Social media has arguably become the most disruptive element of the internet in the 21st century. Being able to communicate with celebrities, brands and the wider world through pocket-sized devices has given us unprecedented power, which many of us are struggling to properly use on either a personal or professional level. The tripartite challenges of social listening, analytics and engagement require skills that most employees simply don’t possess, while as citizens we’re often unprepared for online conflict or criticism.
Creating the perfect timeline?
A new report has revealed that social media management of timelines and new posts is proving particularly troublesome. The average adult now spends 44 minutes a day taking or editing photos, for either professional or personal purposes. However, less than a third of images are ever viewed again, and far fewer end up being published online. Pressure to create perfect timelines has led to a new form of social stress, which has been linked with rising levels of depression and anxiety among younger people.
It is not just image-based platforms in which social media management represents a headache. Consumer demand for communications across social channels means customer service responses are expected in minutes, not days. International brands effectively have to monitor key channels around the clock to prevent a minor complaint going viral and becoming a major PR incident. Customer service and PR have effectively merged on platforms like Snapchat and YouTube, making it crucial to establish a chain of command for social media management.
It’s also critical to set parameters for roles that could easily become overwhelming. For instance, an instruction to “monitor competitor activity on Twitter” would be impossible to fully execute without defined limits on what’s being measured and recorded. With so many social media platforms in existence, each offering unique functionality or targeting different demographics, priority must be given to the most important platforms and messages.
Shortcuts to social satisfaction
These are some of the best ways to ensure social media management is effective, without becoming all-consuming:
Replicate key content across every channel.
Take a press release, and cut it down to 100 words for Facebook. Then reword it to 200 characters for Twitter. Then, cut it down again to 100 characters and publish it on Instagram alongside a photo. Each platform has completely different audiences, so ensure key messages reach all of them.
If a customer posts on a review site using capital letters and expletives, it’ll reflect badly on them rather than you. Responding calmly and politely will impress onlookers, who tend to appreciate a measured response to unreasonable words. Be polite, but apologise for their distress rather than your actions.
Don’t hunt for irrelevant information.
It’s largely irrelevant how many times a month your biggest rival updates its LinkedIn company page. What matters is the quality of your own output – factual/grammatical accuracy, whether new posts increase traffic to your website, and so forth.
Install tools to prioritise interactions.
Today’s algorithmic analysis platforms can identify sentiments such as sarcasm in inbound messages, flagging up key terms like “complain” or “leave”. These posts may require immediate responses, whereas spam messages are often graded as low-priority – or simply ignored.
Social media management isn’t about throwing content into a void. It’s about establishing why campaign A performed better than campaign B, and learning lessons for Campaign C. It’s worth familiarising yourself with an analytics package to enable you to fully measure engagement and ROI.
Your followers all have opinions, so home in on these thoughts with surveys, questionnaires, and competitions. Candid feedback might reveal areas requiring improvement, such as greater product information being needed to support spontaneous buying decisions.