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A lot of the Do’s in social media are changing as fast as viewers’ habits change, but others are as old as journalism:WG SM 2

  1. Who are we talking to? It will be a distinct social media group(s).
  1. Why are we doing this? Our purpose will almost certainly be a combination of reputation, growth (sales) and retention.

Keep those three front-of-mind all the time.

  1. We’re publishers: I like to approach it this way: with each social media site (Fbk, LI, Tw, etc.) we are publishing a ‘newspaper’ and we need to think like editors and journalists.

Our stakeholders read us for two reasons, entertainment and information. We need both. We want a good circulation with an active readership, so we always need to work hard on:
–      Headline
–       1st Par
–       Picture

4. We’re editors: When people visit a site for the first time, they scroll down quickly, scanning as they do on pages 1,2 & 3 or a newspaper. A reader will stay if he/she feels that “this site will give me entertainment and information to make my life happier”.

So those top few posts on a social site have to encapsulate what the organisation is about. And each of our stakeholders has to be attracted to at least one of those top stories. It’s a constant battle to get that balance right, just like a newspaper:
–        Think of this trio: Engagement, Information, Culture.
–        Think also about the ‘consistency of tone’ of the page; are we aggressive and opinionated, or friendly and relaxed, more entertainment then information, or what?

With a new site, or a new client, it takes time to design our ‘newspaper’. Allow at least three months.

Look at the sites often and assess, as if you are a first time reader.

  1. Analytics: What are we able to glean from the analytics? As you get to know your audience you will rely in part on intuition, but the analytics of who’s watching, and who’s converting to a sales lead, etc, is critical.
  1. Promotion: Once a site looks the way we want it, we can start growing/promoting it, confident that the right people will stay. We can promote with:
    –     Advertisements
    –     cross-linking
  1. Values: As our sites grow, we can also start making them more complex by injecting the organisation’s values into the content of almost every story, explicitly and implicitly. What are your values? ‘Quality’, ‘Knowledge’, ‘Service’?

This helps to link our social media to sales (if that’s the site’s purpose), as it means we start to talk the same language as the sales department, the customer service department and anyone else who is customer facing; in other words, conforming to the overall brand message.

  1. We’re Journalists: At a more granular level we to need to focus every day on each post, beyond the headline, first par and photo. This is the nitty-gritty of content:
    –    Are we as short as we can be, without repetition?
    –    Are we staying on topic, and is our writing linear, without double-backs or circular thinking?
    –    Are we using short words and clear, simple grammar?
    –    Are we using techniques of intrigue; the use of questions, etc?
    –    Are we tapping into the emotion of the reader; warmth, hate, anger, love, sentiment?
    –    Are we using hashtags and tags and other ways to delve into other communities and build our community?
  1. Keep pace with change: Are we constantly studying new techniques to better reach our ever-changing audience? In this fast moving space, be aware tht this page will be out of date in a month or so.

There are many more ‘tips’ to a better social media outcome, but these are my chosen top 10.

Author Peter Wilkinson

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