Why, Who, What, Where, When: Social Media’s 5W’s

by | Aug 8, 2011 | Blog, Blog Archive, Industry News | 0 comments

On Wednesday, the editor of this blog (Deb McAlister-Holland), will be moderating a webcast that features Christie Campbell of Socialware, and Steve Selby of LIMRA.  It’s the second in a series of monthly webinars sponsored by the three organizations.  Details and registration information is available here

Anyone who’s studied journalism or business is likely to look at the headline of this blog post and say, “Look!  The 5W’s are out of order.”  Except that they’re not.  The traditional order (who, what, where, when, why) that helps journalists, writers, copyeditors and marketers plan and tell a compelling story don’t happen in the right order for social media. 

  • WHY comes first when planning a social media campaign because there are so many reasons to use social media, and so many possible social media communications channels, that the purpose of the message is the paramount factor in determining the rest of the message planning process.  Exactly what do you want to accomplish?  How are you going to measure success?  Until you know whether you’re planning a lead generation plan, a brand development program, a brand awareness or positioning program, creating an effective social media customer service response team or any of the other corporate marketing initiatives that lend themselves to social media, you can’t do anything else. 
  • WHO  you want to reach has to be the next decision.  When it comes to social media, nearly everyone who uses it has a communications channel of choice — and they can get downright angry with companies who don’t give them the information they want in the channel they want to use.  
  • WHAT  information do you want to deliver?  Different social media forums are appropriate for different kinds of messages.  Some have very low tolerance for commercial messages — and others segregate promotional messages into separate tabs or sections.  Still others offer a mix of content.
  • WHERE will you find your target audience?  Different demographic groups congregate on different networks — but you might be surprised at where you’ll find some of the groups marketers crave most.  How do you find out what social media channel your audience wants you to use?  Ask them.  Or create a social profile of them, using one of the services like FlipTop that turn a name and an email address into a social media profile.  And, of course, monitor the social networks to see where your brand (and your competitors) are being discussed. 

To learn more about the 5W’s of social media, join us for  Reaching Your Audience Effectively:  The 5W’s of Digital & Social Media on Wednesday, August 10, at 11 am Central Time  Register now  for the free webcast.