As public relations practitioners, we are often asked about tips and best practices for managing an organization’s social media. This is a topic so vast and detailed that entire websites are devoted to it. However, we’ve boiled down a few elements we consider the most essential to managing a company’s social media.
In part 1, we highlighted a few key things novice social media administrators sometimes forget to do: have a personality, respond and be visual. Now for part 2 we turn the spotlight on measurement, strategy and treating each channel as the unique creature it is.
Measurement – It’s more than the number of likes or followers. True social media measurement will help determine if audiences are engaged, which enables you to fine-tune your strategy (more on that next). Some social media platforms, like Facebook Pages, provide free, simple analytics. If more robust analytics are needed, there are tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Simply Measured.
Even without these dashboards, it is easy to simply pay attention to comments, shares, retweets and favorites as key indicators of whether content is relevant and engaging to your audience. If conversations aren’t happening on your social media, keep adjusting the formula.
Strategy – Having a social media strategy saves a business or organization time, energy and guesswork. First, it helps determine a purpose as well as which social media channels make the most sense for your business. Is the company trying to build awareness? Increase sales? Having an objective in mind will help determine target audiences.
After determining purpose, audience and messaging – build a content calendar. This will enable you to start thinking about content over the next week, month and quarter. Try planning in advance for events and initiatives important to your brand. National Pie Day is coming up? If you own a bakery, knowing this bit of trivia in advance will let you plan your content and capitalize on a special event. Planning social media campaigns for a product or event allows for more relevant messaging and inclusion of quality images and graphics.
Unique Channels – Treat each social media platform as unique; each has its own personality, quirks, advantages and disadvantages. It’s acceptable to post the same message on several platforms, but be sure to adjust each so it makes sense. For example, Facebook allows for much longer messaging than Twitter. LinkedIn requires more of a business tone and focus. Instagram and Pinterest are all about the photos.
Take the time to adjust content and messaging across all platforms and to think about identifying the audience for each.
Social media is ever-evolving, and remains essential to the future of business engagement and marketing. Don’t relegate yourself to throwing content at the wall and hoping something sticks; take the time to think through goals and strategy and adjust your social media formula accordingly. The results may surprise you.