What is a social media strategy for outreach? Really, it’s about demonstrating your thinking, your values, and background. It’s about interacting with appropriate people in ways that reflect who you are.
Here is some thoughts about how that maps out in two areas: Facebook, and Twitter. I’m mentioning these as two of the most viable and visible tools for social media engagement.
Having a twitter account is a necessary start, maybe several. One might be just a daily thing people can follow, but it has to provide value. So, for example, you might stream out an interesting bit of the day. That, alone, however, is not enough.
A second important role is to engage people. More important than the first idea is to ‘be’ an entity. If an organization is on social media, and increasingly they should be, it needs to be interactive. This is accomplished in several ways:
- point to what the organization is doing
- point to interesting things outside of the organization
- re-tweet relevant stuff that others post (which requires following interesting people)
- respond to people replying to that account.
These require resources, essentially a person or persons who handle these duties. Done well, these activities demonstrate that there is an interesting mind and a sincere heart behind the account.
The same is true of a FaceBook page. Not only should people be friending it, they should be coming back to be engaged the organization, but now also with their colleagues also interested in the organization.
There are different ways to be on Facebook: as a static page, or as a ‘presence’ with dialogs, groups, etc. A static page might get a few ‘likes’, but you really want to build a site as a place to come for folks interested in the organization and it’s work. There need to be discussions supported (and interacted with). There need to be updates. There needs to be a way for people to have a dialog with you. You need information: photos, events. Use apps to create polls. In short, it’s about interaction around the organization and it’s work.
Again, the message is that you’re active, engaged, you really care about what you do. And, again, it takes resources.
These two elements do not live independently. Your Twitter strategy should be aligned with your Facebook strategy, so your tweets point to new information on Facebook, your Facebook account reflects your tweets, etc. Your tweets should drive traffic to the Facebook site, but not exclusively.
There’s more that can be incorporated: blogs (I use twitter and my blog more than my facebook page, but I’m an individual not an organization). However, your elements shouldn’t be too fragmented. E.g. only have separate Twitter handles and Facebook pages if your separate initiatives have to maintain unique identities. However, that’s a branding issue, and not a place I’m qualified to talk about. Once you’ve got the identity, then you need to align your Facebook and Twitter strategies.
So, you should be doing this, and you need to be doing it well. If you don’t do it right, you may as well not do it at all.