GovLoop recently hosted an online training session “Does Government Need an Exit Strategy for Facebook?” that explored ways to increase your organization’s outreach through social media.
While the session was jampacked with information, only so much can be explained in 60 minutes – and registrants had many questions that unfortunately went unanswered. But we made sure to record those questions and follow up with our experts. Read below for 10 of your questions – and 10 of our answers.
“What is ‘good content’?”
- Nothing matters if your content is weak. You don’t have to be Buzzfeed to make viral posts. Great content is shareable because it is meaningful and contextual. Make your message something your users will really care about and it will be shared on its own.
“What is the next best alternative to a paid Facebook post if it isn’t an option in the budget?”
- Facebook changed its algorithms (again) and fewer users are seeing your posts, unless you pay a hefty fee. But there are alternatives. Sure, most of your constituency is on Facebook, but the best approach reaches out to all of your members across as many platforms as possible. Reshape your message so it can be seen on a short post on Twitter, a picture on Pinterest, an engaging post on LinkedIn, or in an email. Galvanizing your groups in all of these platforms is both easy and free.
“What does a Facebook ad cost?”
- Facebook has set up an incremental pay approach where the more you pay the more people you reach, similar to TV advertising. Forbes conducted a great study to test out the process you can find here.
“Is there an optimal length to Facebook posts?”
- Imagine that all of your constituents are smart people with the attention span of a mosquito. Orbit Media Studios concluded the ideal length for just about every social media platform. Tweets? Under 100 characters with a link. YouTube video? Under three minutes.
“What do you do about trolls, spammers, and inappropriate content?”
Here are some quick tips:
- If someone is constantly posting inappropriate content then it is okay to delete it and block that user
- Act quickly. Your constituents are using social media because they want a quick response. Give them one regardless of the issue.
- Be specific. The point of customer engagement is to interact at a personal level. Speak to the issue at hand with clarity.
“What’s the future of email?”
- One word: mobile. 66% of email opens happen on smartphones or tablets. Keep it simple and make sure to provide more links, pictures, infographics and less text for better user engagement. According to analysts at Morgan Stanley, accessing the web via mobile devices will be more prevalent than desktop Internet use by 2015.
“How many emails should my organization send out?”
- Unfortunately there isn’t one answer that fits for everyone. Most organizations believe in a daily newsletter publicizing certain content and events. But occasionally an ‘eblast’ (sending out several emails in a short amount of time) will help if your organization has a significant event or is in a peak season. Just remember that you don’t want your recipients to be fatigued by the number of emails you send. According to CMB, 69% of U.S. email users unsubscribe from a business or non-profit email because the organization sends too many emails. Provide them with great content and the clicks will come.
“When should I send out mass emails?”
- Conventional wisdom is to send emails during weekdays throughout the workday. But according to a recent Govdelivery post, some times of day are more effective than others. Shoot for early and late in the day.
“In using social media as a customer service portal, how do you handle after hours contacts? Do you really have someone “on call” at 3 am?”
- While the Internet now services as a fast and effective customer service portal it doesn’t mean that you should pay staff to be available at 3am. That’s like going to the dry cleaners at 2:30am and being upset that they’re not in service. Emergency concerns should always be done by phone call or in person. Posts after hours should be addressed first thing in the workday.
“Are other social media channels utilizing big data like Facebook?”
- Today, just about every successful company utilizes big data. Don’t think that your activity on Twitter is going unnoticed. However, no one has quite perfected its use like Facebook. Facebook and Google offer significant insight into your followers that can be used to increase your audience engagement.