Struggling to build a strong social media presence? Finally getting around to launching a new program? The United States Army understands. Not surprisingly, the US Army has had its share of challenges in telling their story over these digital channels. They’ve also paid a great deal of attention to the impact their public affairs professionals have had in getting their messages out and have published a social media handbook from which we can all take a page or two.
First off, you’ll want to answer the question that all businesses should ask themselves, why use social media? The answer: to ensure your stories, messages and products are accurately portrayed and communicated, whether in times of crisis or just to be newsworthy. These platforms also provide a place for you to engage your consumers in meaningful conversations.
There is an abundance of social media dos and don’ts, some dependent on your specific situation, but don’t let that overwhelm you. We have taken the liberty of borrowing some of the Army’s dos for Facebook and Twitter to help you in your endeavor:
- Ask yourself, “would this be something that would interest my audience?”
- When possible, tag other organizations or pages. The more organizations you tag in your posts, the more people will see them. If the other organization has followers that you do not, they may see the post.
- Be sure to respond to comments in a timely manner
- Mix it up with photos, videos, questions and more. You want to post information about your own business for viewers, but you should also share important industry tips to keep their attention. Asking questions engages your audience and can lead to more correspondence.
- Use at least two hashtags in every Twitter post. Using two hashtags doubles the chances of engagement.
We also selected a few don’ts that will help your pages prosper:
- Don’t remove comments or content just because you don’t like them. Respond in a professional manner for all to see. This is all about social community and you want to be a part of the community so be open and honest
- Don’t post all at one time, space out your posts
- Don’t be too promotional
If you follow these “rules,” your social media presence will become a great asset to your business or organization. You’ll come to share your values – and products – openly and honestly with your clientele. Be thoughtful about your social media goals and take the time to develop a strategy and plan to strengthen your presence.
Now go out and let social media be all that it can be…