Busy busy ...
I've been busy today, tidying up my online profile across a number of platforms. I always struggle with a collective noun for the blogs, microblogs, network profiles, share sites and bookmarking doodads that make up online activity. I've decided on platform for now - if you've got a better, more elegant word for it all, please leave a comment and let me know. I'll start using it immediately.
While connecting my facebook public profile with my twitter and trying to find a 'follow me' widget I like to sprinkle across my platforms it struck me that I have gone about creating my online profile in a most haphazard way. This has been really useful for me, I've picked up on new opportunities as I've found them, had fun learning new things and grown in confidence and authority with new communication channels.
All of which has helped me offer sane and simple advice on how to use the channels available online to 'make some noise' and to research and engage with stakeholders. So I feel quite justified in urging some joined up thinking before you start your planning and long before you start signing up for accounts all over the internet.
Start with a stakeholder plan
Putting together a robust communications plan is not rocket science but it does take some time and thought to avoid wasting valuable resource further down the line. So before you get started get a big sheet of paper and write down all of your stakeholders. Include your suppliers, existing customers, target customers, employees and 3rd party partners.
These are the people you need to connect with, and the more you know about them, what they like, need, read and buy as well as how they shop, play online, do business, connect to their suppliers, favourite brands and each other - the easier it will be for you to decide how to reach them online and what you can offer them to make them happy when you find them.
You also need to plan for the impact of a successful campaign on your supply chain. Don't get caught out by switching on your communications before your business is ready to meet demand.
Join the dots ...
Now you've decided on the best combination of channels to reach your audience (customers, funders, employees, clients, suppliers or influencers), your next job is to set each of your channels up and make sure they are linked.
That way all your channels start to work together to get your messages out to the right people and you can make it easy for your customers to become champions for your products and services.
Your branding, messages, tone of voice, even the style of your offers all need to be consistent, transparent, and manageable.
I'll post a quick 'how to' action plan to get you started tommorrow.