NOTE: The audio clip is nearly 11 minutes long. However, there are lots of good pieces and I recommend setting aside the time.
Well, first, make sure to check out the write-up and insights on Federal News Radio…. I’ll wait…. Okay, you’re back now… Here are my thoughts.
How did they start?
The Chairman and his Staff were regularly hearing soldiers ask why they were not on Facebook, on Twitter, and that their website is outdated and needed love. The Chairman felt strongly that they needed to get involved with these channels because their soldiers, average age between 20 and 22, communicate using these channels.
While not the best approach, they jumped in fast and without a real plan. In many ways they followed the guidance I gave small and mid-sized businesses back in November for a 2010 plan, only without reading my advice.
While the team has been excited to become part of these conversations, and has a Facebook and Twitter presence, along with other social sites, they recognized that they were not scaling as the audience grew. They are still primarily pushing out information, listening but not responding.
It is clear that the Chairman and his Staff are passionate about building engagement. The Chairman does the majority of his own tweeting and is concerned that the lack of active participation, active engagement, is reducing the positive impact of using these channels. To address these concerns, the team came up with a strategy focused on four key goals:
Engage, Align, Drive, Expand.
While the words sound great, they really go towards engagement. By the end of 2010 the goal is for the Chairman, and his Staff, to be not just listening, but also engaging, responding, adding to conversation, not just pushing out their messages.
Two other key points
To be successful you have to dedicate resources. Why? In the Chairman’s case they have one full-time person working on metrics, analytics, growing their efforts, etc.. As with any other channel you should measure the impact of your messages, of your involvement.
Social media, while it is simply another channel, it must be woven into your overall strategy. As the Chairman’s Staff plans for trips they plan for the role of social media just as they do other channels, other outlets. It is not something that is tacked on after the fact, it is part of their overall strategy.
What do you think? Are they headed in the right direction?