By Lynn Gerlach, Member Service Coordinator at the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association.
When I started learning social media (from Square One!) last Fall, I was already the grandmother of five. Whoever would have thunk?! As Lindsey patiently tutored me in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (well, at least I already had a LinkedIn profile!) my biggest complaint was time. No matter what she says, it does add a new task to your daily schedule! Yes, once you get the hang of it and develop a routine that works for you, social media very definitely helps you accomplish at lightning speed a lot of the communication that used to take hours. But first you have to develop that routine. Now that I’ve finally got one, I’m happy to share it in case it can be of help to you:
- My Association marketing calendar is my guide. I plan our marketing six months out, trying to include every event, program, product or service we’ll be offering during that time. Then I assign the appropriate tactics to each campaign, every week, using all the tools in my toolbox, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and all the others (flyers, brochures, email blasts, phone calls, letters, etc.) As you might suspect, I consult our staff as I build the calendar.
- I have created alerts on my Outlook calendar to stop me twice each day with a reminder to do my social media. I try to discipline myself to stop what I’m doing, go to Facebook and start reading through our newsfeed. I find things to “like,” make a comment where appropriate, and (the best part) share a link or two when I find an article or post that would be just perfect to share with my audience. Sometimes I get carried away and enjoy myself for 20 minutes; other times I stop at 5 minutes and know I’ve done something good.
- The first Monday of the month, I open Hootsuite and schedule tweets for all my marketing goals that month, usually 2 or 3 tweets per day. Sometimes I copy and paste the same text; sometimes I vary the message. I simply go down my list and make sure every target will be covered by regular tweets each week, all month. It takes about 30 minutes.
- Now that Lindsey has convinced me that a picture really is worth a thousand words, I reach for the camera every chance I get. If someone visits the office, they’re going to be on Facebook! If a staff member wants me to promote a particular event, I will probably photograph that person working on that event. I snap a few photos, upload them, and pick the best one for a Facebook post. One little sentence, or even just a quick caption, and I’m done. I do this about 3-4 times each week, as opportunities present themselves.
- About twice each week I review our LinkedIn groups to see what needs to be done there and take the required action.
- I encourage our staff to send me links to great articles they find, accompanied by a sentence or two from which I can cull a post. I check the link, scan the article quickly, trust my colleague’s judgment, and post on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn –whatever seems most appropriate. This occurs once or twice each week.
- Occasionally I schedule a future post or two on Facebook, now that we have that feature.
- Several evenings each week, while I’m checking my personal email at home and the notices from Facebook and LinkedIn come pouring in, I check my personal Facebook wall to see what clever things my grandchildren have done today. But then, with a click of the mouse, I switch to NWRPCA’s newsfeed, and I truly enjoy reading, at leisure, about the amazing things our members are doing and sharing. I even share some of them on my personal Facebook page! After all, my grandchildren should know what I’m up to also, shouldn’t they?