Tuesday, May 05, 2009

constructing approaches to social media

This morning, I keynoted the Construction Writers Association annual meeting and walked the group through a variety of approaches to social media that illustrate a range of principles and trends, as an overview. Here's a roundup of some of the resources I covered, with additional links for the group:
  • Go find your fans, and join them (not vice versa) as NPR host Ira Flatow did when he stumbled upon the Facebook group "Science Friday, the best day of the week" about his weekly show. Companies like Coke and Fedex have done the same; read more about that here.
  • Don't ignore your company's historic information as a social media tool. The National Trust for Historic Preservation's trying an experiment this month on Flickr, asking folks to download a sign that says "This Place Matters," then take a photo of themselves with it, in front of a building they want to call attention to. It plays into the yen to share, see yourself online, and support a cause. And Colonial Williamsburg's Cannon Blog, a log of efforts to recreate a Revolutionary War heavy cannon, also brings the historic forward to build a devoted following.
  • Use existing sites and look for deeper ways to engage your audience. There's no need to build your own network when looking to use social media. Mentoring social networks go beyond ordinary linking to create deeper relationships. Try GottaMentor for that purpose, and look here for other sites that will help you "power network" with social media, including building a Google profile.
  • News organizations and communicators, while late to the game, are finding interesting uses for social media. Both groups are starting to move past pushing out headlines and news releases, and wading into online communities. Help a Reporter Out matches experts with reporters on deadline; news organizations have started crowd-sourcing leads for stories; and a range of organizations have begun to share information on sites like Twitter. Two good-to-follow construction businesses to follow on Twitter: the Portland Cement Association's Concrete Thinker, and Christopher Hill, a construction attorney.
I'm happy to follow up with CWA members looking for social media strategies, policies, training or content development; just email me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz.

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