One of the hardest things about becoming the “voice” of an organization is figuring out what in the world to say. Do you promote your group endlessly? Do you send out fun links you think your constituents will enjoy? Do you talk to your fans and figure out what they want? Well, the answer is yes to all the above. However, it’s very easy to fall into the trap many other organizations do and either promote the heck out of your mission or refuse to talk about yourself at all. Both tactics can result in you missing out on customers, constituents or funding and even chase your current followers away. So how do you find a good balance?
Trial and Error
Let’s face it: you’re probably going to make some mistakes out of the gate. No matter if you’re new to social media and PR or you’ve been around forever you’re going to stumble a bit. Starting off with a new organizational voice just takes a while to adjust to.
One issue is you don’t quite know what your audience wants. They might actually like a little more promotion (as long as it benefits them in some way). Alternatively, they might like less promotion and more fun talk like you’re one of their pals. There’s almost no way of knowing what they’ll take to until you give it a shot. Start off with a nice balance between “business” and “casual.” Eventually you’ll figure out what people like and don’t like by what they respond to and what they retweet/share or comment on. The final result may even surprise you. You could have what you perceive as a very serious business but your fans just want to have fun chats with you about what you do. The worst thing you can do in this scenario is to fight it – just go with the flow.
Conversation is Key
One of the most important things you can remember when starting your social media/PR efforts is you’re in it to talk to constituents or customers. An obvious point, right? It’s something you can keep in mind the first day…but the 700th day it might become something of a lost point. That’s why you should remind yourself this is the ultimate goal.
You want your conversation to be meaningful, deep, and moving the major conversation forward in some way. It doesn’t have to be leaps and bounds, but if you can advance your industry or even your local community by focusing on a certain aspect, then go for it. So before you post that fourth update regarding your website or how awesome your organization is, ask yourself if it’s something your clients and the industry at large really care about. If not, rethink what you’re posting every day – and how often.
One last piece of advice is to use a service like Hootsuite or Social Engage to post your Twitter/Facebook/blog etc. This way you can better track what the response is to each of your posts and how well you’re doing over a certain period of time.