When done right, social media communication is more than a megaphone. It’s a two-way conversation, truly “social” in nature.
This is especially important for Panhellenic Councils and student organizations planning Circle of Sisterhood events to remember. Promoting your events (that would be the megaphone) is a start, but to motivate and excite people around Circle of Sisterhood and your work, start thinking about social media as an educational, informational, reciprocal dialog (the conversation).
Whether you’re holding a fundraiser, a program to raise awareness or even a book discussion of Half the Sky, social media can be the tool that connects your peers to the work that you’re doing. Here are five key tips for social media success.
1. Build an audience. Rather than creating “an event” on Facebook, create social media accounts that can last and interest a base of support over time (Facebook page, Twitter account, etc.). For example, at the University of South Florida a Panhellenic officer created a Facebook page for all Circle of Sisterhood efforts at her school. They promote Circle of Sisterhood events throughout the year on this account, as well as post articles and information related to the cause.
This technique can engage an audience interested in the work CofS does, which is likely broader than your Panhellenic community. It also can keep them engaged long after a singular event passes.
Be sure communication runs both ways. Monitor your accounts for questions and comments. Answer your audience members and contribute to the conversation. Prove you’re listening by “liking” or “retweeting” relevant commentary. This shows that your invested in what your readers have to say.
2. Educate your fans and followers. Use social media to teach your audience about the need to provide access to education on a global level for girls and women. Begin conversations around removing educational barriers. Post articles, facts, prompts and questions that push people to think about and discuss the cause. The Circle of Sisterhood blog, website, Facebook page, and Twitter account have great information to share. Here are examples of exciting and educational posts:
- DID YOU KNOW: $50 can send a girl to school for a year with everything she needs. How can YOU pay your education forward?
- FILL IN THE BLANK: Girls deserve access to education. Education has given me ______.
3. Prompt future engagement. This is especially important for Facebook, which prioritizes what users see based on how they interact with people or pages. The more people interact with your page, the more they will see your content. When you post, ask users to “like,” “share,” “retweet” or “comment” about your post, like this:
- SHARE this article with a friend to spread awareness.
- COMMENT below to tell us how you …
- Click LIKE if you will be at our event!
- RT if you think girls deserve access to education!
4. Consistency counts. Appoint one person on your campus involved with Circle of Sisterhood to manage the accounts and conversations that happen on your social media channels. This might be a specific officer of the organization who focuses on communication or philanthropic efforts. Having one person (rather than a large committee or “everyone”) in charge of managing social media content will help you develop a consistent voice and message.
Set realistic goals about how often you will post and the type of content you intend to create. Post daily or several times a week to keep your audience engaged and aware of your work and what is happening to women and girls globally.
Be sure that account information is guarded but recorded for your successor. Additionally, I recommend making an involved staff member a co-administrator of the account(s) to assist when needed. This is helpful over holiday breaks or during officer transition.
5. Make your point visually. On Facebook especially, research shows users are drawn to the visuals in their feeds like photos, videos or thumbnails from articles. Use them to get your post noticed! On Twitter, give your followers a little extra by posting a pic or a link. This will help you be heard on the busy and sometimes overwhelming stream of social networks. Take and post photos and video in real-time from your events to help your audience experience the cause!
These tips intentionally focused on the two most used networks, Facebook and Twitter. While other networks like Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, etc. are key components of social media strategy, it is important not to spread yourself too thin as you’re jumpstarting your activity. Each tool has a different purpose. When utilized intentionally, each can offer the audience member a unique perspective on the cause. Become successful at one tool before trying to manage others.
This post was written by Heather Kirk, a member of the Marketing Committee of Circle of Sisterhood. Heather is the Director of Education & Leadership Initiatives for Zeta Tau Alpha women’s fraternity and manages the organization’s social networks.