The social experiment

Social experiment | See Media | Housing PR

I can’t remember a time when social media didn’t exist. So it’s often surreal when I speak to a marketing or comms manager about their organisation’s social strategy and hear they simply don’t have one.

Having worked in PR for a few years now, I’ve got used to asking the question and hearing the same vague answer: “We do use social media. We have a Twitter and Facebook page, but we probably don’t use them as frequently as we should.”

Social media can offer real value to organisations that are serious about implementing it as a tool within their engagement strategies. At See Media, we have recently trialled a few different approaches with our own Twitter account, and here, I’m going to share what we’ve learned.

 

Setting objectives

In the past, I’ve worked with a number of organisations who have felt “peer-pressured” and began using social media for social media’s sake. Spending copious time on the newest social media features that none of its audience is using and then bragging about these useless endeavours in their monthly report to the board.

Setting the foundations can take time, but like with any project or campaign, you need to carry out the necessary research, understand your positioning, and set out your key objectives to create a clear picture of what you aim to achieve, why you’re aiming to achieve it, and which platforms to use.

At See Media, we wanted to increase our following by building awareness about the agency, what we do and how we do it, amongst prospective clients that could benefit from our services in the future (when the time to procure a comms agency’s services comes around).

In an era where many organisations may be tempted to buy followers, growing your following organically is the only path to success, especially when your aim is to generate real and tangible results.

Increasing your following by buying 500 followers may reflect well in the ‘vanity metrics’ an organisation sets out, but how beneficial are followers who have no interest in what you’re offering, selling or saying?

 

Know your audience

As a specialist agency providing strategic support to the housing sector, we have a clear target audience, so the goal for us was to PRoactively identify conversations that we could be a part of on social media.

Housing associations have more diverse audiences than many other sectors, working in partnership with community-based organisations, on the delivery and maintenance of social and affordable housing, while often also developing homes for shared ownership and market sale – this makes the job of social media manager less than straightforward.

However, knowing and understanding your audience should be pivotal to anything you do. Until you grasp this, you’ll be writing and sharing content aimlessly – which is an absolute no, particularly when it comes to using social media.

Instead of scheduling a tweet a day, which generates no engagement, comms and marketing teams in the housing sector should focus their efforts on saying something online because it’s important to the organisation and its audience.

Don’t say something for the sake of it, say something interesting, which will actually add value to the person reading it. You may be thinking that this sounds easier said than done, but conducting online campaigns doesn’t need to be complicated.

 

Our approach

Earlier this month, campaigns filled See Media’s social feeds for Housing Day 2019 and we knew this would be a prime opportunity for our colleagues to have their say, and to showcase our understanding of the sector.

After supporting many of our clients to publish blogs and comment pieces in honour of the day, we had a good idea of the various activities being conducted online, including Inside Housing’s live #IHchat.

Having pre-read the schedule for the day, we were able to plan exactly which conversations would present a good opportunity for us to comment and to ask questions, allowing us to interact with our core audience. It may sound like a simple approach (and it really was), but this resulted in us earning our 1000th Twitter follower, and generated nearly 100 mentions on the platform.

Social media doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming to provide value, but it does require careful consideration and planning to identify how your organisation can have the biggest impact.

 

Are you ready?

If you’re interested in learning more about how your organisation can maximise its online presence or understanding how to better target your audience, get in touch by e-mailing sara.mills@see-media.co.uk.