I’m in Chicago, at Ragan Communications’ “Unconference,” the daylong brainstorming session just before the big two-day event, designed to help corporate PR people understand how to use social media. After the first hour, here are some quick notes in Q&A format.
Q. What is social media?
–Wikis (Editable HTML pages)
–Blogs (Posts with commenting)
–RSS feeds (Subscribe to news feeds)
–Podcasting (Audio or video files)
Q. Why is it important for companies to use social media?
—Nobody owns the conversation
–Everything is interactive (There’s no gatekeeper to censor content)
–Using inexspensive tools like a $40 voice recorder or a free blog platform, everyone can now become a publisher or a radio talk show host.
Q. What are the 3 biggest mistakes companies make when trying to use social media?
–They sell it as a communications tool. Instead, sell it as a business tool (CEOs don’t care about communicaxtions.)
—Pushing it when you shouldn’t (Not every company is ready for it)
–Not tailoring it for internal world
Q. What are some of the benefits?
–You can turn a one-way article into a two-way conversation
–Tools like inernal wikis only for employees save time (“Who’s bringing watermelon to the picnic?”)
–Use tools for employee recrutiment and retention. Employees feel good when they can participate in the discussion.
–Let employees use social networking tools to solve their own problems.
–Ideas get to folks who matter—even the CEO
–CEOs can throw an idea out to everyone in the company and get instant feedback
–Allows for clarification. Pushes communicators to write in plain language without acronyms.
So far, great stuff. Stay tuned….