I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan of National Public Radio (NPR). I listen to “The Takeaway” and “Morning Edition” every day driving to work. NPR keeps me company as I sit in traffic for over an hour driving up the Garden State Parkway. I heard a great segment the other morning. A surgeon being interviewed discussed how a simple checklist in the ER and in the Operating Room could save a life. He told a story about a man who came into the hospital with what looked like a small stab wound about an inch long. 
Because the proper questions were not asked in the ER, the man simply stated that he was stabbed at a Halloween party. Within 10 minutes the surgeon said that the man “crashed.” Apparently, the doctors in the hospital were not informed that the stab wound was so deep it punctured his aorta. He was stabbed with a bayonet (it was a costume party).
 
The radio interview continued with the discussion of how the checklist of questions, or things that you need to do, can prevent emergency situations. I’m a big checklist person and I’ve been building checklists for years. Of course there’s a big difference between what I do and the surgeon who saves lives, but nonetheless it’s important to prevent any emergency or damaging situation from occurring in any industry.   That’s where my PR 2.0 checklist comes into play before you begin your program. There are some simple questions that you can ask yourself, your team or your client (if you’re on the agency side) so that half way into the program, someone doesn’t say, “Did we ever do that?” or, “Maybe we should have written our social media policy first!”
 
This PR 2.0 checklist is a working document and will grow over time.
 
Ask the question, “Why social media and what are we expecting to get out of engaging in the social sphere.”
 
Develop a social media policy
Which executives will participate in the program and determine the their time commitment
 
Share the policy with members of your organizations (build internal brand champions by establishing a participatory culture)
 
Set up monitoring and tracking of your brand, products and any trends that relate to your market (via free tools and paid software)
 
Listen to conversations in various social networks to see if your customers or other stakeholders are active in those communities and to pinpoint conversations relevant to your brand
 
Continue to observe communities for culture and interaction between community members
 
Identify who are the important influencers you would like to reach (from A-list bloggers to trendsetters and the magic middle) and what issues concern them
 
Decide who in the organization is going to manage information and direct continuous conversations and relationships (a community manager or social media manager)
 
Dissect information gathered in communities and share with other members/departments in your organization
 
Process the information within your organization and use it to provide insight and feedback in communities (and to also develop your communication strategy and content to share) or to place back into your product development cycle to enhance your offering for customers.
 
Determine a measurement strategy for engagement (participation could include leads/sales, conversations, registration, membership, education, authority, etc.)
Think about your budget and resources before you start your social media program.
Hopefully, this checklist will help you prior to the start of your PR 2.0 initiative. If there’s something that I’m missing, feel free to share the items on your list 
 
Deirdre Breakenridge is PR Professional, Author and marketing communications agency owner. Visit her blog on Social Media and PR Strategies: www.deirdrebreakenridge.com

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