Managing your social media

I was chatting recently with a friend who sits on the board of a nonprofit. She asked if I knew someone who could create posts for the organization’s Facebook page.  She was heading down the typical path we see: “We’re looking for a college kid to volunteer and post to Facebook for us.  Don’t you think they will know what to do?”

She did not like my answer – No.

See here’s the rub.  Yes, a “young person” will know their way around Facebook or any other social media site (it’s not that hard, trust me.) But a “young person” does not necessarily know how to represent your brand on social media.  “Posting” on social media is not just a series of key strokes (well, yes, but there is more). It is really about the words and approach you take in crafting engaging and interesting content.  This is hard work.

So if you are looking for help managing your social media, first, you need to do a little work yourself. We would recommend setting up the following 5 safeguards to ensure your brand is properly represented:

  1. Develop a content guide – this would include a list of topics to be discussed or covered. Provide samples of the style of content you want.  Is your brand formal, casual, humorous, sincere, stern, friendly? You might include other brands you want to affiliate with – and are ok to be retweeted or commented on.  Include a list of keywords you want associated with your brand.  Think about jargon, do you want to use jargon relevant to your business or avoid it? Do you mention your competition or not? There is a great deal to cover so they understand what is ok and what is not.
  2. Develop an image/video guide. Social media is driven by visuals. What images/graphics/videos and styles represent your brand?  Think about a list of topics or subjects that are ok. Should all the images/graphics/videos be taken/created by the organization or is stock photography and other’s videos and graphics acceptable? What is the subject matter and are there any images/graphics/video that you would not want associated with your brand (I’m sure there are)?
  3. Legal issues should be covered too.  Remember what gets posted is from your organization.  Look at legal issues and be sure to help your “young person” understand what responsibilities they have to keep the organization safe.  A particular pitfall is creating unique content. If they are responsible for creating all this content, how do you ensure it is original to the organization and not plagiarized accidentally or on purpose?
  4. Set up a review committee or person.  It is unfair to ask this “young person” to know what is right and wrong for the organization.  Designate one or two people who are available and willing to review their posts and approve them on the organization’s behalf.  Writing is an interactive process. Use the approval system to help the manager of your social content learn what is right and what is not, as well as helping to avoid typos or embarrassing errors.
  5. Track your progress.  Everyone like to see progress and you and your social media manager will be no exception.  Track how your social media is doing. Identifying what posts get the most traction and interaction will help you refine what kind of content to continue with and what to avoid.  It will help you experiment and, most importantly, you will know what work to praise!

To be successful, hiring someone (young or old) to manage your social media is not enough. You need to put in the effort to ensure your brand is properly represented. Once you’ve created that framework, your hire is ready to be inspired!