It seems that no matter what type of organization you are in, the digital age keeps you on your toes.
I recently read an article in Advertising Age called "Coca-Cola's Biggest Social-Media Push Yet." Coke is sending three brand ambassadors around the world on a 275,000-mile trek. Their journey will be tracked on a Web site and various major social networks.
Why? To drive good public relations for the company into the global economy. True, Coke is about a strong a brand as there is. Right? So, it made me think... If Coke is investing thousands of dollars to mimic the "Amazing Race," shouldn't this be a trigger to those of us who don't have a brand worth $58 billion?
The good news is I believe the University of Minnesota is taking steps in the right direction. How so?
Driven to Discover
The incredible successfulness of this initiative demonstrates the importance of sharing the greatness of the University's research, education, and outreach efforts with local, state, and global communities.
Like Coca-Cola, the University has forged many successful partnerships over the years to ensure resources are used wisely, cost efficiencies are gained, and most importantly, the brightest and most brilliant ideas bubble to the top.
Social networking guidelines
The University recently released its social networking guidelines as a starting point for how to best leverage the emerging media.
If you haven't had a chance to read the new social networking guidelines, I strongly urge you to. For the past few months, significant effort was focused on how to best help colleges/departments/units use social networking tools as well deliver curriculum while ensuring students intellectual property is protected.
Developing the guidelines is only the beginning for those of us at the University. Now, we should be asking ourselves the same questions Coke asked:
How does social networking fit into our communication strategies?
Coke assembled a multi-disciplinary team between communications, public relations, and marketing to develop its strategy.
Which of the social networking sites or tools best meet our business needs?
Coke has identified several sites including Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, and more. Since it's a global company I would venture it will also be using some of the other global main social channels such as China's QZone.
What measurement tools will be used to identify success?
Coke has indicated it will track media impressions, followers as well as page views.
The University of Minnesota guidelines simply highlight important subjects to consider such as legal ramifications, copyright infringement, terms of service, and more. Think of the guidelines as the base map for developing successful communications strategy. It's up to you to decide how far and high around the world you want to go.