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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Social Media Advice

I just read a blog as part of LinkedIn that is titled “7 Worst Advices We Ever Heard About Social Media” and it struck a chord with me.
First of all, I agree that Social media accounts can be a wonderful thing because this is a way your society can stay connected with their members and supporters. However, our genealogical societies cannot afford to have a negative impact with our online presences.

The first advice I have heard is “Create accounts on all social media websites”. When I first heard this I thought YEAH. But being the person who must maintain these presences I thought “UM, wait a minute, do I have time for all of this.” This is exactly the point the Blog made too. The more accounts you have, the more time you will need to manage and be active on each one.
Therefore I thought, I would post the same update on each social media site. However, they warned me that the same people may follow you on multiple sites and your followers don’t want to see the same thing everywhere. Plus different sites expect different types of content. Their example: on Twitter users mostly want text based updates, while Facebook users want image posts.

So let’s say you decide to have only one online presence, they also warn about posting too much or too many posts each day. We all want to be active but let’s face it; none of us want to appear desperate either.  Too many posts can turn our followers off and in turn they may turn you off or unsubscribe and stop following you.
The articles fourth point is one not to overlook: Social media can replace email marketing. Luckily I knew this was not true. I personally know many society members who have no social media accounts. I find that email is still the best way to contact our members, we even have a few members with no email and we still connect with them the old fashion way via snail mail. It is important to keep all your members actively involved in your society. I use social media as a way to inform those followers who are not members of our activities. If the followers are members too, a lot of them know to check their email for more detail.
Points five and six I didn’t know really how to do. Point five was about using a robot to post updates automatically and six about using popular hash tags to gain more views. I know how to write blogs and schedule them to post at certain times and days but not how to have automatic updates done by an outside system. Even though I know about hash tags and some social media platforms automatically add them, I don’t know how to change those automatic ones. Of course I have seen those Tweets with tons of hash tags which are a little overkill. I understand their point that using popular tags does not promote your organization, but use popular, general ones sparingly.

Finally, the last advice that if your Industry doesn’t use social media, neither should you. Well, on this note, you might find your society doesn’t want to use social media, but I would advise against that option. How are people going to find your society? Many societies have “static” webpages and when I mean static, they don’t change regularly. Some I have noticed don’t even change for years, a big mistake. But that is for another Blog, social media sites such as Facebook allows you to post current events or activities for the world to see. If your society is an active society perhaps people want to come and join. Social Media is a great place to post your meetings, your programs, your speakers, your classes, your trips, your projects, and any other information. Your website might tell this information but social media is like a press release and gets the information out around the time of the event and is like a reminder for your followers.

Their final advice: target one or two major social media accounts to use all the time. Post real updates when you have to, with valuable information. I totally agree, so know I need to revisit my societies social media presences and see which ones are really used and should keep.