If you head up your organization’s social media efforts, you may be juggling a Facebook profile, Twitter account, LinkedIn company profile, Flickr account, and/or YouTube channel. Some of you may even be community managers for your organization’s membership website. It can be exhausting coming up with new content and keeping it from overlapping on your various sites. Not to mention, tending to these social media sites is probably in addition to your other job duties — like increasing membership, marketing, PR, etc. Below you’ll find three ideas that will (hopefully) help you make sense of the madness and bring a little process to social.
1. Cliches should be honored – by that I mean the tried and true — have a plan and know your audience. For the longest time, Seth Godin refused to be on Twitter. He didn’t think it’d be a good fit and he didn’t want to do anything half-way. That was his plan. But he also knew his audience and probably began to see value in the emerging Twitter community. So now he has a Twitter account and posts links to his blog. His Twitter account serves as a headline service for his blog posts. Decide what platforms work best for your organization and know where your audience is. Use both to decide where you will be and how you will monitor conversation, post and become part of the discussion. Don’t feel obligated to jump on every site (although securing your organization’s name on them does not hurt). Choose only sites that make sense for the demographic you are trying to reach and stick with only as many as you can manage effectively. Review your strategy periodically to make sure it still makes sense and continues to be in line with your organization’s goals and mission.
2. Curtail overlapping content. When you have multiple platforms, you need a lot of content. While I agree with those who suggest reusing content, I am a bigger believer in “repurposing” content. To repurpose content give some thought as to the platform you are using and how you are presenting the content. For instance, we may post a press release on our website about the new membership software features we just launched. I will then take that press release, remove all of the formal press release-y lingo, add in some language about direct benefits to our current customers and post it to our private online community for YourMembership.com’s customers. Then I’ll go back and take the main bullet points of what we just released, add that to our Facebook page and Tweet the original press release with a URL directing them back to our site (more about that below). But creating new content is also important when managing multiple channels. Try to give each its own personality while remaining true to your brand. For instance, you may use your blog for updates on industry news; your Facebook page for discounts on your service; your Twitter account for calling attention to your members’ accomplishments and YouTube for video case studies. If you give a purpose to each site, it will help you come up with varied content.
3. Respect the funnel. Maintaining multiple sites is like setting up test markets. Some will inevitably do better than others but all of these “tests” should direct consumers back to you. This is probably one of the biggest social media blunders I run into. When you are out there creating content and engaging with others, don’t miss an opportunity to tell them where they can find more of your great content. This does not mean sending them from Twitter to Facebook. The image in this blog post illustrates why this is important. At the top of the image are all of your social media sites, swirling with activity. If on Twitter you post a URL that links the reader to your Facebook page to find out more about an event, for example, you run a huge risk of losing this reader. What happens when the reader clicks on the URL and is redirected to your Facebook page? They see icons in the top, left-hand corner of the page. Ohhhh. Look! A message about going out tonight. Gotta click on it. Joey’s having a party. Suddenly they’ve navigated away from your page and are on their way back to their stream to find out what else they’ve been missing while they were looking around at your content. No one needs distractions. There are plenty that you have no control over. Why provide additional ones? Lure them in to your site. Have all Twitter or Facebook references lead back to your website, or better yet — if you have one, your private online community. By ensuring all of your URLs on your public pages lead to your organization -specific ones, you are funneling your followers into your community, leading them to you and making it easier to reach your social media goals of conversions and sales. If you fail to funnel them in, you run the risk of them spinning off into social networking distraction.
Managing multiple presences in the social sphere is time-consuming that’s why it is of the utmost importance to ensure that all of your efforts are geared toward bringing maximum return on your time invested. These are my suggestions on how to make things a little more manageable. What suggestions do you have?