Lately I’ve been busy talking at conferences about social media and running workshops on the same. Why? Because I think many places have now started to realize giving marketing departments or people full time control over social media wasn’t, in many cases, the best move.
The most important aspect of social media – no matter what subject – is to be social. Constantly telling people of events and not responding to them, or, perish the thought, actually reaching out to people who are tagging you is all one way, and it gets old. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of content out there that people can be sharing, it’s a buyers’ market for the social media user and we should therefore treat those who do tag us with enough respect to acknowledge them or at least some of them (ok for those who get 1000s of tags it might be hard, but one or two responses a day isn’t difficult). It’s another aspect of customer service, we wouldn’t totally ignore someone who came up to the counter, or visitor information desk would we? Yet we think its ok for those who reach out to us on Social media to be ignored.
It seems a lot of time and energy has been put into creating the perfect stories on Facebook and Instagram. TechCrunch has said that Stories are growing 15 times faster than feeds, but with this growth behaviour changes. Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox stated “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.”
However, having said that, non-story updates are still just as vital and important for engagement. We all know how algorithm changes almost daily, but despite that what has never changed is that when we are naturally social and engaging it is noticed and people will advocate for you. It’s still worth remembering that word of mouth remains the top key referral for visitors and that can be from social media just as much as after physically visiting.
So if you are going to be more social, what about the tone? Just as everyone is different in this world so can the way in which different people socialise online. It’s always been important that the voice and tone of the social media should marry with the mission/collection but also show the individual behind the keyboard. Look at Virgin Trains – every 4 hours they shift staff but each are identified when they take over the shift and use initials throughout. Being fun and cheeky is great if it works for your collection but be careful about coming across as cocky. On the other hand, totally scripted content can hold you back in being receptive to some viewers. The key is to make sure the person(s) running the social media is actually social and is a person who can find that balance.
- Be social – build a relationship with your followers and non-followers!
- Be confident in your brand! Even mention other similar brands. For example, Natural History Museum and Science Museum often mention that they are neighbours. I’ve also seen really good examples of similar collections in different countries working together.
- Check trends every morning (World, US, UK are my standard but I often check Australia also). Can you get involved in any of the trends? Doesn’t have to be culture related!
- Unsure if you’re being social? How often are action words being used in your updates?
- Look at other sectors! Publishing, retail, tech and transport are really great to learn from (what to do and not do). Sam Lounge wrote a great piece on Greggs recently as an example of what to do. Examples of what not to do include shaming other brands such as this example.
- Observe what is going on in your community. That community can be local, online, or specific (accessibility, people who like the topic etc).
- Schedule if you really have to, but also leave some room for conversations. It doesn’t take long to say thank you for visiting or ‘Glad you had a nice visit’
- Don’t ignore criticism. Try to take it offline via email but acknowledge them. At the same time…
- Don’t feed the trolls.
- Chat to other museums/brands.
- Gifs, emojis and Memes are fun – use them!
For all those social media managers battling with the hierarchy or still needing to get approval on all the content before it goes out, try to work with them on small solutions. Don’t give up! Also, please somehow get line managers to stop worrying about the numbers as with all the changes they will change but that is NOT a reflection on good social media management.
‘It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.’
For slides from my last talk click here.