Being blunt about digital communications

Had fun today doing the Social University webinar with the University of North Carolina’s Rebecca Bramlett and Jill Carlson of Argyle Social. Highlights of that conversation got me thinking about some blunt truths about digital communications, be it web or social media. Here are my top five. What are yours?

1) It’s OK to suck for a while. But not for long. Give yourself a chance to jump in and start swimming. But you need to know where your headed — and why — pretty quickly. Hatch a plan.

2) Broccoli plus chocolate cake is a recipe for success. Feed your audiences plenty of interesting and engaging — even tasty — tidbits fortified with vitamins, minerals and yes, institutional messaging. You have to strike a balance. Too much broccoli (messaging) makes for a dull digital presence and you’ll lose your audience. Too much chocolate cake (fun stuff) and you’re feeding your audience empty calories. Strike a balance. It’s OK to Tweet it and Facebook it when your profs win national awards as long as you do the same when the folks on Modern Family mention your school.

Brocollli and Cake

3) Content is a dirty word; the same with Web Master. Dignify what you do by being specific. Video? Feature story? Photo collage? Slideshow? Web designer? Web reporter? Web developer? Web programmer? Call it what it or you are. Just don’t call it content or master or master of content.The days of the one-person web and social media shop are limited.

4) It is a dinner party, not a performance. Social media involves everyone. You are the performer and you are the audience. You are the host and you are the guest. Nobody likes a host who babbles about himself all the time. Ask questions. Welcome feedback and input. This is your party. Don’t dominate it. Host it. Work the room.

5) If you’re not measuring, you’re wasting time. It doesn’t cost a thing to use Google’s Campaign Tracking. But if you’re not combining it with a url shortener for your social media posts, you’re missing out on the simplest way to show return on your investments. Track it. Always.

What are your blunt truths about digital communications and social media?

Thanks to Jill Carlson for the sweet food graphic from the webinar.

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