Social Media - Some Basic Guidelines

TweetsYour social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+) are part of your own brand, product and website, enabling users to engage with you in a way that isn’t normally possible through your normal channels. They also offer a good opportunity to boost search engine rankings and link back to your website.

To fully benefit from your social media channels, you should post links to your latest news stories, features and other pages of interest on your website, post photos/videos and invite users to participate by using questions and polls.

Your news story posts should link back to your website to reinforce your brand. If users are taken to a different website, they may feel misled or confused, particularly as links for use on social media are often shortened so it will not be immediately apparent that they are not heading back to your website. This can reduce confidence in your brand and may even cause people to stop following your social media channels.

You can either automate news stories going out to Facebook and Twitter or post them manually. For organisations which publish several news stories a day or those which do not have a specialist team handling social media we would recommend using Twitterfeed (a free and reliable service) to push updates out automatically. These are picked up from RSS feeds and sent out with a link back to the story as well as any additional text i.e. ‘Latest News’ or hashtags.

Manual loading of stories often gets better engagement, particularly on Facebook because it allows you to post more content, introducing the piece, inviting comments, questions etc. This is fairly simple to do but you would have to copy the link from your website, paste it in, select which image is drawn through and then add your content.

You can also use a combination of both. The average life span of a tweet is around 15 minutes so we would recommend posting slight variations of the same tweet 2-3 times over a day – any more than this would be considered spammy. We would not recommend re-posting links to Facebook, however, unless the content on the page has changed.

Always try to mix up your content with a variety of news items, photos, comments, retweets of other users and conversations as social media is designed for engagement and sharing.

What social media guidelines do you use? Have you found a difference between manual and automated posting? What sort of content works for you?