Spin doctors need to spin corporate messages faster to mine enormous potential of social media
Local public relations practitioners took note of the concept “Agile Social” at a networking event last week where a young academic highlighted the need for faster workflow processes and adaptation in the ever-evolving need for companies and organisations to communicate their messages to their constituencies more effectively.
Informatics specialist, Dr Mohammed Shehu told the executive committee of the Namibian chapter of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA), that Agile Social was devised as a communications tactic employing new possibilities offered by software and the internet revolution.
“It is a different way of piloting from strategy to operations and setting up multi-disciplinary teams for better coordination and effectiveness,” he said.
Advising public relations practitioners to tap into existing expertise elsewhere in their organisations, Dr Shehu said “Break the silos and get information from fellow employees in finance, customer service, sales and operations in order to know what is going on in the company.”
In his opinion, Agile Social constitutes a paradigm shift in communications, being at the core of cultural and organisational transformation.
He advised the PRISA exco to support their members to design agile social media strategies that are aligned to stakeholder needs. “From targeting the right audience to crafting content that is useful and relevant; the customer is at the crux of all social media decisions. Social media should be based on a two-way communication model that requires the incorporation of feedback from the audience into the social media strategy.”
In a broader context, the good doctor said PR practitioners must enhance their own skills through a process of multi-skilling in areas such as copywriting, design, photography and database management. If they lack proficiency in these areas, it makes them dependent on other people in their organisations, or on outside suppliers which can lead to a distortion of their core message, or to a delay in getting urgent messages out.
At only 26, Dr Shehu is the youngest student of the Namibia University of Science and Technology to be conferred a Ph.D in Informatics. He is an expert in the structure and application of social media.
PRISA is a professional body for public relations and communication management practitioners throughout the Southern African region. The institute has members in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa.
Caption: Dr Mohammed Shehu (centre, back) with the executive committee of the Namibian chapter of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa.