This quarter, I had the opportunity to work with two fellow PR majors on a social media audit and conversation analysis for the City of Eugene. Our job was to look at the city’s current social media practices in comparison with two other cities and to generate recommendations for improvement. At the culmination of the project, we had the privilege of presenting what we learned about successful social media to more than a dozen city officials and workers. This is what we told them.
Use Analytic Tools
Professional social media requires more than composing tweets or posting on Facebook. There are hundreds of websites and applications designed to analyze influence and success on social media. Use these tools frequently to track progress and measure success. This will help you decide which of your media tactics are working and what needs to be changed. My favorite tool is Edelman’s TweetLevel, which scores a Twitter handle based on engagement, trust, influence and popularity. See how your Twitter handle is doing now for free: http://tweetlevel.edelman.com
Know the Platforms
Every social media platform exists because it offers users something unique that they cannot get anywhere else. For this reason, it is crucial that you have an understanding of each social media platform you use. Know what people look for when they check a particular social media account and tailor your content to that platform. Encourage social media users to follow you on every social media account by offering unique content on each channel. Never directly share content from one social media platform to another. Your content will be altered along the way due to differences in message length requirements, and your message will change, as well.
Join the Conversation
It is impossible to control what people say about your organization or brand on social media. But thanks to social media analytic tools, it is possible to understand them. We used an online tool called Social Mention to see what people were saying about the City of Eugene. Social mention shows you top hashtags, sentiment ratios, authors and other information about a key phrase. You can use this information to become an active member of the conversations going on about your brand or organization.
Engage, Engage, Engage
The most important lesson I learned through our work with the City of Eugene is the importance of engagement. Once you have identified the ongoing conversations that exist outside of your own social media accounts, join them. Replying to, sharing and liking followers posts show that their opinions are valued and important. Boosting engagement will increase your influence and popularity on social media. This will improve your overall presence and trustworthiness as a brand. Check out @travelportland to see a great example of engagement on Twitter.