How To Intelligently Integrate Social Media Into Your Organization Without Adding HeadcountBy Jeff Julian (@jeffjulian)
I work at a community college. To be more specific, I work at a community college in Illinois. Yeah, that’s the state that’s home to Governor Rod and in the running for the worst state budget deficit award along with California and Michigan.
My point? When you work at an institution or organization that is threatened by budget cuts or is attempting to operate in a leaner fashion because of economic uncertainty, it’s hard to convince the budget folks that you need a social media specialist to help with your day-to-day social strategy.
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Once they get done laughing at you and telling you to go back to your Tooter-verse and Spacebook posts, you still are faced with the same question—how do you manage your social media presence with the same staff size, a growing project list, and no new resources?
Include Everyone With A Passion
At Joliet Junior College, we’ve created a quality social media presence by sharing the responsibility. We work with other offices and departments on campus to maintain a presence on social media sites, to interact with students and community, and offer fresh, relevant content. Our most successful endeavor has been our Facebook page, which has become a virtual commons room for our students. Routinely, students use the page to look for books, discuss classes, and offer their suggestions about our parking (we need more).
This Facebook page is kept up-to-date not by anyone in PR or marketing, but by one of our tech-savvy student development staff members. She does a great job answering student questions, posting stories about faculty, and maintaining another conduit for news to our students. It’s been a positive collaboration.
Quickly Beefing Up Your Social Media Team
Find your on-site social media ambassadors
Your ambassadors are out there and many of them would enjoy the opportunity to help your organization by doing something they already love to do—tweeting, blogging, and posting YouTube videos. Involving them in this critical area of outreach tells them two things—you value their expertise beyond their assigned duties, and you trust them to represent the organization appropriately. Even customers, or in our case students, can be online ambassadors for your organization.
Your PR and marketing departments have already set the policy and direction for your branding and communication efforts, which can be extended to your social media outreach efforts. Creating a quick list of guidelines or FAQs for your ambassadors allows you to continue reinforcing the brand without having to be involved in every post about your organization.
Monitor your presence
With that said, someone in your PR and marketing areas should still be monitoring your social media presence on a regular basis. In addition to the paid services, there are many free services to help you monitor your social media mentions, which have been detailed by Steve here: 20 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools to Find Your Brand’s Social Mentions.
Document your successes
Keeping track of your social media success stories not only helps you plan future campaigns, it also provides you with ammunition the next time you approach the higher-ups about adding staff members for your burgeoning social media empire.
What are your smart practices for integrating social media into your organization? Leave a comment.Jeff Julian is the director of communications and external relations at Joliet Junior College, the nation’s first public community college. When he is not tweeting and posting, he plays guitar for the band John Condron and The Benefit.