On Wednesday, Ragan Communications hosted its first Twitter chat—#RaganSocial—on social media management. Communicators nationwide weighed in on time management, top tools, measurement and more. Here’s what we learned:
1. Social media/PR pros love their tools.
Communicators, PR pros and social media managers all have one thing in common: they’re strapped for time. Participants shared their favorite tools, which included Hootsuite for management and measurement, Facebook’s post-scheduling feature, Tweetdeck, Peoplebrowsr, Sprout Social and more.
They offered so many wonderful, insightful answers that we created a Google Doc—”Tools social media managers love”—that details paid and free monitoring tools, link-shortening tools and more.
2. If you could only pick one platform to use for business, it would be …
That’s a loaded question, but we asked it anyway. Many participants said it depended on the client, but Twitter and Facebook were mentioned often. Twitter because of the real-time conversations and people it can reach, and Facebook for text and visuals, and the level of engagement. LinkedIn was mentioned as a great way to establish meaningful connections, especially in the B2B space. Others said it was impossible to choose just one because their clients vary.
Although participants said they use Google+, their biggest problem with the site is its similarity to Facebook. They agreed that Google+ Hangouts have the potential to engage fans and company executives, but worry that the social network is too small and consists primarily of technology pros. Others said they use Google+ to improve search engine optimization.
3. Staying sane on social media is tricky, but doable.
Social media is time consuming, overwhelming and sometimes plain terrifying! Our chat participants shared their top tips for staying organized and sane:
- Create a content calendar with a few months planned out. (Here’s a good one.)
- Schedule posts and schedule time to schedule posts. Don’t be on call 24/7.
- Have a strategy, content library for slow days, and a crisis response plan.
- Focus on one idea at a time and measure results to determine the success.
- Know your target audience and be active on the channels they use.
- Get some “off” time by scheduling posts.
- Assess what’s working and what isn’t. Decide whether to drop something, change it, or do something new.
- Use Hootsuite/Tweetdeck columns.
- Schedule time to post but also to engage.
- Encourage other departments to contribute content so it’s not your team’s responsibility alone.
- Make sure you’re in the loop with marketing, events and other departments that affect your business.
A small debate arose around whether scheduling posts is purposeful or inauthentic. What do you think?
4. Measurement remains a tough topic to grapple.
Our last question was about a hot topic in PR and social media: measurement. How and what you measure ultimately depends on your business goals. Participants said:
- Use your data! If something is not working, stop doing it.
- For Facebook, try exporting data to Excel and create graphs to monitor your engagement rate.
- Have baseline data to measure results against.
- Whatever you choose to measure, do it consistently and over a large chunk of time.
- Make sure you have goals to work towards.
- Only measure what you really need to know.
- Track as you go.
- Invest in social listening tools.
- Measure on a weekly and monthly basis to see short- and long-term changes
What tips would you add to this list? Will we see you at next week’s #RaganSocial (Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. ET)? Which social media topics would you like us to discuss?