“Traditional Tactics and Digital Dimensions: Strategic Thinking on PR, IR and Media Relations in the Conversational Age”

I attended a Marketwire breakfast this morning called “Traditional Tactics and Digital Dimensions: Strategic Thinking on PR, IR and Media Relations in the Conversational Age.”  The moderator was Anthony DeRico, director of digital media at Nielson and co-founder of Think Communications.  The panelists were Ruth Cotter, director of investor relations and treasury at AMD, Courtney Barnes, vice president and director of content strategy at MH Group (she’s also co-author of “Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications“), Kellie Parker, community manager at SEGA of America, and Rachel Polish, vice president at 360 Digital Influence at Ogilvy.

It was an interesting panel about best practices and how to run a true social media program rather than (as Polish said) “sprinkle social media into the business”.  With the different types of businesses being represented it was interesting to see how each of them are using social media. 

SEGA uses it widely and very loosely as in they post on their blog vlogs about “free stuff Friday” and they’ll post on Twitter about how someone used an old version of a SEGA game. Parker said that she also “re writes” press release in their blog so that it’s simple to understand language and will then link to the release. Very simple but she said it completely captures the audience. 

Cotter from AMD had a completely different story.  As the IR person, she was very reluctant to use social media but realized that there could be some great benefits of it.  She’ll answer questions and give AMD a friendly personality online rather than the stiff corporate role she plays while not online.  Not to say that she starts all Tweets or blogs with “Dude!” but it’s just a much more casual setting.  She said social media helps also when executives are out on the road she’ll have them do a video and post it to their blog so that the executives provide a face to an old school Silicon Valley company – simply humanizing the brand.  She also mentioned how she has created a traffic light system for blogs.  Red means you can’t blog about it at all, green means go ahead and yellow means you have to get approval from the social media team in order to do it.  She also said that gives bloggers ‘licenses” to blog and said that it works well. 

Polish talked a lot about how the Coast Guard uses social media and how she has helped companies.  Barnes had mostly examples of how she has helped folks begin programs and how they’re using it.

They all agreed that companies have gone from asking the question “why should I use social media?” to “how can I use social media?”  They also agreed that there have to be policies set in place so that all employees are aware of what they can and can’t say on all social networks – including their personal Facebook accounts.

There are so many ways to engage with your customers and prospects and social media is just another form of doing it.  Take advantage of the captive audience that you have with tools such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.  But once you commit, you have to stick with it!

Do you have any tips for using social media to connect with your customers?


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