I’ve been asked by several councils in regional Australia about the best way to set up a social media presence. Here I’ve listed 10 questions to consider before setting up social media for your organisation. Hopefully it will get you thinking about the main issues involved in running social media accounts.

What are your goals? They should support the goals of your organisation.

What do you want to achieve by setting up a social media presence for your organisation? List your goals. How do they support the goals of your organisation?

How will you measure? Social media can be measured.

Social media can and should be measured. How you measure it should link with why you set up your social media in the first place.

Examples could include:

  • Qualitative: Positive feedback / ideas generated from the public / customer service outcomes.
  • Quantitative: Likes / shares / comments / reach. While these figures can be helpful, don’t rely on them alone to guage success or failure, they don’t tell a complete story.
  • Outcomes: What you did with people’s feedback / how many signed up to your newsletter / came to plant a tree / visited your exhibition?

Who will be your champion? Get a senior manager onboard.

It’s a good idea to get one or more senior managers (or elected representatives) onboard with the idea of using social media in your organisation. They don’t necessarily need to know the difference between a Tumblr and a Snapchat, as long as they understand the benefits of using social media and will always back you up.

Who’s running the show? Only people who use social media should run social media.

I saw a great tweet recently attributed to the Queensland Police Service. It was something along the lines of: “Only people who use social media should run social media”. Don’t let people who don’t like or don’t understand social media call the shots.

Who is your audience? Get to know them.

Who is your audience? Get to know them. How old are they? Where do they live? What social networks they are already on? What content they would like to see? Create a small survey to ask your people these questions through your existing communications channels (face-to-face / online / newsletter).

What content will you post? Think of ideas for regular segments.

What content will you post? As well as news and events, think of other ideas before you start.

In Queensland, communities are always interested in local updates relating to disaster management such as storm warnings. Other regular segments could include photos, quizzes and competitions.

Content should in some way support the goals of your social media, but fun content that brings people to your profile is vital too.

Think about who creates content in your organisation and get them onboard: media officers, environmental teams, librarians, art gallery staff, community workers. What content can you source from your community? Ideas include: Photos of your region, Local history, Ideas for improvement.

Segments we have run include:

How often will you post? Set up a content calendar.

How often you post will depend on the platform(s) you use. It could be several times a day or several times a week.

Set up a content calendar and schedule in content for the coming month. Think of special days and upcoming events. Pencil in ideas.

Don’t forget that often the posts that do really well are topical posts that tap into current events and are ‘of the moment’. Attend local events and post updates and photos while you are there.

Who will monitor? Social media needs to be monitored 24/7.

Social media never sleeps. Let your audience know when your profile is monitored and provide out-of-hours contact details.

However, you will still need to monitor posts and comments 24/7. Who will do this? Will you have a staff rota? Do they have work iPhones or iPads? Will they be given a monetary allowance? Will they be credited time off in lieu?

When people provide feedback and ideas, don’t forget to pass them all on to the appropriate teams in your organisation.

Who will respond? Tap into existing knowledge and workflows.

Who will respond to questions and customer service queries? Ideally it should be your customer service team, but if this is not possible, get your social media officer to spend time with customer service to understand the basics.

What timeframe will you aim to reply within? The shorter the better on social media.

For out-of-hours questions, formulate some holding statements to reply with until your organisation can respond fully in business hours. People don’t always expect an immediate answer, but they do appreciate being acknowledged quickly.

Do some research on the main questions and complaints your organisation receives through existing channels. Work with people to formulate standard replies and understand how you can add questions and service requests into existing workflows.

How will you promote? Tap into existing channels and networks.

What existing channels can you use to promote your new social media profile?

Here are some ideas:

  • Signage in venues
  • Signage in customer service centres
  • Your website
  • Email newsletters
  • Printed material
  • On-hold telephone messages
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Community groups
  • Community roadshow

Haiku Deck version of this blog

Check out the sexy Haiku Deck version of ‘Setting up social media’

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