A Guest Post By Shonali Burke, Social PR Strategist, Trainer and Teacher
You understand the importance of smart listening.
In this digital age, everyone has the potential to be a publisher… which means there’s a lot of noise out there as they “contribute to the conversation.” And we PR pros are just as likely to do this as anyone else.
Unfortunately, indiscriminate content creation is often a symptom of what I call “Social PR Anxiety Disorder.” In other words, you’re so anxious about “joining the conversation” and “making your voice heard,” you’re not always doing so in a way that adds value to your audience.
That takes smart listening. And that’s what Social PR superheroes know, and do.
Real conversation is all you get.
Just as in real, offline, life, listening is the segue to meaningful conversations online. If you don’t have the pulse of your audience, how on earth will you know what to communicate to them? And if you’re going to communicate effectively with them, that means you’re not just talking at them, but talking with them.
And that means you’re not always talking about yourself… because no one wants to talk to someone who’ll give Narcissus a run for his money. Social PR superheroes make great conversational companions.
You’re in for the long haul.
There’s a saying, “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” At least, I think it’s a saying; my mom certainly said it enough times (!).
Social PR superheroes know that the landscape they work in can change on a daily basis… so they have to stay the course. Building a presence in the social world takes time, and a LOT of patience. Sure, it can get frustrating at times… but so can anything else, right? And the only way you’ll know if you’re really starting to have an impact is if you continue to work long after it stops being the latest shiny new toy.
Mom did know best.
You know how to cut through the clutter.
Our basic job as PR pros is to get our messages across. And in the social space, that is often easier said than done. The number of people using social networks isn’t getting any smaller, only bigger; this is now how people communicate.
So with all these people talking, and “joining the conversation,” and creating their own content, and trying to get everyone else to pay attention to their own content… how do you or I get their attention?
In part, by really understanding how to create strong messages… and then, what to do with them.
You get to the heart of the matter.
It’s very easy to do a lot of “stuff” and look super-busy. Often a flurry activity can fool others into thinking real work is happening behind the activity “screen.” But what is the point of all the “stuff”? Why bother spending time (and money, because time is money) if you’re not even sure why you’re doing all this?
Stepping back to do an assessment is not something everyone wants to do; I can’t tell you how many campaigns I’ve seen that don’t have any component of research baked in. And that, to me, is scary! Because if you don’t know what you’re trying to get out of your program, how are you supposed to put anything in?
We’re pretty lucky to live in a really incredible age, where the world is literally changing before our eyes. Let’s make sure we keep pace with those changes, otherwise we’ll be obsolete before we know it
Shonali Burke is a Social PR strategist, trainer and teacher based in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Through her consulting business, she helps businesses take their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She’s teaching a free, live, online mini-training on Social PR best practices on Nov. 13, 14, and 15; just 1 hour a day each day. What have you got to lose?