I got inspired to write this particular blog post after seeing what Chris Yandle shared on Twitter on his Tumblr page. Very good points on what he would like to see happen on social media for the upcoming year.
With this in mind, I wanted to share my list of what I would like to see not only on social media platforms, but also how professionals (PR pros, professors, and students) would use the platforms as well. Here are some of my ideas:
- Sharing rather than being a gatekeeper: Social media is a popular class as well as line in research. There are some professors who are very actively engaged in sharing their materials (ex. syllabi, assignments, etc) while there are others who have not been as forthcoming. Sometimes your ideas get stolen, but no one can steal your brain. Gatekeepers (for research or practice) want to establish themselves as the go-to source, but many times this results in others emerging from the community as the go-to source of information because they are more engaging with community.
- More virtual mentorship on social media: Listen to what others are talking about and see if you can help them out. Whether it is looking for other professionals to follow or resources they may find useful for research or classes. This will allow you to network not only within your established circles, but also open some new possibilities here to expand your brand and reputation.
- More focus on collaboration, less on controlling: Social media is about providing a hub of community to formulate relationships and dialogue, and there are many times where people want to control what messages go out similar to what the traditional media wanted to do before. Social media is not like that – it’s not necessarily a marketing tool, but a relationship and community tool.
- Education and training needs to be a priority for all parties on social media: We are still seeing mistakes happen that could have been prevented if there was proper training and education. As professors, we need to continue to educate our students in proper etiquette in social media. Businesses and organizations need to do the same as well. There needs to be a policy in place to create a sustainable educational environment for social media to be integrated as part of the culture for everyone involved. This will also prepare for any challenges that may arise (ex. trolling, cyber attacks, and cyberbullying) as well.
- More listening AND learning: We’ve heard about how brands and professionals need to listen more, but it is also about learning as well. We can’t sit down and say – we know all we need to know about social media. It doesn’t work that way at all. We have to continue being students of life in and outside of the classroom. In addition, it is about learning from everyone, which leads me to #4.
- Focus on strategies rather than tools: We all know at this point what FB, Twitter, and Instagram – we need to focus more on the creative strategies and behaviors we need to initiate for our social media practices. There are going to be times where there are trends that are relevant and could be used you and your work, but there are others that may not work. However, it’s key to be informed and aware of these.
- Understanding you can learn from anyone: It’s key to respect and engage your followers and others who are willing to share their ideas ands perspectives with you. I wish there were more brands who were engaging their followers (and even pros as well) in authentic and personalized updates. We can all be students and teachers when it comes to social media. See #5.
- More personalized messages rather than automated ones: You see a lot of boilerplate and message template updates out there. What happened to the personalized comments and feedback? Take the time to read these automated responses and reenact them in real life. I am sure the response would not go over too well.
- Be confident in being out on social media: I still see a lot of people afraid to get on social media and be themselves. Share updates you find interesting, but be aware that others can see this. Think before you tweet or take that picture since Google, Topsy, and other search engines will still remember it, but others will screen capture it and share it on FB, Twitter. Google+, and Instagram to name a few.
- Invest in your personal brand to be sustainable and consistent on social media: I do agree with Chris on his first point on this topic. You have to make sure your reputation and brand online is the same offline as well.
- Sustaining your niche by providing value [networking, information, knowledge, and engagement]: You have to be distinctive and provide value and interest for your respective communities online. Focusing more on the return on relationships (like Ted Rubin focuses on) and
- Set the example when it comes to practicing social media: Whether you are in the classroom or running your own business, you have to be engaged with social media in order to really understand it. Explore other case studies and trends you have seen that have worked (and not worked) and learn from the experience.
Anyway, these are just a few of the things I hope to see as we enter 2014 as PR and social media professionals. Thanks again to Chris for writing a great blog post that helped me generate my own list of wishes for social media for the upcoming year.
With this in mind, are there any other points you think should be added to this list for the new year? Would love to hear your ideas! Here’s to a great 2014 and hope you all are having a great day.