Sharpen Your Social Media Savvy in 60 Minutes per Week… Or Shorter

April 2, 2013

Using Social Media to Sustain and Strengthen Your Program Relationships

Social media interaction and engagement is about more than the tactics or tools. Experts agree that one of the most effective uses of social media is to build and deepen relationships with customers, and I use that mantra to guide my social media efforts here at MIT. The good news is, you can do it in 60 minutes a week or less. When you do it right, you’ll exponentially increase your reach, influence, and engagement—because odds are that most of the people you’re trying to reach, influence, and engage are spending more time on social networking sites. Since 2006, the amount of time that the average person spent on social-networking sites has more than doubled, from 2.7 hours to 6.9 hours per month. More people are using social media, as well. While in 2008 only 24% of Americans had a single social-media profile, 56% of Americans do now. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, wherever, once you’ve determined where your target audiences are, try using the following social media best practices to build and sustain relationships with them. The two best ways to invest your time are to:

  1. Focus on the most important methods to support your social media efforts;
  2. Use time-saving techniques to create and share your content.

Focus on What’s Important

  • Reinforce your brand: At the most basic level, be sure your organization’s profile is consistent across social media platforms. Design your social media profiles to give your constituents an authentic inside view of your organization.
  • Be credible: You can become a credible resource by providing information related to your program, sharing industry events, program happenings, quotes from board members, faculty, students, and of course your own words. Search for and provide unique, thought-provoking content that encourages users to connect with your organization.
  • Be engaging: Your job is to stimulate desire and action from your audience; how you do that is determined by your goals and creativity. In my experience, photos and videos are among the best ways to get instant engagement and present opportunities for fans to share among their friends. Be genuine and ask for engagement — your audience will respond.
  • Be entertaining! At the same time, an effective way to build and maintain trust is through entertainment. Don’t always post about your organization, your faculty, your students. Provide value in a fun and creative way through relevant daily content, videos, contests, and infographics. Be creative!
  • Acknowledge every comment: If someone comments on your post or photos, like their comment, or thank them or engage them in a conversation on your post.

Use Time-Saving Techniques

  • Repurpose content: With only 12 minutes a day, not only must you be selective; you must also become a master at repurposing content. That doesn’t mean cut, copy, and paste one post across multiple platforms. Polish your wording and you have a “new” post.
  • Be selective: Pick a few social media sites and focus your efforts there. For example, I tweet personally (@brm90) daily, Facebook professionally daily, and use LinkedIn once or twice a week. I post to Yammer once a week or so. When I have a video, I post it to YouTube and TechTV; I post on Twitter and Facebook with a link.
  • Use social media as an icebreaker: Twitter and Facebook are like an elevator pitch. Use your posts to spark a more in-depth, offline conversation. Give your target audience multiple touchpoints to connect with your program.
  • Be consistent: If you are consistent with posts, friends, fans and followers will know what to expect. A good tactic is to post specific content each day of the week; you can utilize weekly hashtags that your constituents will look forward to and share, posting news on certain days: Make it fun, be creative, but be consistent.

While social media savvy may initially require more than 60 minutes a week, the tips above will help you get into a rhythm and establish a posting pattern. Try them and let me know how they work for you!