08 Oct Going Down the Social Media Rabbit Hole
Recently I read a blog by a fairly new PR pro like myself that listed some of the things we all thought we knew how to do before working in PR. The one that really struck a nerve with me (in not a small way) was social media.
Outside of the PR world, it’s hard to grasp just how much goes into developing and maintaining a social media program. The average follower of a brand probably has no idea how much work goes into content development, engagement strategies, tracking analytics, the list goes on and on.
With all of the tools, theories, and strategies out there, it’s easy to end up spending your whole day on social media. Here are a few ways to keep organized and avoid going down the rabbit hole:
Tools on Tools
I’ve done a lot of research on social media tools, weighing factors like what gives you the best analytics, what platforms are the easiest to use, and which will work best across several different handles. What I’ve come up with is this: you will get different advice from EVERYONE.
There are limitless options for social media tools but it comes down to which are best for the way you work. Personally, I find that if I try to use too many resources, some eventually fall off my radar. Here are three that I use every day:
- TweetDeck — Let me start by saying that TweetDeck did not promote this post or pay me to write about how wonderful their platform is. This is my most recent discovery and by far my favorite. If you work in an agency where you run several accounts it can get overwhelming to keep track of them all. TweetDeck allows you to put the feeds, notifications, profiles, and hashtags you want to track all in one screen.
- Buffer — Similar to tools like Sprout and Sprinklr, Buffer is a platform that allows you to pre-schedule your social media posts for several different accounts. It gives you great analytics on what you post and personally, I think it has the most user-friendly interface of its kind.
- Bit.ly — You may think Bit.ly is just a link-shortening service but it has expanded! The free service gives you great data on your links and has incredibly useful plugins to other tools you use (i.e. TweetDeck).
When you’re starting a social program your first consideration might be “alright, what can I tweet about?” As you start making that list it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but by staying organized it’s manageable.
Find a way to keep tabs on your client’s upcoming events, ongoing content, and current collateral. For me, that means several Google spreadsheets that are sharable with clients and team members. Using the content that you already have and what you know is coming up, you can make a calendar at the beginning of each month that alleviates some stress of drafting tweets on the fly. It also frees up your time to be on the hunt for new industry articles, events, or blogs that will keep your brand current.
When I first heard that Lisa Buyer, Author of Social PR Secrets, suggests keeping tweets to 100 characters and I actually laughed. I understand her reasoning, you want to leave room for people to share and add their own commentary, but at first blush a 100-character limit seems impossible.
One of her strategies is to use visuals instead of characters. Using tools like Canva, you can create graphics easily and incorporate them in your tweets. Here’s a couple good examples of how the Academy Awards did it:
I know what you’re thinking—duh hashtags are important. #MoveOn #OldNews
Hear me out. Staying on top of key hashtags for your client or brand is crucial for finding the latest and greatest content. Whether it’s an event like “#AUSA2015” or an applicable industry term like “#govIT,” its important to keep up with the content being promoted using these hashtags. For starters, you don’t want to be the person who is using the hashtag incorrectly, and secondly you’ll probably come across some great promotable content.
You can follow and manage hashtags manually, by typing them into twitter and checking on them every now and then, or you can use my favorite Twitter tool that I mentioned earlier. Using TweetDeck you can search for a hashtag and then create a column in your home screen next to your feeds so it will always be in your face, making it hard to forget about.
The exciting and overwhelming thing about social media is that it is constantly evolving so there will always be something new to learn. I hope this has been helpful to you and eased some of the stress of managing multiple social media programs. Do you have any great tips or tools that help you stay on your game? Help a PR pro out–share them in the comments!