Janna Crabb is the director of online communications at CASE.
Your institution is on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You also have an institutional blog written by staff members and students. You religiously push out content to your friends, connections and followers. While you receive the occasional comment and you don’t feel that you are posting into a void, you want to know what to do to further engage them in conversation.
While platforms vary–we can all agree that Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and blogs require different approaches–adhering to the following basic guidelines can improve the connection with your audience.
- Stay focused. Just because something is interesting does not mean that it is relevant to the purpose of your group. Be selective about what you put in front of them. Before posting content, take a moment to ask yourself whether your group members will find value in it.
- Know your audience. Why do people join your communities? Find out what they want and provide them with valuable resources. Read posts and comments, analyze social media statistics and engage with frequent contributors to learn more about your audience, their interests and reasons for joining your group.
- Follow discussions. It always pays to know what people are talking about on blogs, listservs or social media platforms, both in your groups and elsewhere. Doing so is likely to highlight hot topics and the interests of group members and potential group members.
- Act as a resource. Offering valuable information your groups will help grow your social media presence and offer real worth to those reading it. If you include resources created by others and limit marketing, you’ll also increase your credibility.
- Ask for opinions and expertise. Showcase the individual and collective knowledge of group members and participants. In doing so, you’ll facilitate not only their engagement with your institution, but also their engagement with one another.
These guidelines just a few of the many things to think about when selecting content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and other social media platforms, whatever their topic.
Have you successfully engaged your social media community members? What has worked for you?