Advice Unlimited

It is no secret that social media has invaded the lives of organizations everywhere. According to a study done in November of 2013 by eMarketer.com, 87% of organizations used social media in 2013 and that percentage is steadily increasing.


Being active with social media reaps many benefits. However, organizations also run the risk of hurting their reputation if they’re not careful. Being aware of the risks of using social media can help prevent misuses.

 

To help prevent any issues, here are a few easy ways to ensure your organization is correctly represented on social media.

 

Implement a policy and train people accordingly

Creating a social media policy is key to managing social media interaction within an organization. Guidelines need to be put into place for employees’ use of social media. This should include both personal social media accounts and business accounts.

 

Every person has a different view of “acceptable” social media behavior. Let your employees know your expectations and make sure they are clear on the rules. Ensure that your social media policy is in your employee handbook – this makes the rules clear for both you and your staff. This will make for a much better understanding if an issue does arise.

 

Ensuring that only approved people post for your organization will also help to keep your organization protected. Implementing a training session for those select individuals helps to solidify strict control of your organization’s identity. Each employee tasked with social media updates should go through a training session before posting anything.

 

Your policy should also include the standard operating procedure to get approval on a post. Ensure that the employees tasked with message approval are able to reply in a timely manner and make sure that your approval process is clear to everyone within the organization. One of the caveats of this approval should include verifying that the post is relevant to your target audience.  

 

Keep an eye out

Monitoring all social media accounts is the only way to ensure your organization is being portrayed the way you want it to be. Having a team or a manager in charge of monitoring these pages can help to prevent mishaps or misrepresentations. There is also social media monitoring software that is available if there is no time for manual check-ups.

 

It is also extremely important to monitor comments or other content that is posted to your pages. Feedback is always important to the success of an organization; it is important to remember to take immediate action if there is an unacceptable post to your page. For example, if a follower posts an inappropriate picture to the organization’s page, this picture should be removed immediately.

 

Be sure to monitor all social media platforms for mentions about your organization. It is important to see what the public is saying about your organization. It can help the organization make adjustments and gather free feedback. It is also important to respond to relevant comments and mentions.

 

Respond Quickly to Followers

In any organization, there will be members of your target audience who are unhappy at times. If these people are posting on your organization’s pages, it’s crucial to be attentive and handle your responses in a sensitive and timely manner. If appropriate, ensure that your response addresses the concern of the individual and offers a solution within a specific timeframe. Take negative conversations off-line as quickly as possible, making sure you demonstrate onsite that you’re working swiftly to resolve the issue. Organizations should not respond to negative comments exclusively – make sure that your social media team also addresses positive feedback as well.

 

There are many risks that organizations face when they’re involved with social media. Developing policies and standard operating procedures that all employees are aware of is an essential element when it comes to social media success. Building a social media presence is a great way to improve your ROI; having well-trained and well-prepared employees managing and monitoring your social media engagement is necessary to reaping these benefits.  

 

When was the last time you looked through the people and organizations that you’re connected to via social media? To align your social media efforts with your business goals, it’s important to find ways to engage the people and organizations that can help you achieve those goals. Refreshing and replenishing your connections can be an important step in that process.

Selecting the Target

It helps to go through and categorize your followers and rate them high to low depending on their possible engagement. Making it simple by putting them in three categories of high engagement, medium engagement, and low engagement will allow for a better understanding of content that will generate the most pick up on social media.

To define each category, it is best to see how active each person is on social media. Here are a few things to look for when determining engagement:

     1. Is this customer reposting frequently? If so, what types of posts are being reposted?

     2. Do they have other social media pages? If so, which ones?

     3. Are they active and engaging with other organizations? If so, what types of posts (pictures, video, contests)?

 

The information that you find should become part of any future campaign involving social media. This will help to ensure that your posts become attractive to the right audience. Remembering to stay engaged with the customers directly is important.

Follow the Followers

Take a look around different social media platforms. Is your target market really all over Pinterest? If they aren’t, then why are you? Make the most out of social media by making sure you are on the sites that your target audience is involved with! So many organizations are on forms of social media they do not need to be on. It is a waste of time and resources.

Instead of being on every platform, take on one or two and be strong in that area. Be an engaging leader for your customer base. Knowing the content that’s most appealing to your audience can lead to new followers that can become strong influencers on your social media pages.

Make it Count

Getting a post to really jump out at someone is great. Getting your social media targets to talk about your posts is pure gold! When someone shares your post, your reach obviously becomes much larger. If you can reach new potential targets, your social media campaigning will become much more effective.

Engagement is a two-way street. If there is a post from an engaged follower, like it! This helps that one person know that your organization wants to be engaged with its clients. This little gesture will help to give a face to the organization. It also gives your organization a little bit of notoriety among that person’s connections.

Creating content that will engage the right audience can ultimately lead to new followers and clients for your organization. It will make your brand unique and a target destination for followers. Making the most of every aspect from posts to followers makes for a strong social media platform that can be used in all marketing campaigns and will generate a strong ROI for your organization.

 

Social media has become the way of the world. People all over the globe use social media in some way. It is not just individuals, either; organizations are all over social media sites. The question for organizations is how to turn social media into a good return on investment. Social media helps you engage with your audience, build a 'corporate personality,' and communicate directly with your audience -- but the most powerful social media pages also generate business leads and inspire sales. Leveraging social media effectively can help you to make a good impression on both your current clients and potential clients -- and inspire them to do (more) business with you. Every day, organizations and their target audience are directly interacting through social media. Here are some quick tips that could help you turn your social media visitors into quality leads.

Make Your Page Shine
Signing up for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a start, but each page needs to show your organization in a consistent way. Make sure each page is reflecting consistent messaging to your target audience. It is important to make your page unique; that can be done using specific types of content, including enticing visual images.

With so many different organization and brand pages, being unique is difficult, yet vital. An example of a Facebook page that does that very well is The Federal Trade Commission -- this organization does a nice job of making an impression on first sight. The picture of the building is visually appealing. The site has a lot of visitors and followers, building on its interactions with interesting posts designed with their followers in mind.

Posts and Content Make Connections

Posts are the way that organizations show people who they are. They are a way to relate and engage your audience -- quality posts can really attract a good following to your organization.

Here are a few quick tips for posting:

   -To generate a good post, remember who you are trying to reach. Each post is a building block to demonstrate your credibility and knowledge of your given field.

   -Direct your followers to your content. If there is an event or news that the public should know about, post it! People want to know what is going on.

   -Creating contests is a good way to build interaction and get your customers and followers' contact information. It allows the customer to feel involved while also providing a good way to secure lead  information.

People follow your organization to see what the organization finds important and to personally engage with the organization. It makes them feel involved and it helps your organization build recognition with the followers.

FedScoop is a great example of using social media to promote content and build credibility. They give their readers the top government headlines of the day in a quick and informative manner. They understand that not everyone is going to read an entire story; they use social media to quickly inform their readers of the government headlines they need to know about.

Let Your Followers Know You Are Listening

Responding and commenting on your followers’ feedback is important to build trust. It will help to create a strong conversation with the customer. It lets the customer know that they have a voice when working with your organization and that their input is taken seriously.

A good example of a way that customers and organizations interact is Federal News Radio. Not every post has a comment on it, but when there is a meaningful conversation or something to add to a recent post, they do a good job of interacting and following up. This lets you know instantly that someone from Federal News Radio is interacting with their readers directly.

Promote Your Pages Everywhere

Getting others to follow your pages is an important way to leverage social media. Make sure to let others know that your organization has and uses social media. Put social media symbols in an email signature and on your social media sites. Have a link at the bottom of emails linking to your social media pages. Make sure that everyone has an opportunity to find your company on every social media page you have. If no one knows that you have a social media page, no one will follow it.

It is important to remember that there is not a limit to the number of followers an organization should have. The more people who follow your page, the more people hear what you have to say, but quality is more important than quantity – don’t post kitten videos to get followers; only post content that is relevant and of value for your audience in relation to your organization. It is important to monitor what your organization is saying on all forms of social media. Responses and comments should be made quickly and should be well thought out.

Building a relationship with your customers doesn’t just happen because you’re on a social media site - it takes time, creativity, consistency and commitment – just like anything else that works well in business. The advantage is that you can reach many people quickly and relatively inexpensively, providing a broader canvas that also encourages one-on-one attention and interaction. Use social media effectively, and you can build not only your organization’s credibility and reach, but also its source of quality business leads. Social media gives your organization a direct link to your customer – be sure to use it well.

 

 

 

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) 2013 Spring Symposium yesterday, on the topic of: How to Integrate New Media, Tools and Techniques into your Public Outreach Plan.

 

We had a wonderful group of over 50 government communicators who participated in the symposium. We talked about how to strategically drive public outreach using traditional and new media, reviewing the pros and cons of different communication tools, discussing best practices around leveraging social media to build a community and help drive your mission. The session was dynamic, and I had a great time interacting with the group throughout the presentation, learning as much from my participants as I hope they learned from me!

 

MACo is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that serves Maryland’s counties by articulating the needs of local government to the Maryland General Assembly. The Association’s membership consists of county elected officials and representatives from Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Yesterday’s symposium was one of the many opportunities offered by the organization to provide government officials and representatives the ability to improve their capacity to serve their residents.

 

The organizers did a great job of keeping the day moving, the discussions lively and the information relevant. This was a great opportunity to talk about specific outreach methods used by various agencies, and to get information firsthand from Maryland PIOs on how they’re using social media now, as well as how they hope to further integrate these tools into their future communication efforts.

 

I appreciate MACo inviting me to speak at this valuable symposium – it’s clear that most government communicators, as I’ve always believed, truly care about doing the best job they can, and understand the importance of the message they are often tasked with communicating. Technology is changing and evolving at a more rapid pace than ever before, which makes it essential to balance the importance of traditional methods of communication with the value of being open to trying new techniques as well. If you’d be interested in my providing this presentation, or this service, to your organization, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

From the blog of Thomas Moylan, Advice Unlimited's Social Media Specialist.


Social media continues to grow and weave its way into people’s daily lives.  Specifically, I am talking about Twitter.  It is no longer a place where celebrities and athletes update their fans with what they are wearing that day or how good their gourmet salad was for lunch.  Businesses have adopted the social media site as a way of integrating their advertising campaigns into people’s social lives.  It is everywhere and hard to avoid noticing. Nearly every advertisement these days wears the stamp “Follow us on Twitter” at the bottom of the ad.  Posts are limited to 140 characters each; it’s not the size of the post, but the size of the audience the post reaches that matters.

 

The New Year is close approaching and 2013 planning is in full effect! This is a great time to assess your organization’s public relations and marketing strategies for the New Year, and make sure you’re on track for higher visibility and awareness in 2013.

Public relations is hands down the best bang for your buck – it is the single most powerful tool in any organization’s marketing communications arsenal. If it’s not in your arsenal, 2013 is the perfect time to take advantage of this influential tool. Consistent, focused PR educates your audience on the solutions you provide to help solve their problems; a results-driven PR campaign builds name recognition and brand awareness, helping you expand your organization’s sphere of influence. Here are five tips to consider when planning your PR campaign for the year ahead.

From the blog of Thomas Moylan, Advice Unlimited's Social Media Specialist.

 

Anyone who has worked in the Public Relations industry knows the importance of press releases. They have been the traditional method of providing information from a business to various media publications for years. However, advances in technology have created many new ways that people get information, and the news cycle has evolved from weeks or months to days or minutes. Blogs and Social Media sites have greatly expanded where information is found, how many people obtain it and how quickly the information is spread. Could the process of writing and submitting press releases to publications become obsolete? Why not skip the submission and post the information through your own blog? While I love the ease of use that comes with blogs, press releases serve as a vital part of your communications toolkit that should not be overlooked or discarded.

 

GovLoop recently published an interesting report on the State of Government Communications.  The report highlights the top ten trends in government communications.  Some insights I found of particular interest were those around three key areas:  the digital divide, social media, and crisis management.  We agree these are important areas of government communication, and we work with many of our clients to help them deal with challenges around these focus areas.

 

Posted on AOL Government

We've been hearing it for years – print is a dying media.

Each week, it seems, there's a new study released quoting social media statistics and predicting the inevitable demise of print. It stands to reason then, that your grandchildren may never lay eyes on archaic things such as hard copies of magazines and newspapers, right? Not exactly. A recent Ad Age article by Stephen Kraus and Bob Shullman explains how the demise of traditional media outlets has been grossly exaggerated.

2013. Advice Unlimited LLC.

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