In one of my classes, we have to come up with a solution to an advertising problem and immediately everyone jumped to say that Facebook and Twitter will solve it all. In that specific case, dealing with senior citizens, it probably wouldn’t work as well. But on your comment about the new Google Buzz, I agree that it’s unnecessary right now, but I also thought the same thing as Twitter when it started out. So it may just need some time to catch on and grow before people are really excited about it.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 9 months ago
  4. I actually live really close to where you were working. That is great opportunity you had the chance to get involved in. Its amazing how many companies/organizations already do have websites out on the Internet already. And even crazier, how they’re already tweeting when I’m not even! But, like you said understanding your audience is key to run a business. Without your audience or consumer, your business wont thrive and be successful.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 9 months ago

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