Many organizations nowadays embrace digital media starting from the assumption that social media is free, has a high reach and is easy to use. Many of these approaches are therefore ad-hoc, tactical and uncoordinated exposing the organizations taking this route more exposed to communication threats and challenges than if they didn’t go online at all.

A good approach to online communication includes strategic planning which requires a good understanding of the social media landscape, the online publics and their behaviours. It also requires a good understanding of the organization’s strenghts and weaknesses, an ability to differentiate it from the online clutter as well as clarity when it comes to the reasons why digital media is used as the outcomes desired to be achieved as a result of communicating online.

An easy way to plan this is by starting with goals, then thinking of outcomes (usually related to knowledge, predisposition or behaviour) and then formulating objectives to reflect both. The Objectives are the ones that you will be measuring so they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). In some cases objectives are associated with targets (which are sometimes both quantity, target audience and time related).

Remember that digital media can be used for a lot of purposes which include sales, customer service, business intelligence and which can aid advertising, marketing, public relations and human resources efforts.

Here’s an example:

Goal: Reputation

Outcome 1: Knowledge

Objective 1: Create buzz for x client over the 3 weeks of the campaign

Objective 2: Increase positive associations of x client with y% at the end of the 3 weeks of campaign

The tactics and metrics associated with the client and campaign can be determined from here, the choice depending on the target audience and the USP of the client.

Further readings:

  • The Zero Moment of Truth (includes handook, videos and other useful resources)
  • Chris Brogan’s blog on social media strategy
  • Brogan, C. (2010) Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online, John Wiley and Sons, London. (Google Books preview available)
  • Safko, L. (2010) The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success, John Wiley & Sons, London. (Google Books preview available)
  • Scott, DM., (2007), The New Rules of Marketing & PR, John Wiley, London. (Google Books preview available)




About Ana ADI

Professor of Public Relations/Corporate Communications @ | Researcher | PR & Social Media Consultant | Fulbrighter

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