Developing a social media strategy


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A brief discussion on why and how to create a social media strategy for a cultural service. This is from a presentation I am giving at the Museums Association conference on social media on 31st March 2011.

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  • Twitter, Facebook... – As a service we are currently using quite a lot of different social media sites and tools. We’re on the main ones, Facebook/twitter, and even some more specialist ones like photo-sharing site flickr, and video site YouTube. My first site was Twitter, which I signed up to in May 2009. It was not the first social media the service had been using, but the first the Learning Team had signed up to. Accounts – We have several departments with accounts on social media sites. The marketing team were on Twitter first, tweeting about events at the museum. They also have a couple of Facebook groups and a channel on YouTube. Collections team use the more specialist sites like flickr commons for photographs, but have a successful facebook group where they add details about latest acquisitions and collections updates. The Learning Team are on all the ones listed there, but mostly on Twitter, but post videos on their YouTube channel, and images on Flickr and have a Facebook account. All the Learning Team’s social media accounts are listed under YuffyMOH, who is the mascot for the Learning Team and an approriate character to use for the accounts.
  • Developed a strategy for Twitter – This was first written in September 2009, four months after Yuffy joined Twitter. This strategy is 17 pages long and specific to the Learning Team. So it does not incorporate the other teams on social media sites. This has been distributed so that it can be adapted for other teams, but specifically deals with how the learning team will use Twitter. Social Media policy – With so many departments on social media sites across the council, Hartlepool Borough council has now decided that we should have a social media policy in place for those already using it and those interested in doing so. This will hopefully be approved and we will have a corporate policy in place.
  • States your purpose – Why are you using social media? How will it help achieve your mission? Whether that is to promote your services, attract visitors, increase dialogue between the museum and our audience, or even to connect your audience with each other. Point of reference – useful particularly if you are unsure of something. How do I answer that question? Should I post that link? Check the strategy. Consistent message – Especially if there is more than one person posting messages on that account, for example, the four members of our learning team. We know what people expect to see. The sort of language you should use, the type of content that is posted etc. Manage Risks – Helps identify potential problems, and the solutions to those. Our strategy identifies risks ranging from accused of jumping on the bandwagon, to abusive behaviour from my followers. And how to deal with those problems. Without a strategy, you may come across a problem that you don’t know how to handle, and there is no guidance on what you should do. The main reason I wrote this strategy was because I was concerned that those higher up may remove my account until there was at least something in place, therefore losing the network that you struggled to build.
  • For Twitter only - This was because at the time we were only on Twitter so I didn’t need separate ones. Now, we do. A general strategy on social media is a good thing and the next step for us. However, some site specific issues would need to be addressed in it. For example, tagging of photographs in Facebook, or links to inappropriate material on Twitter. This was also because I found a template for a Twitter Strategy for government departments online, so I lifted quite a lot of my strategy from that. Identified our purpose – This was important. I didn’t want to just be on Twitter without really doing anything. We needed to decide why we were on there. Our main purpose, particularly at the beginning was to promote what the Learning Team do and get feedback. Not just the activities for the public, but provide behind the scenes information about all the projects that we are involved in. That includes meetings with new clients, a school workshop that went well, information we discovered as part of our research that we think is interesting. And once that was decided we would be able to write our strategy with that strong purpose in mind. Not long to write if you know the platform – I wrote the strategy. I had been using Twitter personally for a long time before I put the Learning Team on there. So I knew what it was capable of. This made the strategy much easier to write. And the template promoted me on the other things I needed to include, particularly examples of other departments on Twitter. So it really helps to have someone write it who knows the platform and how you intend to use it. The strategy was recently updated as Twitter has completely changed since I wrote the strategy. New features that weren’t available in 2009, need to be included in the updated strategy. Building a following – now you have a strategy and how you want to use it we needed to build a following. This was a slow process. It took me two weeks to reach the 100 followers mark, which isn’t bad considering we are a regional museum. I actively sought new followers, mostly by following other museums on Twitter. And from that, it spread and I got more followers. Now, I don’t go looking for followers, they come to me.
  • There are some general key phrases that you can use to help build your case for social media to directors or boards. Free – Always a good to use. Most social media sites are free to sign up for and use. Officer time in updating or creating these depends on the platform. Personally I find that Twitter is easy to update, usually taking me about half an hour a day. Facebook I find a little bit more time consuming, but equally as rewarding. Popular – Directors like statistics, here’s some good ones! According to Alexa, 4 out of 10 of the worlds top websites are social media (Facebook #2, YouTube #3, Blogger #6, Twitter #9) There are 175 million registered users on Twitter (with half a million joining every day) They produce 140M tweets per day – that’s 1600 tweets per second! 500 million users on facebook – that’s 1 in every 13 people on earth! 50% of Facebook users login everyday In other words, part or even all of your audience will be on there. Research by Hartlepool Borough Council indicated that young people particularly want to find their information through these platforms. Mission – This is a good time to explain your mission or purpose. Why you want to be on there. It’s becoming more and more acceptable for organisations to be using social media. When I first started this was not the case, so it should be easier now to point to examples of similar organisations on social media and how successful they have been, and how social media can benefit your organisation.
  • On their turf – One of our most important reasons for using social media was to engage with our audiences on their turf. With so many sites vying for their attention, we get a little lost in the crowd. So we need to go to our audience to bring them back to us. Social media allows us to do that. Dialogue not monologue – We wanted to talk to our audience, not just throw information at them. Being part of the conversation was important, which includes listening to what your followers are talking about. What is important to them? What do they want to know? A good example of this was the earthquake in Japan, that was talked about a lot on all social media sites. Instead of ignoring it as irrelevant to the museum, I joined the conversation and tweeted my support for the people in Japan. I even tweeted the number you needed to call if you had friends in Japan you were concerned about. This was retweeted by quite a few people, so clearly it was something my followers wanted to know. One another occasion, one of my followers were talking about mummy bloggers, and I joked that we have a mummy, but of the Egyptian variety in our current exhibition. From that, I was asked to write a blog from our mummy as an alternative mummy blogger. This was on a US site and great promotion for the exhibition. So you can gain a lot from listening to your followers. It also improves your online reputation. I know I hate organisations who simply push out their press releases. You won’t get a good response from that, because who’s going to respond to what looks like an automated message. I know I won’t and neither will your followers. You need to be someone they want to talk to. The face of Yuffy – It was decided early on to use our mascot, Yuffy, as the face of social media. He was already known through our literature and in the museum, so he was the natural choice for the face of the learning team. It also meant that the account was anonymous and all the learning team could update it. We also wanted it to just be for the Learning Team, not the whole of the museum service. One reason for this is that we have a different remit and audience we want to attract. This means we will use it in completely different ways to say marketing or collections, and if on one account it may look a little disjointed. The centralise vs separate question depends upon your organisation and how it is structured, and where the social media accounts originate. If they are coming from marketing, then one centralised account is good, but if you have a specific audience you want to target, then separate is better. The future – I believe that social media in the future shouldn’t be something that we add on but should be integrated into what we do. It should be part of marketing campaign should include twitter, and an outreach project has it’s own facebook page, and that you tweet at least once a day about stuff going on in your department. It shouldn’t be “Lets do some social media now”. It should just be part of what we all do.
  • Thank you! You will find these slides and details of my strategy and more at my blog, Any questions?
  • Developing a social media strategy

    1. 1. Developing a Social Media Strategy Shona Carnall Hartlepool Cultural Services [email_address] @YuffyMOH/@snowflakeshona
    2. 2. <ul><li>Hartlepool & Social Media </li></ul><ul><li>Why set up a social media strategy? </li></ul><ul><li>How did we approach it? </li></ul><ul><li>Making the case </li></ul><ul><li>The thinking behind YuffyMOH </li></ul>
    3. 3. Hartlepool & Social Media <ul><li>Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Wordpress... </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Joined Twitter May 2009. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Accounts for Learning, Collections, Marketing </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>@YuffyMOH – Learning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>@Trincomalee – Marketing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collections Hartlepool - Collections </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Hartlepool & Social Media <ul><li>Developed a strategy for Twitter </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>written Sept 2009, updated March 2011 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Specific to the Learning Team </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Hartlepool Borough Council are now looking to write a Social Media Policy </li></ul>
    5. 5. Why Set up a Social Media Strategy? <ul><li>States your purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Point of reference </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent message </li></ul><ul><li>Manage Risks </li></ul>
    6. 6. How did we approach it? <ul><li>For Twitter only </li></ul><ul><li>Identified our purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Not long to write if you know the platform </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does need regularly updating </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building a following </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Making the Case <ul><li>Free </li></ul><ul><li>Popular </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4 out of 10 of the top 10 sites¹ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>175 million users on Twitter² </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>140 million tweets per day² </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>500 million users on Facebook³ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>50% of Facebook users login everyday³ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mission/Purpose </li></ul></ul></ul>¹Alexa, ²Twitter, ³Digital Buzz,
    8. 8. The thinking behind YuffyMOH <ul><li>“ On their turf” </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue not monologue </li></ul><ul><li>The face of Yuffy </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The future </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Thank you! Shona Carnall Hartlepool Cultural Services [email_address] @YuffyMOH/@snowflakeshona