Managing my own social media profiles online is hard enough, so taking on a few more accounts may not initially seem like the best of ideas.
For the next few weeks, I will be running the social media profiles for interhacktives.com, a website operated by City’s Interactive Journalism MA students, the Twitter and Facebook accounts for ‘From Student to Startup’, a website for students interested in starting their own business, as well as – for just one week sometime in November – the social media presence of the Hackney Post.
Oh yeah, and my personal accounts.
Chaos, you may think. Well probably. However, here is my rather basic plan on how I will try and avoid it.
After having a test run on the Hackney Post social media accounts last month, I made a few notes and suggestions on how to do it once things did eventually get a little more serious.
Social Media management applications
Yes, you do need them. Using twitter.com via a web browser is not particularly suited to twitter “power users” who want to monitor customised twitter lists, hashtags and more in one place and not having to switch constantly between tabs or windows, but becomes almost impossible when having to switch between a number of accounts. Managing social media profiles will end up taking most of your waking day if you do not organise and streamline it via some type of social media management application.
TweetDeck (excellent if you have to run a number of twitter accounts) and Hootsuite (where you can manage a range of social networks and ideal for brand management in particular) are the two most popular social media dashboards.
I am a big fan of Tweetdeck, which I have used for some time, and just starting out on Hootsuite but just one tip. If you are using a Mac and prefer Tweetdeck because it is a desktop based application instead of Hootsuite’s browser based interface, you can make a Hootsuite application by following these very simple instructions.
Act like your mother is watching you
One major thing to always look out for every single time you post something, whether Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, is the account you are posting from. As social media editors from established media organisations will testify, it is pretty much the easiest mistake to make – and not just in the media. This is what happened to automotive industry giant Chrysler a couple of years ago.
As Erik Qualman, author of ‘Socialnomics’ says:
“act like your mother is watching you. Assume that whatever you post will be seen by everyone. Then, if you do make a minor mistake (e.g. posting to the wrong account) the damage is minimal”.
Wise words indeed.
Different Browser Accounts
This is really useful if you have a number of different gmail accounts linked to the different social media accounts you are running. If you are using Chrome, and for this I recommend you do, add new user accounts for each of your different profiles. It’s pretty straightforward, here are some simple instructions.
By having different Chrome accounts, you can have different browser extensions (such as bitly, delicious, storify, gmail) linked to each account, meaning your life becomes much easier by just switching chrome account. You can also log in to each account on whatever computers and have access to your account bookmarks, history and extensions, wherever you are.
A little forward planning goes a long way. If circumstances allow for it, schedule tweets and Facebook posts in advance. Unless you are dealing with time-sensitive information, you can prepare content to go up on social media accounts at different times of the day, ensuring that your content will reach a variety of audiences, instead of a barrage of tweets or posts within the short time-frame, which could miss some people altogether.
Both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite offer the possibility to schedule posts. What I tried out for the Hackney Post (with a mishap along the way) is to schedule tweets even for just a couple of minutes after instead of posting directly. This is just so you can double-check the link is working before it goes live.
Helping others out
It’s very easy to get sucked into the social media world and actually forget why you are actually there. Make sure you keep your audience in mind whenever you post online. Don’t monitor reactions and interactions online for the sake of vanity, but let others on the team – and in particular the individual writers – know what has been said about their article and the sort of traction it got on social media. They will thank you for it.