Once you have created your social media channels you need to ensure you have the time to update and engage with your audience. Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or one of the countless others, you should remember a few key points:
- Stay active and don’t give up
- Understand and build your audience
- Do not over promote
- Be human
Stay active and don’t give up
It takes time to build a community, and though it may be disheartening, the key is to keep posting even when you only have a few followers. Share interesting links and write your content like you have thousands of followers, even if you only have 10.
Respond to anyone that connects with your social media channel (via comments, likes, direct messages e.t.c) and try to encourage more interaction by asking questions and encouraging users to share ideas and photos. You also want people to connect with each other and not just you so encourage community questions, share tips and get involved.
If you are asked a question on social media you need to answer it without delay, users expect an almost immediate reaction, and a long delay will be viewed negatively.
You have to stay active on social media channels to make them successful. It is a good idea to create a post diary, reminders in outlook, or schedule posts in advance to ensure your message are going out frequently.
Frequently, but not so much to annoy. There is no definitive right answer to how often you should post. Ensure that your content is good and relevant. If you continually retweet others or ask for users to share your site you are providing nothing new or original and will lose followers. You need to find a balance between sharing and listening.
Understand and build your audience
Knowing from the start the type of audience you are aiming at should dictate everything. What will they enjoy? What do they want to read? What will they share? Will they like? What will make them comment? When will they retweet?
You also want your audience to know what your account is all about – so ensure that you have a clear “about us” section so your audience knows what to expect.
You can grow your audience by connecting with other social media accounts of interest by liking, commenting, sharing and retweeting. This will get you noticed by interested parties who will then in turn look at your accounts.
Content is king. If you make your content useful, relevant, interesting, current and worth reading then you will attract and keep a loyal following. You want to be regarded as a trustworthy source of valuable information so make all of your posts count. You could write a regular blog or news articles, create an infographic or a Prezi, or run an online poll on a relevant topic – get creative and remember that bite-size and easy to digest information will work best.
The organic reach of posts in Facebook have been declining rapidly recently with Facebook moving more towards paid reach. You can still reach a significant number of people when your post engages users (likes/comments/shares) but it might be worth considering using Facebook advertising which allows for highly targeted campaigns (eg aimed at a certain age in a certain area etc). Be sure to look at the Insights in you Facebook page to fully analyse your stats before you decide whether advertising is for you.
Do not over promote
Share what your audience will enjoy and do not constantly sell your business by attempting to attract new members and ask for shares. If you make your content good enough it will be worth sharing. That’s not to say you can never ask for shares or retweets – just limit it. E.g. using the #DevonHour hashtag on a Wednesday from 8pm for an hour to promote Devon based businesses is a great example of how once a week you can successfully self promote.
Although we have to be professional at all times when using social media (see guidelines), you can still show that there is a real person behind the screen. Some of the most popular posts on our channels are a simple photo of the beautiful campus with a very human commentary.
By Jo Morrison,
Web Marketing Officer for Campus Services