With the understanding and acceptance that social media may be the menu, but your online press room is the meal, here’s a simple diagram for how even the most risk averse organizations can migrate their public relations and/or corporate communications efforts onto the web with social media channel extensions.
For the most conservative organizations, the online press room might be deployed initially as a way of extending the reach of its conventional media relations activities onto its website. In this case, and least from the get go, the online press room might consist of a simple press release index with bios, fact sheets, images and other press materials that are searchable and embeddable.
To the extent that the organization is prepared to constructively advance online conversations, Twitter can be used as a channel to establish the organization’s presence within an existing community. If the organization uses the microblogging service to distribute links, rather than to send those links to Twitter users who are asking for that information, followers of the organization’s Twitter feed will probably grow slowly.
If the organization chooses to leverage YouTube as it’s exclusive streaming video provided, it may be ill-equipped to translate views into measurable transactions, since online engagement or interactions are further away than if someone is viewing a video on the organization’s website. Embed codes do not achieve this function either, since the video can be viewed on the organization’s website, or on YouTube, rather than using YouTube as the menu, and the video on the organization’s online press room as the meal.
Rather, organizational communicators can tap into the critical mass of viewership that exists on YouTube and better engage constituents online by leveraging the free streaming web 2.0 service with shorter, interstitial-type programming, designed to shore up viewers for longer-form video content on their own website.
Of course, online conversations happen in real time, so identifying a procedure that can become the basis of organizational policy for online engagement is critical, lest communicators provoke vibrant discussions in which they cannot actively participate.
In addition to helping organizations like Toyota, UCLA and Target design, deploy and manage online news rooms, I have helped many others, inclucing Johnson & Johnson, The Government of Singapore, the Environmental Defense Fund and City National Bank, understand and appreciate the subtleties of effective online PR to accelerate successful implementations through new media training and strategic planning.
Is your organization risk averse? How are you integrating social media into your public relations, corporate communications or marketing outreach efforts? I’m always looking for guests to interview for On the Record…Online so if you have a case study you’d like to discuss, leave a comment here and let me know about it.