I dislike the term “social media”.  I think a lot of very smart professionals don’t think much of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+ and a whole host of other social media platforms (i.e. Youtube, foursquare, etc…).

So if you think of social media as real time communications then how does that change how you think of it.  Other real time communications being a phone, face-to-face, chat…

It seems a bit more crucial to the day-to-day operation of your communications.  Which I think it is.

Much like you wouldn’t ignore someone knocking at the door of your office or calling your phone.  You don’t just ignore those people, do you?  Well, maybe some people.  Got to love caller ID.

What are the PROS of real time communications.

  • communicate in real time.
  • get indexed for search.
  • help you understand what are your best stories to communicate.
  • real time communications is great customer service.

What are the CONS of real time communications.

  • communicating in real time means that “real time” not two or three days
  • if you say something wrong, it gets indexed as well.
  • maybe your best stories aren’t what they think are the best stories
  • real time communications can be negative if someone is upset (this is customer service)

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What are some things that you should have in place before you start your real time communications.

  1. A good informational website to help you answer their questions.
  2. An email marketing program or customer database program to capture their information.  Connect with the alumni for their program or use your own.  I recommend mailchimp but there are lots of others.
  3. A brochure, one sheeter or flyer – this will help you respond to people (you need to know your best stories by heart)

But the big thing here is you need to BE PREPARED as best you can.  Think of things that people might ask you and make a list of their questions with the answers.  FAQs are great for this and always be adding to it.

The other thing you really need to know is YOUR AUDIENCE.  Are they actively using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin?

Once you have your audience in your sights, make sure you plan for all of this real time communications.

We use Strategic Communication Plans, Communication Spreadsheets and Creative Briefs.  All of which are great and help you really think through what you are about to do.  And help you keep track of your time.

Don’t forget to track your time.  It’s important when it comes to getting an accurate ROI of your communication endeavors.  Here’s a great ROI calculator site to calculate what it costs.

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