Strategic Thinking Leads Choice of Social Tools for Boeing’s Gary Wicks

(Image: Getty Images)
Gary Wicks, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

One New Year’s goal that every communicator can agree with is to be more connected in 2014. The surest way to do that is to be involved in social media. But how do you stay connected in a constantly evolving media landscape?

We spoke with Gary Wicks, director, digital strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and speaker at PR News’ Feb. 5 Digital PR Summit in San Francisco, about his thoughts on the evolution of social media and how it's impacted his company.

PR News: The rise of social media has forced a lot of change in the PR landscape. In what ways have you had to adapt in order to keep up?

Gary Wicks: We are far more aware of what is being said about our brand. Maybe "aware" is not the right word, but with the "always on" social environment, diligence is key. We have embedded digital metrics deeper into our planning process and had to adjust or optimize our planning as a result. Social is always a consideration in most everything we do. So it has added another element to our strategic planning process.

PR News: How do you make the determination as to which social media platforms best resonate with your audience/customers?

Wicks: We do not separate out social engagement from our overall digital strategy. Social is a delivery mechanism. So we clearly craft our overall marketing/communications strategy and objectives and then select the proper tools to support it. The key is not to let the tool drive your strategy. Develop your strategy and then select the tool that best supports it.

PR News: What is the single most valued skill for successful social media strategists and why?

Wicks: Understanding your audience is critical. What content do they respond to and are most likely to engage with? It is different from social platform to social platform and from company to company.

Gary Wicks and Monte Lutz of Activision will kick off PR News’ Digital PR Summit on Feb. 5 at the Westin San Francisco with a Wake-Up Call on the new social media landscape.

Follow Gary Wicks: @BoeingAirplanes

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell