Social Media: Have a Plan

This weekend I watched the 2014 movie Chef, written, directed, and starred by Jon Favreau. Other than making me crave all sorts of delicious dishes, this movie highlights the importance of social media.

The movie starts with Favreau's character, Carl Casper, making cringe-worthy mistakes on Twitter. This then escalates to him exploding on a food critic in public that ultimately makes its way to YouTube. Carl’s digital personality wasn’t looking too hot as he had to learn the hard way that social media is a force to be reckoned with.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr — they’re all fantastic tools and wonderful resources to help create a digital presence in this highly saturated digital world we live in. But you can’t just create a Twitter account with no plan, as Carl unfortunately learned. You have to research and create a strategy and goals first. I see so many agencies hop onto the latest social media trend just because that’s what everyone is doing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best for you.

After you’ve established your goals and developed a strategy, only then you can start getting into the nitty gritty details of joining the social media world. For example, if you want to distribute hard news and inform your constituents, Twitter might be a great platform for you, while Instagram would not be an appropriate outlet for this. But if you want to develop relationships and have conversations, Facebook might be best, while Periscope might not work to accomplish this.

To summarize, as with any campaign or decision involving your state agency, have a plan. Don’t do anything blindly. Think and do your research first.

Quick tips to help:

  • Test out a new platform with a personal account first.
    That way you can learn its strengths and weaknesses and work out all the rookie mistakes without being in the public’s eye.
  • Always be malleable.
    It’s ok to change tactics and even revise your strategy. Just make sure you’re running small tests and can back everything up with data.
  • Get help from friends.
    Don’t be too prideful! It’s ok to look at your comrades for guidance and assistance.
  • Stay up to date.
    Social media changes every day. It’s pertinent to read the latest articles and blogs to make sure you’re staying savvy. However, by reading this blog, you’re already on top of it! Some other favorite outlets I follow: Contently, Gimlet Media's Reply All, Copyblogger, The Next Web, Mashable, and Cloud Peeps.

In the end, Carl Casper’s son, Percy, played by Emjay Anthony, helps draw crowds to his father’s food, transforming him from a hated cook to a crowd favorite. Social media’s so easy; even a little boy can do it, right? If only life were as simple as Hollywood…

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