Is Your Use of Social Media Effective?

Before you can utilize social media as a tool for your organization you should always set a goal for its usage.  Knowing what types of impressions you make–positive or negative–and how your social media affects your organization’s image can 1) help gauge your audience’s opinion and 2) indicate when it is time to change course.  Whether you want to gain 1,000 media impressions to state that you’ve made an impact or simply maintain a positive image, it is vital that you set up a way to measure your social media impressions.  In this post we will look at how to measure social media impressions and  ways to utilize the info.

How do I measure impressions? The basic how-to in measuring and recording impressions is counting the number of monthly visits, the number of followers or likes, and the number of shares.  You can easily track these by using a link such as bit.ly which allows you to view impressions in the form of a chart or table for free.  Depending on the size of the organization, you should typically set up weekly or monthly benchmarks for your measurement.
bit.ly

Analyze your impressions. After setting up a record of your impressions you should analyze how your viewers see the image of your organization.  Are you making a positive or negative impressions on your audience?   To answer this simply go back to your metrics:  How many people liked your post or tweet?  How many people shared or linked your post?  Were there negative comments?  Did you lose followers?  Blogger Becky Olson shares tips on making the most of media measurement and going beyond measurement.

Calls to action. No matter the size of your organization, focusing on media impressions can help you stay in touch with your audience. Use this information to determine whether or not it is time to change course based on audience feedback.   When tracking impressions, individual actions are not as notable as aggregates.  If there is an overwhelming amount of support of a recent post, look into focusing on additional related posts.  On the other hand, if a large portion of your audience reacts negatively to a post or series of posts, you may need to change course.  Basically, if there is a large push for or against a new method you used in your social media, it most likely indicates a call to action.

Release your measurements. Whether you want to use your records as a means to educate your organization internally or externally, transparent efforts do not go unnoticed.  If you are starting a new organization or are just starting to track your social media impressions you may want to limit your records to internal focuses.  This can help you to recruit and expand your organization.  If you are a larger or more established organization, you should publish your records in the form of a newsletter or post to keep everyone in the loop on the direction of your organization.

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Managing Your Social Media Accounts

“I’m managing several social media accounts for an organization and it’s just overwhelming. What should I do?”  Don’t panic!

Think back to the first time you opened a social media account.  It may have been Facebook, Xanga, or a number of other innovative sites.  Whatever the fad was when you first engaged in social media, do you remember the excitement you shared with your friends as you discovered new features and learned quick tricks?

For those of you who have recently set up a social media account for your organization, you may be feeling the same jittery excitement that keeps you up for hours online.  Once you set up several social media accounts you may even find yourself overwhelmed with constant notifications to your cell phone and email.  Your first reaction might be to turn off your notifications. At the same time you don’t want to tune out your audience… So what is the happy medium?  How do you stay engaged with your audience without losing sight of other obligations?  Although it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world wide web, it is important that you effectively manage your social media accounts by dedicating the right tools and techniques.

Tips to manage your social media before it manages you:

  1. Set up a schedule. The key to saving time is using your time more effectively. Schedule your social media interactions like a meeting.  Professional blogger Wade Kwon tells us to “set office hours.” Essentially, schedule times throughout the day to check your social media and place a time limit on those sessions.  Having time set aside will allow you to be concise rather than spend countless hours online to look up at your alarm clock astonished.
  2. Set up a central location.  If you want to stay ahead of the game, plan your social media posts in advance.  You can utilize sites like HootSuite that will allow you to manage multiple social media accounts simultaneously.   Sites like this allow you to plan your posts based on a schedule you’ve preset. This will cut down on stress and wasted time while keeping you organized.

    hootsuite-2

  3. Limit social media to one device. While it may seem convenient to have access to your social media accounts on several devices, if you limit your access to one device it will help keep you on track.  Designate your home or work computer to your organization’s social media accounts while keeping your personal accounts on your cell phone.  Not only are you relieved of constant notifications, but you can better stick to your social media check-in schedule.
  4. Limit your focus.  Don’t get caught up in the variety of social media sites.   Managing several, unfamiliar sites may not be worth the stress.  One effective social media account will be more effective for your organization than several unorganized or outdated ones.  Pick a method that works for your organization and stick to it.

Bottom line: Setting up a social media presence for your organization can be overwhelming.  In order to save time and energy it is essential that you mandate the right techniques to manage your social media.  Using these tips, you should be able to find a routine that works best for your organization.

Going Digital–The Transition to Social Media

I am starting a series of posts that analyzes the use of social media and the benefits it can bring to an organization.  Some things I want to cover are the importance of utilizing social media that will make an impact, how to measure social media impressions, and different approaches of social media use and their benefits.

Why should I establish social media presence? This post will emphasize the importance of establishing a social media presence and soliciting feedback from an active audience.  Reasons:

  1. We’ve gone digital. The transition from print media to social media as a main form of communication struck as an unstoppable force that caught many print companies off guard.  Since information is readily available on the internet, many have turned to the ease of scanning articles rather than flipping through newspapers.  Countless newspapers suffered from loss of revenue and were forced to go digital. Some transitioned to printing only a few times a week, while others halted print altogether.
  2. To reach your audience.  Social media outlets such as Facebook changed the face of social media to allow organizations to release news that could be shared with friends and infiltrated through the social network.  Flashing forward to Twitter, the most current method to disclose information is fitting your message into a short and concise blurb while attaching links for additional information.  New advances have made news mobile and immediate. These trends call for action. In order to reach your audience, your organization should establish a social media presence.

How do I establish social media presence? Use successful models from past social media. Let’s look at three helpful tips:

  1. Establish your brand. Utilizing social media can help you reach your audience and establish your organization’s purpose.  The topics and issues your organization posts about can largely affect your brand image.  Reaching your audience through social media should give your organization an additional avenue to link them back to your website.  This social media presence can make all the difference when it comes to competing organizations.
  2. Monitor your message.  When planning your use of social media it is important to maintain a specific tone.  Will your tone be up-beat or serious; informative or persuasive?  Your organization’s purpose will typically determine what tone you use.  Whether you are a non-profit promoting a cause or a news organization informing recent events, pick a message you want to convey to your audience and stick with it.  Consistency is key.
  3. Audience reaction. It is important to track how your audience reacts to the messages you post.  Are you making a positive impact? Negative? Neutral? Is your audience sharing your posts with their social network?  Setting up a location for feedback can be very helpful in gauging your audience.  Many social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter allow for built-in feedback in the form of comments and retweets.  Feedback can determine whether to re-brand your organization’s image or continue current efforts.

Bottom line: your organization needs to be able to reach your audience in order to advance.  One of the most effective ways to make an impact is by establishing a social media presence and monitoring your progress.  In further postings we will analyze successful models and how to track social media impressions.

 

These are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Hey everyone!

My name is Nikki Messer and I am a Junior at The University of North Alabama.   I am studying Public Relations as a major and Marketing as a minor.   I am originally from New Jersey and moved to Madison, Alabama about five years ago.  While at UNA I have managed to get involved as a Community Advisor, SOAR Counselor, and SGA Vice-President of Senate.  If you meet me you will probably hear about my puppy, my boyfriend, or how much I love UNA!  Other things I LOVE are original paintings, blonde hair, splash pads and yellow rainboots. Haha. 

I created this blog for a class but plan to utilize it later as a personal resource.   If you decide to follow my postings you will find that I post short and consise (fun size) blurbs about the topic at hand.   Hope you enjoy!