Friday, 22 July 2011

Social media: plan first, tweet later

If you want to use Twitter and Facebook to promote your cause, our advice is to work out a plan of action first. Use our checklist to help you with the basics.

1. Does your target audience use Twitter and Facebook?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
Facebook has about 30m users in the UK, Twitter has about 3.5m. As Facebook is far more popular than Twitter, it makes sense to spend more time on Facebook updates than Twitter.

2. How often do you have something to say that people will want to hear?
  • Every day
  • Once a week
  • Once a month
Some organisations tweet several times a day. It really depends on whether you've got something relevant to say and whether you think your audience wants it. But you don't have to tweet every day. And indeed, people may stop following you if you tweet something 'off-topic' or of low value.

3. Will you have time each day to answer people's questions on Twitter and Facebook, and monitor your Facebook page for spam postings?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Sometimes
Answering questions promptly is good customer service. And quickly removing spam or irrelevant posts keeps your Facebook page clean and cared-for.

4. Do you have compelling content on your website that you can link to from Twitter and Facebook?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
In some tweets you'll want to include a link to the relevant page of your website - so you first need to make sure your web content's compelling and clear.

5. Are you good at writing messages in fewer than 120 characters for Twitter?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
Even though Twitter allows you up to 140 characters, it's good practice to just use 120 characters so people can forward on (or 'retweet') your message. And if you want to include a link to your website in your message, the link will take up around 20 characters. So you really need to perfect your message in just 100 characters. Why not experiment with a personal account at Twitter.com?

6. Are you good at writing in an informal style for Facebook?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
With Facebook you can write longer messages than on Twitter as there's more space to be chatty. So don't just cut and paste from Twitter to Facebook, you'll need to rework your messages. You may want to write a short guide to help your organisation write in a certain style on Facebook and Twitter.

7. Will you have time to monitor who's following you on Twitter and who 'Likes' your page on Facebook?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
Spending time looking at people's comments will help you see what works and what doesn't.

8. For Twitter, can you come up with a username for your organisation using a maximum of 15 characters? Do you have an image for your organisation to use on Facebook and Twitter?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
It's good to work out these things before you create a Twitter account, Facebook page or blog account, so you have everything at your fingertips when you register.

9. Have you worked out how to tell people you're now tweeting and that you're on Facebook?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
People won't automatically know you have a Facebook page or a Twitter presence unless you promote them. So on your website and in your email signature, add links to Facebook and Twitter. And add the Facebook and Twitter logos to any adverts.

10. Have you worked out how Twitter and Facebook will fit in with other marketing activities you're doing?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
Make sure your Twitter and Facebook updates fit in with and support other activities.

Score =


Are you social media savvy?

Need more information about Twitter or Facebook?

Both Twitter and Facebook have lots of online help.

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