“If you’re not here to have the conversation and engage, you can leave and go build a better website,” Beth Becker said as she gave her first social media mantra to a packed house at the “Social Media Strategy for Advocacy” panel at Netroots Nation. She continued with four key principals that apply to all social media — regardless of the platform:
- Targeted engagement — talk to specific people about issues that matter to them.
- Authenticity — be yourself. If you’re pushing out social media on behalf of an organization, make sure you know that organization’s personality.
- Message integration — the content in social media should be integrated into all other messaging and vice versa.
- Quality content — if you aren’t there to say something important or if your content is boring, you shouldn’t be there.
Panelist Dr. Alan Rosenblatt discussed how social media has potential not only to introduce individuals to your organization, but also to get them on the ladder of engagement. But, he warned, you can’t just leave them there. “You have to take your online, offline,” he stated, adding another great social media mantra. While social media and online engagement have huge potential, when Dr. Rosenblatt wants something to move online, he picks up the phone and talks to people. Social networks, he says, are exactly that: “social” and “networks.” If you don’t use your offline social networks online, you are greatly diminishing your impact.
The last mantra shared at the panel was: “you cannot win without social media; you will never win with just social media.”
Dr. Rosenblatt has compiled a catalogue of social media (and related) tools that everyone serious about social media should review. But, as quality communicators, while we must understand the nuances and power of social networking, we must also realize that we are all people offline, and continue to build our relationships offline.