Social Media Cheat Sheet
Olivia Hook, NASCIO Research and Digital Communications Coordinator
How do you know which social media platform(s) in which your client should invest time and resources? With so many options out there, how do you decide where to start? It’s usually not smart to use every platform available to you, so here is a ‘social media for dummies’ rundown for the association world.
In recent years, Facebook has transitioned from a place to check in on old acquaintances to a platform where organizations can share photos, events, and other information with their followers. Facebook has gained popularity in recent years for many organizations, so it is a good place to start. Unlike other platforms, there is no limit to the amount of characters or photos you can post on your page. Facebook makes it easy to follow others and engage with your own followers. Facebook may be the baby step your client needs to using more complicated platforms.
Twitter has quickly become the go-to social media platform because of its ease of use and ability to push out information in real time. Although there is a 140 character limit, Twitter is a great way to disseminate updates to your followers. You can also post photos to Twitter alongside a short caption. Follow organizations similar to your own and industry professionals to share resources by way of a ‘retweet’ to your own followers. Remember to check your notifications and engage with your followers!
Designed as a photo-sharing platform, Instagram is probably the most visually-appealing outlet available. Instagram is also the beloved ‘selfie center’ for adolescents, and where I choose to share pictures of my adorable pug. But is Instagram the right outlet for your client? While Instagram is a great platform to share photos of products or events, if your client does not sell a product or hold events on a regular basis, Instagram is probably not the best choice for you. There are other platforms where you can share an entire gallery of photos from a special event with your followers.
I have found that although most professionals have a personal LinkedIn account, few actually use it. We usually create a profile when looking for a new job, but then cease to use it as soon as we are hired. Raise your hand if you are guilty of not updating you profile for a few months... a few years? Unfortunately that is the case for many of us. One way that your client can use LinkedIn in a resourceful way is to create a group. If your client cannot afford or is not ready to invest in an online community platform, LinkedIn can be a creative alternative. LinkedIn groups are a free tool you can use to upload information about publications, announcements, and events for your members. You can choose privacy settings to make the group public, or you can decided to make the group more exclusive.
I would suggest choosing one platform to start out with and go from there. Choose a platform with multiple features, such as Facebook, and play around with it. Once you get the hang of one platform, consider adding another to your client’s repertoire. Don’t go crazy- it is better to master a few platforms than to have a presence on all platforms but neglect them. Consider the resources you have and evaluate your social media successes before you decide to take on another platform. And remember, social media is constantly changing and growing, so keep an eye out for what’s on the horizon!