Four Keys To Social Media Success


You get a call from your manager, asking you to “do stuff on social media.” You have no idea what to do. You’ve been working as the “social media person”, but have not seen much success. Here are a few items that will put you on the track to consistent social media wins.

Be Timely

This is one of the most important parts of digital success, primarily in social media. You must be timely. If a news event happens, you only have a small window of time to respond and garner the engagement and reach that will make your post a success. Digital does not move at the pace of traditional communication. It is easy to tell when someone is a traditional communication professional, they tend to send tweets, Facebook posts, and news that’s days old, expecting me to tweet it or post it on a national account. News that happened a day ago is no longer news unless something new has happened.

Many digital teams have content for deaths (memes, condolence messages) in the coffer, ready to post once the person passes away. It may seem strange to do, but planning is a major part of an effective digital strategy. I remember receiving a tweet notification from CNN about a high-profile death–because the digital team I was working with planned ahead of time, we were able to post our condolence graphic in 5 minutes. That post obtained a reach of over 3 million in less than 24 hours, our record for the year. Other digital teams were scrambling to decide on a photo, the proper messaging, a famous quote, etc.

Ask Someone

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There have been many major corporate snafus on social media. When you are managing content for a client, you must be mindful that your quirky humor may be offensive to someone else. Also, on touchy issues, such as the Seahawk’s tweet commemorating MLK Day, playing on his “I Have A Dream” speech, don’t be afraid to ask diverse people in your office or friends if something makes sense. It’s awesome to experiment and take risks but stay away from sensitive subjects unless you consult who they affect directly.

Learn the Voice

One of the most important things in digital media is the voice. When you are hired for a digital job, you must learn the voice of the organization or client. This may take some time. For me, it can take hours of research to learn about the culture and how the company has communicated to its consumers/audience in the past. It could take months to really feel comfortable messaging on the fly. You can’t speak like yourself, you must speak like you are a walking company logo, but with a splash of your creativity and personality.

Know the Channel

The audience on Facebook is different from Twitter and Instagram. I have had success on Twitter with a post, while the same message lacks engagement on Facebook. It is important to tailor your content for each social channel. There are also some things that are much better as a blog, not a Facebook post. This concept is similar to MTV having various sub-channels to fit their audience (MTV 2, MTV Jams, MTV Hits). Facebook tends to be older, Twitter is somewhere in the middle, and Instagram is usually younger. Twitters users are more aware of current events and more snarky. You have to be mindful about your approach here. Beware of hashtags. They can be used against you.

Google Plus is a platform that consists of a hodgepodge of people, many are tech-savvy and more liberal in their approach. This is a prime area to experiment. You must always remember that digital is not one size fits all.

Digital media is an exciting way to engage with the public, but keeping in mind the need to be timely with your messages, consult everyday people, remembering how the organization would speak to the public, and knowing what message fits where are important and will set you in the right direction to digital success. I will share other keys that I have researched and learned in another installment of this blog.

Thank you for reading.

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