Best Practices for Social Media Engagement

Social media can be a powerful tool for building online communities, promoting your brand and contributing to important dialogues. As more and more people tune out from the white noise of traditional media, social media allows you to reach your key stakeholders directly with news and resources.

Perhaps you’ve already established an organizational Facebook page or Twitter account. But are you getting the most out of the staff time being spent to maintain your presence on social media? Following are some best practices for maximizing the impact of your social outreach and engagement strategies.

1. Do your homework. Quick. Can you name the top three groups of people you want to influence? What do you want those groups to do as a result of your outreach? Effective social media planning requires you to be specific about who you want to reach and what actions you want those audiences to take.

2. Make the call. Without focused and strategic planning, social media can quickly become a black hole for staff time, energy and attention. While it’s important to keep your social media channels active, it’s equally important to continually consider what you’re asking of your target audiences and make specific calls to action.

3. Be a good listener. There are two ways to gain a wide following on social media: 1) Become a major celebrity or national political figure, or 2) Embrace social media’s social nature by seeking out opportunities for dialogue and community-building.

4. Track your impact. How will you know if your team’s investment in social media is paying off? There are several ways to think about performance indicators for social media channels, and you can choose to focus on one or more that most closely align with your communications goals.