USING SOCIAL MEDIA
Yes, everybody knows how to use social media and yes, we all have our own way of doing it.
This is why, when representing Encounter Youth, we need some general guidelines for consistency of message and branding.
There are also other factors to take into account as we aim for optimum effectiveness across our social media plaforms.
The Big Picture
When using social media platforms, we’re working on someone else’s turf.
Our Facebook page—including all our followers, all our information and all our great content and links—is NOT ours.
We’re borrowing a little piece of Facebook’s cyberspace, rent free remember, and we can be evicted at any time.
Thus, the function of social media is three-fold…
To promote our message and activities.
To engage with our audience.
To channel traffic back to our online home.
We use social media to PROMOTE our message, ENGAGE with our audience and CHANNEL traffic back to our website.
Buzz & Momentum
Creating excitement around what we do is the gist of marketing. Awakening an interest. Getting people’s attention—this is what buzz is all about.
Keeping people’s attention is what momentum is all about. One-hit wonders, by definition, come and go all the time. Sustaining an engaged interest in what we offer separates a successful online campaign from an iffy one.
Questions to answer:
→ How can we grab our audience’s attention?
→ How can we keep our audience’s attention?
Grabbing an audience’s attention…
Using multimedia, posing well-crafted questions, incorporating novelty, including emoticons tactfully, offering giveaways and running contests all help grab attention.
Keeping an audience’s attention…
Using regular audience-relevant features, running an engaging series and promoting in threes (Teaser > Event > Follow-up) all help to keep attention.
Social media platforms limit the effectiveness of organic marketing efforts, offering paid advertising options to lift these limitations.
Boosting a post on Facebook, for example, is the easiest paid advertising option on Facebook and it serves specifically to increase the engagement objective. That is, boosted posts reach a far greater number of people within our audience, helping to both grab and keep audience attention.
Boosting a post for “big events” or “special messages” is essential for optimum effectiveness.
(Boosting is just one of 17 marketing objectives that can be utilised through Facebook Ads Manager.)
4 Essentials for Using Social Media Well
Graphics Are Boss
An image is worth a thousand words. Graphics wow. Graphics engage.
Ideally, use an image that occupies 80% or more of the viewport.
Yes, use as little text as possible and only use background colour space if it’s necessary to frame a picture.
GIFs are certainly eye-catching but don’t work on Instagram at this point. Unless you’re prepared to create two graphics for Facebook and Instagram, stick to PNG format.
Videos are golden. One video is worth a hundred images.
Optimum Image Sizes?
Generally speaking, pick the correct template design at Canva and you’ll be fine.
While Canva offers two different sizing for a Facebook Post (940px by 788px) and Instagram Post (1080px by 1080px), if you go with the Instagram Post, you’ll be fine on Facebook too.
If you’re making a Featured Image for a blog post, you’ll need to make it 1200px wide by 630px high to work well when posting the blog URL to Facebook.
Words: Less is More
Keep words embedded on the actual image to a minimum.
If you plan to boost a post, don’t embed any words on the image. (Facebook limits the reach of images with embedded words and will not boost an image with too many words.)
Aim to let the image speak for itself.
Then use a short, punchy statement in the post thread.
Think of this statement as a call-to-action. How can you command attention in the least number of words?
Work hard at eliminating unnecessary words.
Tip: avoid gerunds where possible (“-ing” form of a verb functioning as a noun).
Consider two examples:
We are wanting to share some good news is not nearly as concise and strong as, We want to share some good news.
We will be exploring some interesting topics in the course is not nearly as concise and strong as, We explore some interesting topics in the course.
Use active voice (avoid passive voice).
Active voice is a more concise, stronger way of writing.
In a nutshell, it avoids the unnecessary use of the be words (be, being, is, are, was, were, has been, have been and will be), which makes the voice passive and the sentence longer and weaker.
The inclusion of the preposition by often betrays passive voice, as seen in the examples below.
Active Voice Passive Voice The dog chased the cat. The cat was chased by the dog. The fire destroyed the land. The land was destroyed by the fire. The students enjoy the course. The course is enjoyed by the students. subject + verb + object object + form of to be + verb + preposition + subject
Active voice is more concise and compelling!
Make Links Count
Aim for one focused link per post. (At the most two—if you really must.)
No one likes to wade through a minefield of links. Instead, decide on the ONE link you want your audience to visit from the post.
If the URL is long, use Bitly. Where possible, style your Bitly link with readable script by customising the back-half on the Bitly link.
For example, bit.ly/AwesomeLink looks far more appealing (and a lot less like spam) than bit.ly/1hv3pf9.
Typically, add the URL immediately below the opening call-to-action. If it drops below the “see more” ellipsis, it will drastically reduce your click-through-rate (CTR).
Use hashtags selectively. Use two hashtags (at the most three) or it starts to make the post look spammy. Place hashtags at the end of your thread well away from your focused link.
Use paragraph spacing smartly. Add spaces between your opening call-to-action statement, your focused link and your hashtags. This improves readability and avoids clutter.
A Second Set of Eyeballs
It’s so easy to make a spelling mistake or grammatical error.
Expect to make a mistake or two and have a plan to catch it BEFORE publishing your content.
Ideally, first draft your script on a Word document. This gives you a chance to see it in two formats and Word itself may flag any grammatical mistakes you’ve made.
Then ask for a second set of eyeballs on it.
ALWAYS ask someone else to give it a once-over for you.
Familiarise yourself with our Style Guide. Here are just a few things to remember:
- Use Australian English. Eg. realise not realize, favour not favor
- Use singular verb agreement for brand names. Eg. Encounter Youth is and was and has … not are and were and have
- Numbers 0 through 9 should be written out in full (eg. zero, one, two … nine), while numbers above 10 should be written as numbers. Use a comma as a thousand-separator. Eg. 1,000 and 23,000
- Use the following format for dates in a list or announcement: Friday, 24 November, 2020
- Use the following format for time: 10:00am, 10:30am, 7:00pm, 7:30pm
- Remember, dates don’t need apostrophes. Eg. 1990s not 1990’s
- For bulleted lists, capitalise the first letter but don’t use punctuation at the end of the sentence