Just before Christmas, we experimented with some new brainstorming techniques across a number of clients. It got me thinking how there is a lot more to a creative brainstorm when you are planning for social media ideas.

Offline, a PR brainstorms rely upon understanding a client: its business or products, its audience, and its requirements. In addition, a good knowledge of what is newsworthy, the media and what is currently capturing the headlines is essential.

Of course, this knowledge is necessary for online PR brainstorms too, but you have to add to the mix with a more detailed understanding of social media.

  1. Invest time in researching the conversations. Ideas need to be relevant to conversations and so listening time must be planned for. Hotspots in the chatter offer incredible insights into consumer interests. Brainstorming teams need to see where the passion points are bubbling and hear the tone and personality of the discussions if they are to generate relevant ideas
  2. Understanding the platforms offers additional insight. The chatter can occur across all social media, but the structure of conversations varies between comments on YouTube, discussions on forums or tweets on Twitter. These need to be taken into account if an idea is to migrate across the social media network
  3. Be a social media native. With new tools and social sites launching all the time, it is essential to allocate time, on a regular basis, to explore all the current and emerging opportunities. Being part of communities and testing tools ensures that ideas have a robust foundation for implementation. But more than this, having time to explore social media sparks ideas and encourages more lateral thinking
  4. Identify the assets that are being shared. Assets such as widgets, videos and infographics, provide the vehicles by which many stories can be spread. As social currency they can start the dialogue and help brands create a relationship with social media consumers. Often different interest groups will have favourite ways to share information. For some it is simply passing on a snippet of information, for others its picture, the variations are endless depending on the personality and culture of the network

And at the end of all those pre-Christmas brainstorms, one thing was clear – you need more time when it comes to online PR!

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