What Have You Done for me Lately Social Media?

I recently have been playing with the idea that good social media can turn action into voice. This is the idea that when used properly, social media can your everyday actions into an advocate for your personal brand. The problem comes from when you think that voice falls on deaf ears.

Being a PR pro I am typically concerned with two things when it comes to messaging: Reach and Return. Reach and return have to do with if you message is reaching the right people and if that message is returning a positive image on your brand.

With typical media these are very easy to track, you can see if an article or report was written about you and then apply some simple tools to see if the article was positive or negative. You can also create programs or events that create a positive image and gauge the public’s reaction. With social media the tracking becomes a little more difficult.

Often your connections in social media do not show you an immediate return. Building a network of social connections is time intensive and can be a discouraging process if you fail to keep a realistic goal for social media program in your mind.

When performing social media on a professional level this lack of ROI can often dissuade your clients from choosing to act on social media program. To combat your client’s apprehension I suggest adopting a social media scale that your client is comfortable with.

People new to social media often fail to see the little things that make it work. New comers expect every message to change the world, every post to be dugg or make Yahoo buzz, and every video to be the next ‘Will it blend?’ In reality most of your work with social media will only create small changes with long term effects.

When working with a client or trying social media for the first time for yourself try and create a realistic set of goals that you can reach over a period of time. Don’t write goals like, “make the front page of digg in the first week” or “get 10,000 hits on new viral video.” Instead write goals like, “find 500 friends” or “increase my comment level by 10 percent.”

By creating a set of manageable goals you will become less discourage by the time investment that social media entails. Your clients will start to see ROI because you are managing their expectations and you will be able to grow your online presence in a manner that best suits your needs.

What are your goals when working with social media on a professional level? Do you do client work or do you manage your personal brand? Do you have a system of goals in place? I am always interested in hearing how others use social media to promote themselves and others.