Before I dig into the details, let me share two quick statements and five myths…
- This isn’t the only right way to manage a community’s social media activity, it’s just our way that works for us. You’ll have to discover what works best for your community.
- In six months, some of our tactics will have changed as we keep learning more each month and technology keeps evolving.
- It doesn’t cost anything – Actually, it costs a lot in terms of personnel time.
- It doesn’t take extra time – Like a plant, an account needs to be watered on a regular basis or else it will die.
- There’ll be instant payoff – It takes time to grow a community and culture, whether online or offline.
- You need to be on every tool – A presence on one or two of the social media sites will be enough to cover 95% of your community.
- Social media fixes a crappy “product” – Putting nice wrapping paper on a bad gift doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bad gift. It might help a little, but not that much. The same is true for social media.
Ok now on with the show…
Not All Members Are Created Equal
As you dig into how best to engage your community, keep in mind that not everyone wants to engage in the community in the same way. The 90-9-1** rule states that in any community, 90% of the members are lurkers, 9% are casual engagers and 1% are heavy users. 1%ers don’t want to be treated the same as 90%ers. The long term goal is to bend the curve and slowly, overtime, move more 90%ers to 9%ers and 9%ers to 1%ers and let your 1%ers run the show for you.
Creating Content For All
As you think about what type of content you want to create for your social media stream, think about if the content is meant for your 90%ers, 9%ers, or 1%ers. Also make sure you have enough content for each group. A bad situation would be to create a bunch of amazing content that only targets the 1%ers, and you miss 99% of your membership. So what type of content is good for each group?
90%ers are looking for super simple, easy ways to engage:
- Weekly Yes/No or multiple choice polls
- Quotes to ‘Like’ or ‘RT’
- Facts to quickly read
9%ers are looking for chances to engage with longer, more thoughtful, answers:
- Longer polls that are open-ended
- Photo caption contests
- Links to relevant articles
1%ers are looking for ways to lead the community by creating the content and helping others:
- Links to relevant articles
- Create/Suggest the polls / quotes / facts / links / contests
- Interviewed to be spotlighted in the community to share their story
Cluttering The Stream
Now that you have a nice collection of ways to engage each segment of your community, the next step is to create a weekly Social Media “Editorial Calendar.” The calendar does three things for you…
- Makes sure your engagement efforts are spread out over the week, vs all happening at the same time on the same day.
- Makes sure you are properly engaging each segment of your community within any given day or week.
- Makes sure you are producing a consistent stream of content, happening on a daily and weekly basis.
To build your Editorial Calendar, use a simple excel doc, or Google spreadsheet for better collaboration. On the top row, list all the types of content you want to produce, with each type of content going in a new column. On the left side make the first column the date and the second column the day of the week. Here’s an example…
Now fill in red blocks to determine when you want the different types of content to go live and on what days. When figuring this out, we tend to follow a 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 5pm EST posting schedule. Determining the best time to post will be different for each community. The good news is social media generates enough back end data to help you discover the best posting times for your community. Here’s an example…
Each week then, you can copy your editorial calendar and fill in the new dates. As you schedule content to go live, replace the red box with a green one so that you, and anyone else helping, knows it is already done. This will avoid confusion and doubling up.
Don’t worry about being perfect, your calendar will evolve over time. It’s more important to get started than to be perfect.
~~ End Part 1 ~~
In Part 2 I’ll cover time management, repurposing content, goal setting, analytics, and tools.