As part of my MA in Social Media I’m required (unsurprisingly) to learn how to use lots of different social media platforms, analyse what works well (or doesn’t), and get up to speed with the latest innovations and possible future developments. So, I decided to take the plunge and have a look at some of the most useful social media tools and pointers – the following is a quick summary of what I found:
Let’s start by looking at the old favourites of Facebook and Twitter: although the main interface of Facebook hasn’t changed that much, be sure to make full use of the audio-visual options available for posts – these include adding videos to photo albums, and presenting pictures as an ‘in-feed’ slideshow. Ooh, and don’t forget Facebook live – you can broadcast direct to the world and it’s incredibly easy – simply click on ‘live video’ in ‘what’s on your mind’ (just make sure you’re using the Chrome browser).
As to Twitter, well, if you’re looking for a quick check on how you’re doing, visit tweetstats.com – put your Twitter username in, press ‘Graph my tweets’ and a few seconds later lots of information will come up on screen:
The following shows information on the account plymunilib (where I work (I have permission to refer to their accounts)) – this first graph shows all the action since Jan 2014:
Want to see a particular month? Just click on the month, and you will see numbers of daily tweets, together with replies and retweets:
You can also see top ‘replies to’ accounts and much more:
So, moving away from Facebook and Twitter, what about a blog? Yes, yes, yes, can’t recommend them enough – if you can, go for wordpress.org, because…
- You have complete control over your site
- There are any number of plugins that will help you put together a professional look and top quality analytics
- Speaking of analytics, the Google analytics dashboard will give you everything you need
- And, if you find you’re not being found as often as you would like, install Yoast – this is a plugin that will guide you through Search Engine Optimisation, allowing you to tweak your content for search engines and readers alike
OK – you’re reinvigorated to use Facebook and Twitter and you’ve set up a blog – what do you put on them? No longer is it all words, words, words: audio-visual material is now critical. If you’re trying to get your audience to remember something, visuals can be recalled more easily. Looking to keep a reader’s attention? Make a video and include that as part of your posts. Be concise, break written information into small chunks, and use lots of colourful pictures and shareable content.
I guess it all depends on what your aim is – if you are an individual creating for friends and family, that will mean one set of aims (perhaps a few likes and comments, and content being shared within the group). If you are a business however, or need to monitor your engagement, setting up a social media strategy is crucial:
Think about the following steps –
- Decide what you want to achieve – from this comes your targets
- Set your targets (likes, shares, followers, number of accounts etc.)
- Come up with a plan to make the above happen – would a schedule of posts help? Creating shareable content in different ways (gifs, Pinterest boards etc.)? Live video?
- Decide on which analytics tools will work for you and make sure you analyse the results– learn to move beyond simply analysing how your accounts are performing. Instead, look in detail at when followers interact with you – have you done something differently, does a particular approach or design style work better? Keep trying out different approaches and tailoring to your audience.
So, there we have it – my first thoughts on making different platforms work for you – please do comment below with any thoughts or additions to the ideas…