Social Media Tools, Tips, and Best Practices

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1 Social Media Tools, Tips, and Best Practices There are lots of social media platforms out there. It can be daunting to try to figure out which ones are a good use of your limited time and will actually help you engage with members, allies and potential supporters, so we ve prepared this short guide to help you wade through the options. Before you set up an account on a social media platform ask yourself a couple of key questions: 1. Why do you want to use this platform? a. Wanting to be a part of the next big thing is not reason enough 2. Who are you trying to reach on the platform? Who s your audience and are they active on the platform you plan to use? a. particular social media platforms attract different groups of users. Make sure there s a match between folks you want to reach and the platform you re planning to use. 3. Is the platform appropriate for the type of content you want to share? a. Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook are visual, while Twitter, blogs and newsletters are text heavy 4. What s the focus of your content? Is that focus appropriate for the audience you are trying to engage? 5. Who s going to be in charge of the platform? Can you be sure that they ll have the time to keep it updated and fresh indefinitely? No matter what social media platforms you choose to use for your organization, make sure you put share buttons on your website so that folks can share your content with their social media accounts. Hashtags The use of hashtags through much of social media is imperative. You will see these across several different platforms, it is also known as the pound symbol (#). A hashtag in the social media world is essentially a label for content. It helps others who are interested in a

2 certain topic, quickly find content on the same topic. Anytime there is a hashtag along with a specific word, all posts containing that same hashtag will be filtered together. For example, if you #rawmilk, viewers can then click on your hashtag to see what others on that particular social media platform are saying about raw milk. This is a great way to be seen by potential followers. Types of Social Media: 1. Facebook Facebook is a great social media platform to get started with. It has a broad audience, it s easy to update, and it provides a lot of opportunity to engage and interact with customers and followers. Unfortunately, however, Facebook is always changing and it s becoming harder and harder to reach followers without paying for ads. It is important to be interactive with users (sharing, tagging, engaging in conversation) on Facebook. This is what helps you gain new followers. If you remain inactive, then people will forget you even have a Facebook page. People respond best to visuals. Post pictures/videos that are relevant to your business Can post how to videos, links to articles that are relevant, updates on upcoming events, and ask questions often that will increase customer interaction Paying to boost a post If you have a message that you feel is particularly important, or people would enjoy, you have to option to boost the post. To do this, you can choose a price that you feel comfortable spending ($5 $100, or make your own price). The more you spend, the more views you will get. Facebook Best Practices: Post photos, infographics and videos often Don t post more than every three hours Ask questions and encourage your followers to engage with your posts by liking sharing and leaving comments Encourage your followers to post content photos and stories 2. Twitter Twitter is a micro blogging site that allows users to communicate with their followers in 140 characters or less. Overall, it s a less popular platform than Facebook and it generally trends younger than Facebook. However the site is popular with bloggers, journalists, influencers and pundits. Twitter users look to the accounts they follow on Twitter for insights into what s interesting, trending, or relevant to them, so it s a good idea to post content, links, and media on your Twitter feed that position you as a worthwhile curator and source of information. Make sure that your account is active tweet often. You can interact with users by tagging, retweeting, and sharing Twitter Best Practices: Be consistent. Tweet often and don t overuse hashtags; just a couple per post.

3 Be aware of the timing of your tweets. Mon Wed get s the least engagement, and often times, the early mid afternoon gets the most interaction. This also depends on your audience it can be important to experiment with the timing of your posts Reply to and mention other users in your tweets Twitter users want to follow important people, so keep the ration of your followers to the accounts you follow high you want to have lots of followers, while keeping the number of accounts you follow relatively low 3. Instagram Instagram is mostly used by younger generations. 43% of it s users are between the ages of This is a great medium to showcase any pictures or short videos (15secs) you have regarding your business. Unfortunately, Instagram is really only available to use with smart phones Instagram Best Practices Showcase how products or services can be used. For example, if you are a farm growing produce, use photos to document how you yourself are using the produce. This will give people ideas of what they can do with it. Tag, share and comment make sure you maintain communication with your audience Integrate your instagram with your Facebook account. 4. Pinterest Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. It directs more traffic to websites than twitter, linkedin, and reddit combined. Over 70% of it s users are women, 45% of which are between the ages of Pinterest is often used by people interested in cooking and gardening. They come to pinterest for ideas about recipes and gardening tips. It is set up so that you have separate boards for separate topics, upon which you can pin pictures and information. You can use pictures or information of your own, or you can use information from a different site that may be relevant. Imagine it as a bulletin board. Group boards: you can begin a board, and invite other Pinterest users to collaborate with you in pinning items to the board. This will help: Increase followers you will automatically gain the followers of whoever else is pinning on the board with you With more people seeing your board, you will get more repins This will be less work for you. People will be pinning for you Pinterest Best Practices When possible, try to include information from your own website or blog. If people take interest in it, they will be directly sent to your website/blog. Use high quality images Add the Pin It button to your site, that way, when people see images or

4 things they like on your site, they can easily pin them 5. Front Porch Forum a great medium to update your community about your business. FPF is used by people who are active and interested in their communities It is active in many communities, which allows it to have a deep local reach This is not a medium for rich content, it is for basic updates. You must also live in the community in which content is being posted. Newsletters newsletters are a great way to get rich information to your audience. Essentially everyone over the age of 20 uses e newsletters, allowing them to reach a large audience. Enewsletters are the workhorse of communications to turn customers and potential customers into loyal repeat customers and brand evangelists for your business. Notify your customers what you have been up to, what you re currently working on, and any tips regarding the industry you re in, or services you provide. Common programs to use for E newsletters are: Mailchimp free up to 2,000 names Constant contact $15/month Vertical Response Changes to Gmail be aware of the new promotions tab which separates promotional materials out of the general inbox Newsletter Best Practices: Have a prominent sign up displayed on your website Have sign up sheets at any events you may be attending and in any retail locations. Wherever you have customer interaction, have a sign up sheet! Have your ask in the first or second paragraph Subject lines keep them short and intriguing but not tacky. You want to encourage people to open the Keep sentences and paragraphs short so that it s easy to read Websites Websites are your homebase. If people are looking for information regarding your business, your website is the first thing they will try to look for. Although they take time to develop, it is a great place for your customers to reach out and contact you, engage with your social media, and learn the ins and outs or your business. Website Best Practices Make sure you have an easy place for folks to sign up for your newsletter. The top right hand corners is most look at real estate on the site Have social media buttons available for people to begin following you Try to avoid sliders. Although it can be nice to have several images, viewers tend to not engage with them. One really good image or video is best. Try not to clutter the site. Keep things clean and simple so that people

5 can find exactly what they re looking for.

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