Can the delivery of some your business objectives be supported by the effective use of social media? Can events be better publicised and therefore attended? Can the member base be increased? Can sponsorship revenue be increased?
The answer to all three of these examples is yes. All research across multiple markets points to the fact that an effective social media service within an organisation has a direct impact on an increase in revenue and improvement in reputation of that organisation.
To deliver an effective Social Media ‘channel’ detailed and focused research should be completed to formulate a strategy which identifies quick wins and longer targets and objectives – which could be % increase in event attendees, % increase in sales or a % increase in members.
Social Media cannot be ignored – public sector, corporates, individuals, competitors all communicate and access news and opinion through Social Media – in many cases it is a signpost to content – and needs to be used smartly to gain maximum benefit to your organisation. Do not be scared of Social Media (consider the South West Trains or Principal Hayley examples of one embracing and the other running away from social media and the effect this had on reputation).
As a starting point for research and therefore the creation of a strategy some key components and tasks can be identified.
Some (this is not exhaustive as it is a crib sheet) key components of a solid social media strategy are based around;
1. Review current followers, friends and contacts.
How many of these followers are key contacts?
Are they members? If not could they be?
Are the journalists? Could they act as sudo-publicists for the organisation? Could they feed into the site (submit pieces for publication)?
Are they bloggers? Could they link their site to yours?
How many of your followers/friends have a large follower base themselves
Those that have a large network should be contacted and a relationship built. This can expose your organisation to the contacts own network thus increasing its own potential contact base.
Do they have their own sites or work for large organisations?
Can you work towards getting these external sites to link into your site (this is also a major SEO benefit).
2. Review the market.
Use monitoring tools to search for trends.
See what competitors/local gov/central gov/charities/academies/media/global organisations are saying about a wide range of risk related issues.
Connect to these – especially market influencers (who may be bloggers/journo’s).
3. Effective and timely distribution and publication of content across all platforms
Very simple - get your content on the platforms quickly but accurately – be aware that members will wait for content – non-members will not. Understand and dare I say analyse the risk/reward. But be bold.
Your professional integrity is key – but the organisations openness and honesty can counter this.
4. Creating relevant content (blogs, tweets, news stories, comments etc.)
This includes ensuring events and publications are what people (not just existing customers or members want to read).
Search for market trends and ensure that senior board members are able to comment and blog upon issues
Also research (using Google Analytics tools) what users and members are searching for on your own site – this will advise you what interests your own users have. Use this to inform how to communicate through social media but do not use this as the only guide.
5. Use the platforms sensibly
Quick notifications of events, appointments, links to specific news stories and blogs.
Users need and demand quick, easy to digest notifications and reminders.
Professional network, so use for open discussions on market trends, new legislation, news stories and encourage members and non-members to contribute. It is a very subtle way of gaining non-member and the casual observer trust and interest in your organisation.
Consider using as a supportive tool of your own forum. Forums are only of interest to members and those that can access them. They are a closed shop!! Analyse how much true benefit members (not just the board) gain from having access to a closed shop.
Use carefully – but be aware that this is becoming a more commercial platform. Push and publicise events (these could be your or partner events, webinars etc.)
Use this to also connect to sponsors pages, event location pages (Principal Hayley for the Palace hotel for example), government, charity and school.
Do it!!! Get a 'good writer' (see my previous blogs for who these people are!!) to write 3-4 blogs (between them) a month.
Get external sources to link to these blogs.
Make the blogs relevant- comment on the latest news (floods, legislations etc.)
Think about podcasts!! Seriously – a 20 minute weekly podcast – get it sponsored!
Get sponsors, advertisers to blog. Get external sources to blog! Do not however take payment from people wishing to blog!
Ask members to write pieces for discussion
All of these link to also increasing SEO rankings (for another document!!) and working closely with the analysis of the site via Google Analytics to build a picture of what people are talking about (Social Media) and what people are viewing (your website).
I can work up a more formal social media strategy for you that can feed into the wider communications strategy. After completing the research targets can be set (and measured) and then fed into the business plan.