Monday, June 18

Retiring A Deck: Social For Strategic Communication

Since my first presentation on social media in 2005 (not counting blogs), I've always considered it a moving target. The average deck lasts six months (or a year with ongoing updates).

The deck I am retiring today served as the framework for two classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and five presentations (each customized for a specific industry). The intent of the deck was to get students with diverse and varied backgrounds (some with social experience and some without) to rethink social media.

Rather than simply focus on tips, tricks, and tactics, the 3-hour class is meant to inspire students and working professionals to ask better questions before developing their programs. Personally, I don't think the future of social media lies in social software as much as it lies in understanding people, which ought to be the goal of any social media program attached to strategic communication. In other words, understand what people want you to communicate and then find the right tool to help you do it.

Anyone who has seen other social media presentations that I've made in the past will recognize a few items that never seem to change such as defining social media as an environment where people use social technologies to communicate. For me, that is what it has always been about.

Some people can make great cases that social media is about sales, impressions, influence, or whatever. But sooner or later the ones that have the greatest successes change their thinking. It doesn't make any sense to teach people how to adapt a social network without considering the organization's purpose or needs.

Instead, communicators and related professionals need to ask what do the people they serve really need as it relates to their product and then deliver it. While a restaurant might share some cooking tips or their latest culinary creation, a motorcycle dealer might feature customization tips, rider profiles, and area club events.

Or, as you will see at the end of the deck, a youth sports program might offer real-time score updates via text messaging and Twitter, team stories, coach tips, game photos, and any number content ideas across any number of social networks. All the while, everything needs to be developed with the organization's purpose in mind. And with that in mind, I hope you can find something useful in the deck too.
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