A quick guide to getting started on social media

Step one – things to consider

  • Do you need a social media account, what will you be using it for?
  • Do you have enough regular content to keep people engaged and interested?
  • Do you have capacity to monitor it every day, including reduced out of hours monitoring?

Step two – setting up

  • There are many platforms to choose from, this guide will focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they’re the ones people often start with
  • Depending on your content and capacity, you might decide to use either, neither or all of these
  • As you begin to use each platform, it will start to become clear which types of content are best suited to either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all three, depending on your audience
  • Once you’ve decided, create your account(s), giving them a name which is unique and identifiable to you
  • You may want to manage publishing and monitoring via a single platform, just as Hootsuite

Step three – posting content

What to post and when:

  • Aim to post something new to your page every couple of days, this helps keep people engaged and interested in what you’re sharing
  • Be careful not to make your content too top-down, you want to create a community and encourage people to keep coming back
  • The 1-5 rule is good follow: every time you post asking for something, make sure your next five posts are something engaging, positive, interesting and community building
  • Hosting or amplifying content generated by supporters is a great way to build a community and encourage people to share their own experiences

Moderating:

  • Make sure there is always someone responsible for moderating and responding to comments, questions or emergencies
  • It’s good to have someone checking in once or twice at evenings and weekends to look out for any reputational risks or people who need urgent attention
  • Your processes for monitoring should be detailed in a publicly shared document so people know what to expect from you

Templates:

If you’re a social media manager, I’d definitely recommend writing a bank of template responses so you’re consistent, covered in each situation and have something to help new members of your team pick up on your tone of voice and ways of working.

Step four – analytics

  • There are plenty of free and paid for analytics services to choose from so there’s no excuse not to keep track of what you’re doing and improve as you go
  • Be careful to identify why you’re measuring something and what success looks like for you
  • Remember insights are often more digestible than raw numbers
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