I’ve created this page for you to access some of the basic tips and suggested tools for successful, professional social media management mentioned during the March 19, 2015 Boise State University Political Science Skills Lab panel on Social Media and Campaigns.
Have suggestions, ideas to share, or would like additional, more in-depth information on something I talked about? Please leave a comment below!
Make it easy for people to follow and interact with your campaign online. Offer links to your social media accounts on the header or footer of your website, and even pull in your latest Twitter or Instagram posts to help keep your homepage fresh and up-to-date. Post interesting content often to your accounts, share content from others (always give credit if you are not the original source of the quote or media posted), comment on and reply to posts. Be accessible. Be friendly. 🙂
A unique and consistent hashtag is easy for your target audience to remember and use, to include in marketing and press materials and allows for ease of search and aggregation/showcasing.
For instance, the #BoiseState hashtag is unique and easy to remember and use. It is shorter to type than #BoiseStateUniversity and saves valuable character space (only 140 characters available in a Tweet), and it is one-of-kind whereas the #BSU hashtag will conjure search terms and a clutter of feeds for posts about other universities (according to Wikipedia, there are 13 universities with the “BSU” acronym), organizations or other abbreviations.
Aggregate, Showcase, Curate
User-generated content is one of the most powerful ways to spread your message. Although brand-loyalty is huge on the internet, studies show that social media users of all generations tend to trust and take the advice of people in their networks more than that of brands or traditional advertising.
A way to harness positive chatter (and monitor the negative) is by showcasing aggregated hashtag or search term feeds. Boise State University uses a service called Tint to embed approved fan and university network social media posts on their live social media stream at social.boisestate.edu and on digital media displays around campus (like at the SUB or during events). Bronco Sports uses a similar application called Tagboard in which they too approve user-generated content that includes the #BoiseState hashtag; these posts are then displayed on broncosports.com, on their mobile app and on the jumbotron at games.
A service called Storify (offering free and pro accounts) let’s you pull in content that can be embedded on a blog or webpage. Storify boards are great for storytelling via user-generated content and curating (saving) digital media. See Boise State’s Storify account here and how they’re using a Storify board on their website here. Want more? See how the White House curates content using Storify —>> storify.com/whitehouse.
Read this Poynter article: 25 ways to use Facebook, Twitter & Storify to improve political coverage
Manage and Monitor
Hootsuite is life saver! With free or pro accounts, this web and mobile application allows users to integrate several different social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, Google+ profiles and pages, LinkedIn, etc.) into one dashboard. Here you can watch real-time social media streams, post, monitor global feeds, schedule and manage your accounts and people who have access to your accounts.
Set up keyword or hashtag search feeds to monitor what others are posting so you don’t miss an opportunity to engage or de-escalate a situation.
There are several online tools, both free and paid, that help you get analytics from the platforms and content you’re using. Although I personally believe that qualitative data is more valuable than quantitative, it is important to keep track of how your social media is performing so you can make adjustments according to what your audience responds to. Plus, when you can show your reach and engagement data, it helps justify the value of your social media plan.
SumAll is my go to measurement tool. It is free to use (with account upgrades as desired) and provides in-depth and visual analytic reports on a wide range of online accounts. Other social media metrics tools, from no-cost to enterprise level, include Facebook Page Insights, SproutSocial, Vocus/Cision, Twitter Analytics, IconoSquare (for Instagram), plus many others that a simple Google search will help you find.
Keep it 100
If your campaign has the budget to do so, hire a responsible and savvy individual to work within your team to manage the social media part of your campaign. Integrate social media with your web, advertising, marketing, PR and other content producers and include social media in your overall campaign strategies.
- Don’t just post, listen and be a part of the social conversation.
- Keep up to date on what’s trending, popular memes and buzz – use pop culture to your campaign’s advantage.
- Comment or go silent. Know when not to post (pause scheduled Tweets and Facebook posts), or how to post appropriately in light of tragedy or other adverse headlines. Read this LaunchSquad post for more.
- Have a strategy in place on how to handle and counteract social media slamming, attacks and trolls. Although this Entrepreneur article focuses on small-business owners, there is a lot of great info that can be applied to any social media/online plan.
- Accidents and API cross-overs happen. Separate personal and business accounts, and if possible, use a mobile device that is dedicated only to business accounts and apps registered for business use.
- When opening social media accounts use a generic email that others in the organization have access to. If the social media manager leaves the organization or gets locked out of an account, another person with access to the generic email can still get access to the social media account or reset a password, etc.
- Be aware of API and third-party plugins that request access to your social media accounts. They’re not all bad, but giving access to your accounts can be a leap of faith.
- Use a password security service like LastPass.
- Generate your own photos, videos, graphics and messages or give credit for paid or borrowed content.
- Be TRANSPARENT! The internet is too powerful to hide from. Keep it 100.
These are my personal opinions and recommendations. I am not paid by or a representative for any of the services, companies or organizations listed above.