Social media can be a lonely job for the solo publicist for an organization. This is very true for entrepreneurs, charities and small-to-medium enterprises (SME). Whether you are a leader or a follower—or both—social media is a key part of your marketing activities. If you have to go it alone, planning, time management and tech support tools, and making it a truly social experience are all going to lead to success.
I am often asked to help SMEs with their social media—from coaching, to planning, to doing it. The sagest advice I received on social media (over a decade ago) is not to do other people's. Although in reality that isn't always practical, or possible, there is some truth to it. No one can tell their story (and we know story-telling is the next big marketing push) better than the story-tellers themselves. It's all about relationships. You need to have a close relationship with your client (internal or external), and they with you, to give your social media messages powerful meaning.
Successful solo social media messaging
If you are in charge of social media messaging for your or someone else's organization, here are some helpful ideas from Communication Consultant Amy-Louise Tracey. It's all about being prepared, taking time and making technology work for you.
Give your social media plan depth. Think big—the whole calendar year—and identify dates, events and activities to promote. I always plan backwards from the key date. Zoom in on each key time period, identify the messages, and select the media. Blog? Tweet? Post? Then do your micro plan—assign and create messages for key dates. Now sit back and admire your planning skills. The next year will be busy.
Make Hubspot, Hootsuite or your web platform's social media plug in–or all of these–your best friends. They were designed to help people just like you, who have a lot to do and not enough time. Also use bulit-in features, like sharing plug-ins, to spread the word. Share an older post or blog you think engaged followers may like. Look for other people's posts on the same or a similar topic to widen the experience. You don't have to be three places at once: but, you can make it look like you are all over the social media map.
Create a virtual team
Everyone is busy. But, it only takes a minute to ask someone to help support your/their campaign. In fact, build that into your plan. When the messages are about new products, get the product development team involved. They will have established networks, be on different platforms and can add a new dimension to your messages. The support you get may be a surprise.
For last year's International Plain Language Day Oct 13 Twitter campaign, #30plainwords, I started about mid-summer. Hootsuite—just one of those helpful social media management platforms—allowed me to create, schedule and track each tweet. The campaign also generated content for a blog post, updates for my Facebook Page and LinkedIn conversations. I let key people know what was coming and asked them to spread the word. It was so fun, and successful, that I am doing it again this year. Planning your content and your delivery well in advance, and getting tech and a virtual team involved, are key to the solo social media messenger's secret strategy.
Kate Harrison Whiteside has over 25 years experience in plain language, writing and editing, training and consulting.