A Candid Conversation with Castle: Social Media
At The Castle Group we view communications as a complete package – and no strategic communications plan is complete without social media. Competency in social media is more crucial than ever, particularly since the digital age has made it much easier for companies, brands and individuals to share news and stories with the audiences that matter most.
We consider it our responsibility to share our knowledge with the next generation of thoughtful communicators, and part of that responsibility involves impressing upon our interns the importance of a strategic social media plan.
This past spring semester, Alyssa Marceau, a junior majoring in public relations and marketing communications at Simmons College, participated in our 15-week internship program, gaining valuable, hands-on experience working alongside our public relations team.
Alyssa recently sat down with Castle Senior Account Executive Elizabeth DiVito to discuss her expert tips and strategies for maintaining effective and engaging social media channels.
Alyssa: Hi Liz! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about social media. In my time here at Castle I’ve noticed that social media is an integral component of communicating with audiences of all ages. What is the most important thing to think of before starting a social media program?
Liz: The first thing you should always do is determine your audience. In other words, who will be reading your posts? Once you have identified the audience(s), you can then select the best social media platforms to reach them. Are they on LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat? All (or none) of the above? It’s essential to find out where your audience is to help determine which social media platforms you should utilize.
Alyssa: What are the core social media platforms and what are they geared toward? Should companies use all of these platforms?
Liz: Social media platforms are always evolving, but right now the core platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Each tend to skew towards certain audiences, so it’s vital for businesses to carefully and thoughtfully choose which platforms make the most sense for their customer base.
We recommend different platforms for different clients – it all depends on the client’s goals and business objectives. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are more consumer oriented while Twitter and LinkedIn are more useful for B2B interactions. In general, there is no need for a business or brand to be on every single platform because it is unlikely that the specific audience will be fully engaged with all of them.
Alyssa: How do you create content that is engaging and useful content for Castle clients?
Liz: We strategize. Planning ahead is the most important thing we do. For each client we create a content calendar so we can map out client goals. Using social media casually does not allow for enough time to plan for various social media/photo/editorial opportunities, so developing and utilizing a content calendar is a critical step prior to starting a social media program.
We develop relevant and engaging content to share with our client’s audience based on client goals, relevant and timely news, and seasonal and/or company milestones.
Alyssa: Occasionally, conversations on social media become heated. What is the best way to diffuse a situation when someone lashes out at your business or brand online?
Liz: Press pause. You must always make sure you have a full and complete understanding of the situation when your content is under the microscope. Refrain from jumping to conclusions. That being said, you should still respond in a timely manner to prevent comments and questions from going unaddressed. We always recommend politely reaching out and asking to connect with the person via private message or offline to remedy the issue. Transparency is important, but it is not beneficial to have those discussions publicly.
Alyssa: What are your social media content “dos and don’ts”?
Liz: First, determine what is important to your business and your audience before you start sharing content. Taking this step allows you to develop content that generates buzz, provokes action or provides the opportunity for users to comment and share their thoughts.
In terms of what not to post, our general rule of thumb is if you don’t want your grandmother to see it, then you shouldn’t post it on the internet. Remember, the internet is a public forum. Even if you delete or edit a post, someone could have easily taken a screenshot. And once it’s posted, the content technically belongs to the social media platform, not you.
Lastly, always be professional. You can be funny, engaging and make your point without being inappropriate, rude or cruel. Be mindful and think twice before hitting the post button.