One of the most common questions I hear in meetings about social media is: "What should we be talking about?"
It is then usually followed by: "What shouldn't we be talking about?"
Theoretically (which is a word I loathe!) these parameters shouldn't differ too much from how a business has traditionally communicated.
In other words, just because these channels exist, doesn't mean they should be used for the sake of being used.
But, an air of expectation does exist now.
If you're not present in all the places your customers are, they'll starting asking 'why?' or consider engaging with a competitor who is in those places.
The conversation sphere
So, what is the solution then?
The following charts illustrate my (unfinished) thoughts on how a conversation topics framework could be established.
As no two businesses are the same, I don't think this thinking would necessarily apply across the board but its a starting point and will hopefully trigger some extended thoughts from you.
Your stakeholders will probably expect you to talk about the following - whether it is proactive or reactive.
'Permission' is a funny thing - your credibility on a topic will determine your ability to engage in conversations outside your core area of expertise.
And, these topics are predominantly dictated by third parties, requiring business (and sometimes legal) decisions as to whether to address or not.
The original rationale behind these charts was to illustrate what you should and shouldn't be talking about.
Lately, I've been using them to highlight the importance of talking about things other than just yourself.
Whilst you are expected to address issues / questions in relation to your core service offering, no-one wants to hear about you talking about yourself all the time.
This is where identifying appropriate related topics can make you a much more respected player in the social media eco-system.
However, it is a balancing act, and talking miles off topic won't do you much good either.
What processes are you using to develop conversation frameworks?
COMMScorner.com is the blog from Adam Vincenzini which focuses on social media and PR. Connect with Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his blog.