Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 15, 2010

Staying On-Brand With Social Communication

Several clients, friends, acquaintances and occasional enemies have come to me, seeking advice with getting into the social media game. While I would never decree myself a “soothsayer” or “wizard” in this particular arena (which is already overloaded with a substantially ravenous horde of “brainiacs” and “gurus”), I believe two obvious, yet critical, points allude many of these seekers — much like the wily Sasquatch of the Northwest woods. In order to succeed in the social media realm, you must have:

  1. Media (text, audio, video) that specifically appeals to the audience you are trying to reach;
  2. And a network of people that actually care about what you’re going to say.

In other words, in order to thrive in social media, you need “socialized media”, (which incidentally, should never be confused with “socialized medicine,” the kind of stuff that will surely get you into many fascinating conversations at any public space in Washington, D.C. — where coincidentally on Oct. 17 at 4:45 p.m., at the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, I’ll be presenting a session titled, “Compelling Social Media Strategies: Soaring With Flight of the Concords”) …

… End gratuitous plug here.

Ultimately, you need to have heaps of moxie, courage and audacity to do what it takes to build your social network (at times, from complete scratch), and a long-term strategy to keep your momentum growing along with your audience.

According to, half of the Top 10 tweeters are pop stars, and the other half consist of talk show hosts, reality stars and one President of the United States (who I’m certain doesn’t have time to be tweeting as much as his profile suggests). While the masses will always simplify revolutionary and powerful social tools like Twitter as the means to peer into the obtuse mind of Kim Kardashian (currently #7 on with over 5 million followers), you, on the contrary, should be focusing on your “on-brand” strategy that will permit you to build your ideal network of followers.

So, unless you’re Lady Gaga or Britney Spears, who are currently in the front of the line at the Twitter feeding trough, you’ve got some serious work ahead to build your audience of drooling admirers, fans and (hopefully) customers.

Since we’ve defined that social media is not for the socially inept, you’ll need to reach out to your audience with a defined, focused and opinionated message. Also note that your opinion, whether expressed in a blog post, interview, a tweet or a comment on someone else’s social media post, must accurately reflect your company’s message and be “on-brand.”

In order to build a solid network of people that actually care about what you have to say, make sure you have something valuable to say to them. When you are deciding on a social media strategy, be sure to design a communication strategy that also exclusively matches your brand.

If you were following me on Twitter (@davefletcher), you would, of course, already know all of this, and probably more about me and the company that I started in 2001. I likely just tweeted a link to this blog, put a note on our Facebook page and connected it all back to The Mechanism’s website. Magical.

At the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress in Washington, D.C., I’ll be speaking about how The Mechanism respectfully tapped into a devoted fan base for the music duo, Flight of the Conchords, by building them the necessary tools and creating a single destination site that includes all of the various online and offline social media resources available to stay “on-brand” with their audience. See you this weekend!

Dave Fletcher discusses the social media strategies behind “Flight of the Conchords.”

Dave Fletcher, founding partner and creative director, the Mechanism, has explored a wide range of media — including print, video, photography and interactive design. Dave has developed brand identity systems, promotional materials, environmental graphics, packaging and publication designs for a wide range of clients. As a leader in the Web design profession, he has earned recognition from numerous creative associations and publications, including AIGA, HOW Magazine, and I.D., the International Design Magazine. His philosophy of information delivery through the creative process has been discussed in international business publications, including, and Information Week. Dave is a member of the board of the New York Metropolitan Area Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC–NY) — the leading advocate of the Internet as a global communications infrastructure. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn and follow Dave on Twitter @davefletcher.

Join Dave for his session, “Compelling Social Media Strategies: Soaring With ‘Flight of the Conchords’,” on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, 4:45–6:00 p.m. at the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, Oct. 16–19 in Washington, D.C.!

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