Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Which Social Media?

Instead of making life more productive, social media can have a nasty habit of swallowing up all of your time and leaving people feeling stressy.

Something I encounter quite a bit are organisations that are trying to join every type of social media they can, because they're either worried about being left behind, or they're not sure what they actually need.

The main thing about Social Media that you mustn't forget, is that the whole point is to reach as many people as possible with the least amount of effort.

With that in mind, there's an awful lot of social media you can do without. Your entire strategy can pretty much rely on four key platforms:

  • Facebook: Get yourself a Facebook page rather than a group to begin with. A page is like a fan site. All people need to do to show their support is to 'like' you. With a group, people have to go through the process of joining. The benefit of a group is that people can start discussions, whereas a page is more of a mouthpiece for your news and information. My advice is to get the page sorted out first, then you can use it to advertise interest groups (i.e. for campaigns) later down the line when you want supporters to become more engaged. You can also use Facebook for fundraising.
  • Twitter: You really do want a twitter feed. Everybody's on it nowadays, and it's an excellent tool for getting your news and information out there, particularly to audiences you might not otherwise find.
  • YouTube: A media channel is always good to include. People engage with video in a way they don't engage with a wall of text. It's a great way to get your message across. Plus, uploading your videos to something like YouTube or Vimeo allows others to share them, and makes it easy to embed on your own social media.
  • Blog: Blogs are excellent ways of giving supporters a more in-depth glimpse of life in the trenches. It's also a fun way to involve volunteers, by getting them to contribute posts, artwork etc. Personally, I'm a fan of Blogger, as it's easy to set up and manage, plus you can now add static pages, so you could use it for both your website and your blog if you want to. WordPress is another favourite, though they do try to up-sell you if you want to add extras.

Those are The Big Four.

Before you sign up to everything, check whether you can get the same account name on each of your socmedia channels. This helps to maintain your brand, and makes it easier for people to find you.

What about Google+ and LinkedIn? You may ask. 

Well, they're examples of what to weigh up when you're putting together your social media strategy. Google+ hasn't really taken off massively, and I'd hazard that 99.9% of all people who have a Google+ account also have a Facebook account.

Do you really want to spend time posting in two separate places when you're unlikely to reach any new audiences?

LinkedIn is similar. It's a really good place to network and hunt for jobs as an industry professional, but it's not really somewhere that you would engage with your day-to-day supporters as an organisation.

Best to conserve your energy and focus on traditionally well-established platforms, at least to begin with.

Another thing that can help to take the load off is to schedule your social media posts. That way you can line them up once a week, or once a month. It's always good to pop in and re-tweet, or re-post content, but at least you know something will be posted even on days when you don't have the time to do that.

If you need a hand, I offer a Social Media Package.

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