You only have to look at the number of folks who tweet with the #techcomm hashtag on any given day to see that technical communicators need to play a role in the corporate social media strategy. Dr. Laura Palmer, agrees, and her session at the STC Summit 2013 in Atlanta, introduced us to the frontier of social media and how to tackle its many pitfalls. She explains why technical communicators need to stake a claim on social media because we, technical communicators, know the inner workings of the company strategy, policy development, and documentation.
During the social media ramp-up of the last few years, big corporations controlled the message, with marketing and public relations jumping on board to lead the social business, and they rarely, if ever invited technical communicators to the party.
Currently, the silos between marketing, communication, and TC continue to collapse, and we are seeing everyone doing more with less, and working across functional departments. Dr. Palmer believes we have the opportunity to help create policy, set tone and style, and create brands for our company’s social media efforts.
On the flip side of the social media frontier, company face massive legal complexities when there is no policy set for social media use within the company. We can help by setting up messages, , plans, and activities that align with the corporate goals, strategy and policy. These tasks often align to what we do anyway, so why not offer our valuable skills and take them into our own domain?
Dr. Palmer asserts that technical communicators hold a distinct advantage—deep expertise and skills that are critical to developing social media style guides, policies and procedures, and content strategy. Instead of battling marketing departments that keep (and jealously guard) the social media keys, we technical communicators, can stake some of that territory for ourselves.