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February 17, 2016 @ 12:00 am
When you are using social media, “You’re not there to sell something, you’re there to build something.”
That was an underlying message that digital storyteller Josh Klemons delivered in a rapid-fire presentation Wednesday at the Social Media Breakfast Madison event at Turner Hall.
“Social media is people,” Josh said. “What you’re really doing is talking to other people, and as soon as you forget that you are not doing social media right.”
Josh uses social media to build coalitions and build movements. You can’t do that, he said, unless you are focused on not just informing but engaging people.
At its best, social media can be utilized to build a movement by:
- Connecting with real people.
- Leveraging supporters and partners.
- Knowing your story and remaining true to it.
- Ensuring that your team (including volunteers and supporters) are properly trained.
An engaged social media presence does not start online:
- Build a coalition offline that can support you online.
- Hold staff trainings for staff, supporters and volunteers.
- Build a rapid response list.
- Write and share digital guides for events and campaigns.
Once you’ve laid that groundwork and have developed an offline and online strategy and presence, keep engaging your audience.
Josh covered a variety of strategies for succeeding in social media:
Always respond to questions or comments. Josh told the story of how he received spam messages from an organization that he supported and followed on Twitter. So he Tweeted them – twice – to let them know that they had been hacked. They never responded, which left him feeling like he did not matter to them. He was trying to help them, and they ignored him.
“They did not use this as an opportunity to bring me into their community,” he said. If they had publicly Tweeted back to Josh not only would they have been reinforcing him as a supporter of their organization, they would have let other people know that they recognize, engage and appreciate their followers. Not to mention that they take care of problems.
Tag and recognize your partners. “The more you thank them and let them know how much you appreciate them the more they are going to do the same for you,” Josh said.
Generously use Favorites and Likes to connect with your supporters. “Let them know that you saw it,” Josh said. “Favorites and likes cost you nothing … No time, no effort. … It’s going to be hard to bring people into your community if they don’t feel you are actively engaged in it.”
Retweets and Shares are a great way to tell your story. “The easiest thing in the world is to tell people how great you are and the hardest thing in the world is to get other people to say how great you are,” he said, so when people do tell your story, recognize them, thank them and spread the word. It not only benefits you, it makes them feel good about supporting you.
Don’t be a robot. “The first part of being authentic is not being a robot.” Auto tweeting from your Facebook post tells your followers and online friends you don’t have enough time or don’t care enough to tell your story in an appropriate way for each platform.
Always practice good account management. Josh had a barrage of tips for elements of good account management, including:
- In Twitter, don’t ask people to assume a lot, be clear.
- Use images.
- Live Tweeting is good when done right.
- Don’t auto tweet from your website. “You should do a little more work so your community has to do a little less work.”
- Always tell a story. If you’re a band promoting an upcoming concert, for example, don’t just sell tickets, talk about where you had dinner, show pictures or your fans, make it fun.
Supporter Spotlights are Win – Win – Win. “You should let your fans know that you know who they are.”
- The first win is that when you spotlight a supporter, you are showing everyone that you care about people.
- The second win is that the people you are highlighting will appreciate the thanks and attention.
- The third win is that, when done correctly, you aren’t just highlighting that person but in the process connecting the message to your organization.
Know your brand. “The more you understand your brand the easier it is going to be to tell your brand’s story. Everybody who tells your story should be playing off the same playbook.”
Share memes, videos and pictures. Everyone responds to images.
Use and create hashtags, but be careful. While hashtags are very effective in reaching audiences, they can backfire if not used correctly. For example, Josh cited the time DiGiorno Pizza Tweeted: “#WhyIStayed. You had pizza.” The problem is the #WhyIStayed hashtag was being used to raise awareness of domestic abuse, and while the author was trying to be clever, the context was inappropriate.
Tell Your Story. “People are not going out to buy your product, they are going out to buy your story,” Josh said. “At the end of the day it’s your story that people are connecting with.”
Every story has three parts – beginning, middle and end – but almost nobody does the third part, Josh said.
For example, he said, for a fundraising event the beginning Tweet tells people where and when the event is. “Everybody’s does this. This is the easy one.”
The middle Tweet highlights everything that’s happening at the event – the speakers, the amount raised, how many showed up, who is there, etc.
The end thanks people for coming, shows empty plates of food, stack of canned foods collected, etc. That last Tweet completes the circle and shouldn’t be overlooked.
When telling your story, use pictures, infographics and videos. Include your logo on everything. Connect yourself with the picture forever. Use the Canva app to easily create memes. Take pictures at all your events.
And remember, Josh said, your story doesn’t stop on the weekend.
Find out everything you can about your followers. Twitter and Facebook both have extensive analytics tools that will help you get to know who is following you, when they are on your page, how they got there, what they like and what they don’t like. Use them.
Which leads to Josh’s final message, which he calls an adage for social media managers to live by: “If it didn’t happen on social media, it didn’t happen.”
Written by Bill Hurley, (@billhurleymedia / billhurleymedia.com / beachmaniac.com) Editor, writer, social media strategist, website developer, digital publisher. BillHurleyMail@gmail.com, Bill@smbmad.org.