Engagement 101: Social Media Recap
The team at Tassl recently partnered up with social media expert, Liz Stahl, as part of our Engagement 101 series, to help lead discussions and talk about trends that impact the alumni relations space. Our team has had a ton of fun planning these sessions and talking to industry professionals about gaps in professional development that we can help fill. While we know a lot of our topics are also covered at conferences around the US, for institutions who have limited travel budgets, or professionals trying to keep up with the quick changing technology space - we have enjoyed being a resource!
This 101 session was particularly fun for us, since Tassl's focus is measuring an engagement strategy - and social platforms are a key player in where constituents are engaging. We also view social as one of the major communication and marketing channels institutions should be focusing on to stay top of mind with their constituents. When you think about the time and resources that goes into building range of programming, events and service you provide as an institution - you want to make your constituents actually hear about it. With the world as over communicated as it is today - staying above the noise has become one of the main challenges for constituent engagement. As professionals, we have to constantly evaluate the return and balance of communications through social, email, direct mail and one-to-one.
The bigger challenge then becomes who do we communicate with where to be the most effective? We'll we know a large percent of our audience is on social - in fact roughly two thirds of US adults are on Facebook according to the Pew Research Center. This drive a huge opportunity to leverage this platform to connect with your constituents in meaningful ways and exactly why we were excited to partner with Liz Stahl, from InHaus Consulting, to share best practices and trends for social. Her experiences working with major brands across the world helped shed a lot of insight on things we should be thinking about in constituent engagement.
Below are some of the key insights and takeaways from our session with Liz! In this session she focused on the importance of CONTENT and DISTRIBUTION throughout your social strategy.
Social Media Best Practices
1.) You have to have goals. While this is an across to board best practice for constituent engagement, having goals and a method to the social media madness is key to determine what is working and what needs to get adjusted. For a lot of what institutions and organizations are trying to do on social, your goals should align with driving traffic from the social platform to a third party location - like your events page, giving pages, stories.
2.) Study your audience. Tools like Facebook have free Audience Insights that allow you to search and learn about the particular audiences you are talking to. We know they have data (too much if you have been listening to the news lately), but it's open for anyone with a Facebook Ad Manager to explore. You can but your organization in as an "interest" and then see some pretty cool dashboards on demographics, other page interests and more. This information if critical for positioning and developing your content to stay relevant. Your constituents expect you to know them and what they are interested in. The Audience Insights tool on Facebook is like if someone analyzed all your ROCs (records of contact) in your constituent CRM and sent you a report of most referenced topics and interests and you could look at this report updated as frequently as you'd like.
3.) Create an editorial Calendar and framework it with themes that tie back to your goals. This will help you take a look back at what works and what doesn't. You should be planning your content themes for the next month and try to only have about 3-4 major themes. This was largely talked about at a recent CASE conference I attended as well. Themes should center around driving positive sentiment and building trust with your brand.
#EngagementHack - The team here at Tassl actually uses a free service called "Airtable" for our content calendar. It's flexible and super easy to use. We also use Zappier - another free service that zaps the our posts to our Buffer scheduler once approved (Buffer also offers free and affordable plans).
4.) Stay in the know about how changes to platform algorithm and play by the rules to get the most exposure! Things are always changing, but they aren't super secretive about it. Follow Facebook's blog for updates to changes they make and know which content they are focusing on to keep your posts rising to the top. For example here are some current things to think about with your content;
Make sure it looks great on mobile. Everyone is viewing it from their phones, you should be testing what your post look like from mobile devices! While we might be spending most our day in desktop - that’s not where our constituents are. It’s actually estimated that by 2020, 95% of those accessing social, will be doing it through their smartphones.
Focus on video and peer-to-peer content. Algorithm shift focuses on content that is relevant peer to peer to drive sharing.
Don't share slow links. If the site takes a long time to load, it's not going to get great exposure on the platform.
Share purposefully. Think about what you are posting and don't just post for the sake of posting. Make sure again, it's designed for mobile. But also think about if the post is interesting enough share.
Liz also shared with us all her tips and tricks for best times to boost posts, how sharing across platforms impacts visibility and how likes are valued versus share and click throughs. We want to say a special thanks to Liz for taking the time to put together such a great presentation for our audience and sharing with us your great advices and insider information.
We'd love to hear if any of you are doing interesting things on social to stay relevant to your audiences.
Join our Engagement 101 Roundtable for updates on our upcoming webinars!