ICT consultant Sue Fidler shares advice on how to share the social media load
One of the enduring questions from charities of all sizes is how to support and maintain fresh content on all the social platforms they want to appear on.
Most charities self manage their content – I know of very few which outsource, partly because of budget I suspect, and partly because of a control and “voice” issue.
So, if you can’t afford a networking manager, how do you resource having a presence on social media?
Plan your content
Have a social media (and email) plan in the same way you would have a direct mail plan. Agree the key messages, dates and asks. Yes, you have to be interactive, but you need to have your own agenda as well as responding.
Draw up a schedule and pre-write copy
For campaigns, plan a crescendo of activity leading up to the event/campaign date and as much as possible pre-plan the ongoing campaign, at least in general terms. Then you can pre-post messages and arrange for them to be published on a later date, or have a non-campaign person post them for you – it only needs copying and pasting.
Feed multiple accounts from one post
If you don’t have a content management system which can feed content to social media platforms, consider using RSS feeds and blog posts to do it. That isn’t always the perfect solution in terms of word count, but using blogs and tools like FeedBurner will allow you to feed multiple social media sites from one post.
Share the load
I don’t believe in “one voice”. Unless you have a full time editor, share the load between teams and people – even if that just means a rota of who is “on duty”.
Draw up an escalation plan
Always have an escalation plan, however basic. If something goes wrong when a junior intern is on duty they need to know who to contact.
Plan for the future
Think about how you are going to manage your content based on users, platforms and content. Who wants what, who reacts best to what? Then start thinking about targeting the content to the audience. In crude terms, this is the start of ‘Information Architecture’ and where we all have to be going.
And finally one for the bosses – there must be flexible working practices for those of us who manage social networking. If you launch a major campaign you have to be prepared to keep an eye on it out of the office – this isn’t a nine to five job.