Every Monday I'll pick a random subject and create a content piece on it. This week the subject was "How to do social media when it isn't your thing" in a blog.
When you spend a good portion of your day on social media like I do, whether for business or pleasure, it's becoming increasingly apparent that it kind of sucks. It sucks your time, your patience and sometimes your sanity. Just like everything human, there are bad aspects mixed in with the good.
Maybe you aren't on social media personally, because of the above example or you just haven't gotten around to it, You are likely reading this because you know that when it comes to your workplace, it's kind of important that you are using it.
When you are leading an organization or business, or you've been given the social media management task as part of your employment, it's important to remember a fundamental thing about marketing: you need to be where your audience is. We all know that social media is where everybody (mostly) is.
In a perfect world, you'd be able to delegate the org's social media to someone who thrives there. A social media butterfly, if you will. Unfortunately not every biz or org has that person on staff or has the budget to hire that employee or a contractor.
So how do you solve this problem?
You solve it by using a simple and planned social media strategy that gets you in and out in a short time without having to get your hands messy with the social dirt. You approach social media not from a marketing perspective, but from an educational or promotional perspective, although you will still want to use some ethical marketing techniques.
So here are my tips for doing social media efficiently, effectively and ethically for your organization:
Lead From Your Why
Leading from your why isn't about why you are on social media, but why do you do what you do as an organization or company. What is your mission? What are your values? How do you fulfill your mission? These are the core things you want your audience to know about you.
You know how great your cause, service or product is and so you want others, especially your target audience to know as well. That is the attitude to take when you are promoting your organization on social media.
Follow Your Strategic Plan
If you think about social media as a tool to fulfill your strategic or business plan, it might make it more palatable. There are going to be key performance indicators (KPI's) that you are going to want to fulfill, and that can give you direction on what information you want to share and when to post it.
Your strategic and business plan should also have a good description of your target audience (or audiences for some orgs). This target audience is who you should be speaking to when posting on social.
It's pretty easy to get lost in the weeds when it comes to how to run your social media program. Some sources say to create a "sales funnel" and make everything about SEO (search engine optimization). Even I have fallen into that trap, running social media that meets the above criteria but isn't authentic to me. So I'm taking my own advice and updating my site and social media to something that better represents me and the clients I want to work for. I'm not into hard sales. I feel like if your cause, service or product is something that helps people or the planet you shouldn't have to "sell" it. You do have to get it in front of people for their consideration though. That's how social media becomes a great tool to spread your message. To keep your authenticity, speak in the voice that best represents your organization. Use storytelling and humour to make it relatable. Show your audience your day-to-day operations with photos and live videos. Get your team and stakeholders involved. Let them know about your successes and failures. Always be transparent.
Keep It Simple
You don't have to be on every social media channel. Two or three to start should be enough. How you decide which platforms to be on will depend on your target audience. It will also depend on what type of content you are able to and comfortable creating.
Here's more on how to decide which platforms to use: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/
You also don't have to post 10 times a day. Find the schedule that fit's with yours. Take advantage of sharing other posts that are relevant to your audience and your mission. You can always use social advertising if you need to get the message out to your audience in a more targeted way.
Schedule Time For Social Planning and Create A Posting Calendar
When you are busy, you know that if you don't put something in your personal calendar, it's probably not going to get done. I like to set a block of time on Monday morning to do my social planning. I get it out of the way so I don't have to worry about it over the week.
The next step is to create a posting calendar. The further ahead in time that you can do this, the better. It will save you time and remind you of what important events you need to cover. For example, if you're having a fundraising event, you need to start promoting it a month or two before it happens for effective coverage.
Knowing when your target audience is on social media will help you fill in your calendar as well. Certain days and times work better for different audiences and different platforms.
I use Trello to create my social calendar, which includes my own social and also my client's social, but a spreadsheet or printed-out chart will usually be enough for a single organization.
Here's a simple weekly calendar for you to try:
Use Scheduling Tools
There are a few scheduling tools on the market that can make life easier. You can sit down for one block of time and schedule a bunch of posts for the future that then get posted automatically.
My issue with some of the tools is that they are expensive. There are ways around that. I use Canva (affiliate link) to create my graphics and short videos. The pro version, which is significantly cheaper than Hootsuite or Sprout, also has a scheduler. You can create a graphic, add some text and set it to post when you want. It's pretty handy. Most of the social media platforms have their own built-in schedulers as well.
Remember, It's About Your Community
I think one of the last, but certainly very important, things to remember is that you can use social media to build and engage a community around your organization or business.
Giving your audience a chance to engage with you on social media can help build that community. That means to be sure to post content that they will consume, enjoy and find useful. You should always be responsive to questions and comments. Even if you get a negative comment, you can use it to reinforce customer service or educate.
A great way to build community is to get your audience involved. Host a photo contest, have a Q&A, have a fundraiser, ask for blog contributions or testimonials. Whatever way you can get your audience involved that's appropriate for your org, give it a try.
One thing I recommend staying away from is the "Like, comment, share" contests. Some of the social platforms specifically frown upon that sort of contest. Asking for a share or like without the contest attached is perfectly fine, though.
I hope these tips will help you with your social media management, even if social media isn't your fave. If you have any questions about the above or need some more specific advice, please reach out to me, I'd love to help.