Does your society utilize social media to grow their presence within their field of study, promote members, highlight upcoming meeting and/or upcoming deadlines and poll audiences for opinions on current topics?
Four years ago, one of our clients decided to focus on their social media presence. Through Twitter and Facebook, they have increased the visibility of both our Society and its journal.
They have historically used Twitter to gather analytics since this platform has been our most popular form of social media.
Here are a few basic tips we’ve learned along the way:
Who is my audience? For our client, social media has allowed data to be spread not only to our members, but to those within the scientific community and the general public. They average 90 new followers per month and have increased their total followers by 3500 in less than four years. All of this was done organically, meaning no promotional fees were paid to boost posts to a wider audience. TIPS: It is very helpful to use other’s Twitter handles and popular hashtags within your post. This allows for a wider audience that could potentially become new followers for your account. Follow others, and they may follow you back. However, be mindful of who you follow. Not everyone on social media may support your society’s mission.
What should I post? Our client has chosen to post Journal articles, news articles, new data, acknowledgements for society awards, “members in the news”, and upcoming society meeting information. The majority of our posts revolve around field-related topics and new research. The Journal requests suggested Twitter posts from its authors and has seen an increase in the number of these suggested posts provided in the last 12 months. TIPS: Keep your posts interesting and use photos as much as possible. Research has proven that posts with media (photos, videos, GIFs, etc) gain more interest than those without.
When is the right time to post? The time of day does play a part in how much interest you may gain for your posts. Our client tries to do a mixture of these timeframes in order to capture a wide range of followers. Humans are creatures of habit. Typically, mornings, afternoons and after work hours are popular timeframes. If one tends to scroll through their social media on the train, during lunch break or during your wind-down time each night, we hope to capture each follower during one of these timeframes. TIPS: Research your industry or field of study for popular times to post and check your analytics each month to see if a certain time frame is more popular than others. Sometimes it is hard to tell as it may just be the topics that drive clicks versus the time of day. Expand and experiment with your posts and you will find your niche.
Where do I get my analytics? Twitter provides free analytics, but only for the previous 6 months. Paid services are available that allow you to extract data over a longer period of time if you want to invest in this option. Our client had over 16,000 profile visits (when someone sees your tweet and decides to click on your account to view your page) and nearly 800,000 impressions (how many times people saw a tweet on Twitter) last year. Through Twitter’s Analytic tools, you can identify trends, top tweets each month, new members added and other valuable statistics. TIPS: You can save your data each month on a separate spreadsheet in order to compile data for the entire year. Use this data to strengthen your social media presence.
Why should I use social media? There are many benefits to increasing one’s social media presence, such as increasing traffic to your website, distributing content for awareness (new research, journal articles and field-related articles), marketing events (such as annual meetings, award nominations, etc.) and simply reaching a larger audience. TIPS: Browse other accounts that are popular to see how they are operating and view the audience involvement. Read and learn what your audience is interested in. Take a class, talk to others and even ask for others to suggest posts.
How often should I post? Don’t post too much! Research has shown that it’s not the number of tweets that are posted, but the quality of the posts that captures the audience’s attention. It has actually been determined that too many posts can turn away viewers as it becomes too “noisy”. Historically, our client posts 30-40 tweets/posts per month. TIPS: Free or fee-based scheduling tools are very helpful in managing the volume of tweets that are posted. It is helpful to gather all your pre-determined posts for the month and schedule them using these tools. You can fill in new data/announcements as needed. The scheduling tools are extremely helpful and can also provide analytics. We have used Twuffer, Hootsuite and Facebook Scheduler for our accounts.