I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning with all the communication channels available to us today, not to mention those that will arrive on our doorstep soon. The most common question I hear asked is – where do I start?

I am a big believer that you should dive in and try things on the quiet and then get some assistance in developing a strategy that will work for you. Make sure it is not an isolated digital or even just a social media strategy, it needs to be a part of a big picture strategy for your business or not-for-profit organisation.

It is easy to get lost in all the options available and spend your time hidden away.

Don’t forget that no matter what the technology or media, whether you use it or if you don’t, simple PR is still the winner. Before you start thinking I am pitching for a PR account to get you in the news, take a deep breath. I am talking even simpler…

PR (public relations) is a fundamental communication tool. In its simplest form it is representing your organisation directly with the market. It’s dressing appropraitely, talking passionately about your business or not-for-profit organisation and generally making people aware of the product or service you offer. This is also tied in with value statements. I know so many businesses or not-for-profits that have meaningless value statements. They are designed (often years ago) by executives who are more interested in the use of words than the words themselves. Values should be reviewed annually. Value statements should tie in with strategic direction, but most of all the staff need to buy into them. They are on the front line, so they should exude them from when they answer the phone, respond to an email, write a letter or talk to someone face to face.

PR is that fundamental element of communication – how we represent ourselves usually on behalf of who we work for.

If you can master the basics (and we all should) then when you embark on a social media journey be aware the same rules apply. Look at your values and make sure how you tweet, post, respond and particularly listen, is in line with this statement. There are a million publications out there and just as many so called experts who want to tell you how to be successful. I’ll give you the tip, the key is PR.

If you have the overall strategy right, then the digital /social media strategy becomes easy. There is no magic formula for everyone to follow. You must define success within the parameters of your own strategy. That will determine the energies you put into it and how you measure the return on your investment.

Follow the principles of simple PR. Relatiionships based on your values embedded in your overall strategy.

If your business for example is based on personal relationships, having 100 000+ followers on Twitter is not likely to be the right aim for your business.

Simple PR (you know – talking to people face to face and not just through a broadcast newsletter) is very often what your product or service was founded on, so don’t overlook following this same logic as you grow.

For those of you in the not-for-profit sector or even better if you just want support your favourite charity, it is worth watching the video below.