So, what should the process be when it comes to thinking about and running social media tools? It’s important we do want to make sure that everyone is thinking about how and why they’re using tools, and following up to make sure they’re doing what works best.
Having specific, business driven objectives gets rid of conjecture and helps you focus on doing what works best for you. You could say that spending 30 days tweeting a new message a day is a great thing to do, but if, at the end of it, an objective wasn’t met, then what was the point? Maybe it WAS a great idea, but how do you show that?Let’s say an objective is “get students to book onto a training course”. What might the social strategy look like?
Your target audience is unlikely to be just one group. Different audiences could be those in the industry or sector, potential students, current students, the media… Your content may be seen by all of your audiences, but you need to think about what messages are intended for whom. How can you reach the specific groups you need to?It can be helpful to attach a value to each group based on your goals and objectives and the power each group holds to influence them. Is it most important that you have a media organization act on your tweet? Or a student? This should be based in research; e.g. you know that a news story in a particular area leads to increased recruitment or more enquiries.
This is simple. We don’t have unlimited resources, and for all its brevity, social media takes time. What can you realistically do? What will you prioritise?
Have something to compare against. You can compare social media campaigns against other marketing campaigns. What do those campaigns usually achieve? Do social media campaigns work better, or worse, in terms of achieving your goals?Comparing can be difficult, especially when you’re just starting out. You don’t have past experiences to go buy, so how do you know if you’re doing well or not?Benchmark. What are your competitors/comparators doing? Gather competitive intelligence and keep an eye on industry chatter. Look at people who seem to be getting it right. Are there things you can learn? Are there ways you can measure their success? Sometime it’s even worth asking (gasp!)
We ask staff to fill out a template form when they’re thinking about launching a new blog or using a new tool. It’s not required, but it helps them to think about and articulate who their audience is and what purpose the tool will serve. I don’t think it’s OK to simply jump in and use a tool ‘just because everyone else is’. Not every social media tools suits every need, or some need to be approached differently and with different goals or content than others.So what are your goals?Examine your audience, and who you want it to be. Perhaps your main goal is to find a way to interact with them online.Do you want to boost awareness of your department or your service?Perhaps you simply want another way of driving traffic to your websitesAre you looking for a tool to learn about your audiences? Social media offers great market research opportunitiesOf course, it provides an easy way to share information about what you’re doingOthers…?
Once you’ve determined objectives, defined the audience, and established benchmarks, you should establish criteria for success.For example, the objective might be to increase student followers. The audience is your student body and your measure is the current number of student followers. The KPI would be the number of new students signed up, as measured by classifying followers into subgroups and conducting a headcount.
Think about how you want or need your social media to coordinate with other communication tools across your organisation. I cannot emphasis this enough: They should WORK TOGETHER. Your social media content needs to fit with the other content you create - although that doesn’t mean it has to be exactly the same.
As you’re building your content, you’ll want to make sure you have some ground rules in mind. The Bodleian Libraries have developed a social media policy that outlines some guidelines for employees using social media.
• War bonds rally: Wikimedia
• Tate KPIs: Elena Villaespesa, Tijana Tasich, Tate
• Monopoly houses: Images_of_Money (Flickr)
• Binoculars: Gerlos (Flickr)
• Social media icons: Jason A Howe (Flickr)
• “Social Media Explained a la @ThreeShipsMedia”: @douglaswray
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