As I’m sure you’ve seen, many social media accounts aren’t managed very well – including university departments. The challenge is that everyone thinks that they know what the customers want – and they produce content that they are interested in, not necessarily what their customers are interested in. When it comes to marketing/sales – you have to give the customer what they want – even if you don’t like it. That’s the biggest challenge. Social media managers will post videos and content that they think is great and what the customer wants – yet their engagement statistics show that their customers don’t care.
So, here are some basic management tips for social media:
- Partner with what’s working: Many folks jump into new social media tools without leveraging their existing resources to their fullest potential. Don’t start a new Facebook page or Twitter account if you can share the content with an existing audience (aka don’t always fragment your audience right away – start by sharing your info on a larger group). There are a ton of department accounts out there with minimal to no engagement.
Then you can see if the content is popular enough to branch out. This will give you practice in building the online community and to better understand what content they’re interested in. Plus, showing that you increased your online community by a large percentage will help illustrate your need for additional resources in the future.
- Maximize what you already have: Consistency online is the most critical component in building/maintaining a fan base. Some consistency best practices are:
Facebook: 1 post daily
Twitter: 5 posts daily
Instagram: 1 post daily
Google+: every post duplicated here for SEO purposes
- Create a Digital Communications Calendar: This provides insight into recurring events, helps plan for additional key/promotional messages, and provides focus for new initiatives by standardizing recurring communications. Nearly everything in higher ed can be scheduled. We know when the halls are opening, when classes are starting/ending, holidays, etc. And you can schedule everything out via tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck – which will make your job a lot easier.
- Clear Goals: Nearly every post should relate to a clear call-to-action so that you can measure whether or not it was successful. There are some social media analytics that can illustrate whether or not the content was popular – but the most important thing is whether or not you can illustrate if/how your efforts in social media attribute to the organizations goals. For example, if you want to increase students applying to the university – that becomes the call to action. Most of your social media posts should then encourage students to apply to the university, in some way or another. If the total number of students applying to the university increases – then you can illustrate your contribution.
- Provide Awesome Content: As I said before, many social media managers post content that they think the customer wants – and their engagement statistics illustrate that their customers don’t care. It is our job to provide the customer what they want, not what we want. Therefore, look at your past posts to see what has been successful and then post similar content in the future. Other resources to find popular or relevant content:
- Solid Customer Service: Many customers contact organizations through their social media platforms – therefore a brand’s credibility can be in the hands of a social media manager. All questions or concerns should be responded to within a maximum of 2-3 hours. Some statistics show that customers expect a response within an hour – so make sure to keep on top of all platform activity as much as possible.
What other best practices have you seen?