Yesterday I had the honor to speak at the Ft. Worth PRSA about planning, implementing and measuring social media (BTW, it is measurable, just ask Katie Payne). For PR professionals, planning is nothing new but the addition of social media to those plans just might be. The reason I preface this post with a little bit of background is because after I spoke, Dan Keeney of DPK Public Relations asked if he could video tape me for his blog.
That video shows up in Dan’s post, “Are We Missing the Next Big Thing Because of Our Twitter Obsession?” A post that states something so basic and true, it’s almost like a cup of ice water in the face:
“…everything I just heard Beth say is fine, but I worry that it’s not pushing us forward. And it’s not just Beth — it seems to be everyone who is out there speaking to PR groups about social media. I don’t hear anyone showing those of us who have a cursory level of involvement in the space anything particularly new. It isn’t new to suggest that we need to plan and have objectives and measure results on the back end. It isn’t new to suggest we need to know who we are engaging and be authentic. Anyone who has been involved in a grassroots effort knows the importance of connecting with influencers in a genuine way.”
I agree with Dan’s assessment (although, I think there are levels of social media understanding & implementation that still need to be addressed be it beginner, intermediate and advanced). The dirty little secret: social media is NOTHING new. If you want to look at social media plain and simple, it’s a bunch of tools that help us to network, share information and build relationships in a different way. The concept of social media from a human relationship aspect is nothing new either. It’s business development, which comes with engagement, professional etiquette, trust and respect.
Perhaps the only other new thing is that we are telling people other than executives, sales and business development people to get with the program and start building relationships with customers. Now that could be a new concept for some.
Today, Twitter and Facebook are being hyped by the media. But what about all the forums and Yahoo! Groups that have been around much, much longer and have healthy, vibrant communities? Oh, that’s right…they aren’t cool.
Kami Huyse suggested on Dan’s post that “We have to think more like journalists and less like messengers.”
I wonder if we approach social media like journalists…will we find that there isn’t anything to uncover that’s newsworthy? Unless, of course, you consider good old-fashion business sense newsworthy.
So, to re-ask Dan’s question, if Twitter goes away tomorrow what’s the next big thing?
I think the next big thing will be stories as simple as businesses actually implementing social media and re-gaining customer respect, trust and increasing profits as a result. Your thoughts?