All too often social media becomes a check box to mark off as opposed to a tool for achieving strategic goals. Before creating a social media plan for your next event, ask yourself: “What do we as an organization desire to have happen as a result of using social media?” Hint: The answer should correlate to goals found in your organization’s strategic plan.
Many organizations miss out on opportunities because they don’t clearly identify their goals. Below are two scenarios in which ABC Association, a fictional organization created for the sake of this blog, wants to utilize the power of social media during its annual conference. A goal of ABC Association is to be seen as an industry thought leader. For each scenario, two potential social media posts are provided. While both are good, one is better at achieving the organization’s goal.
Scenario 1: A social media post during a networking breakfast.
- Option A: A picture of attendees networking is posted with the caption “Members of ABC Association mingle at this morning’s Networking Breakfast.”
- Option B: A picture of attendees networking is posted with the caption “Members of ABC Association gather at the Networking Breakfast to discuss industry trends and [insert name of the latest study done by ABC Association].”
In this case, Option B is better. If the goal of ABC Association is to be seen as a networking organization, then Option A is perfect. But because we’ve stated the organization’s goal is to be seen as an industry thought leader, Option B is the winner.
Scenario 2: A social media post during the keynote speaker.
- Option A: A picture of the keynote speaker is posted with the caption “A captivated audience listens to keynote speaker [insert name here] at ABC Association’s annual conference.”
- Option B: A picture of the keynote speaker is posted with a caption that includes a thought provoking statement shared by the keynote speaker.
Again, in this case, Option B is better. Option B allows those not at the conference to share in the knowledge ABC Association provides by sharing a thought provoking statement made by the speaker. Using social media strategically allows other individuals not in attendance to see ABC Association as a thought leader.
In both scenarios, the differences between Option A and Option B are minimal, but the effects of the options are dramatically different. Think of social media as you would a train switch on a railroad track. While the various positions of a train switch are only different by a few degrees, the ultimate result is that because of improper placement of a train switch, a train destined for Ohio could end up in Alabama.