Top social strategies for community managers: Social Shake-Up Recap

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Rebecca Polk shares her takeaways from the Social Shake-Up Show, a social media conference held in Atlanta May 22-24, 2017.

Posted by Rebecca Polk, Manager, Membership Programs, Marketing and Communications at the American Society of Agronomy.

Rebecca Polk with two others at the session on customer journey maps.
Rebecca Polk (right) at the session on customer journey maps. Source: PR News

A Community Engagement Manager will find they wear many “hats”, creating content while managing tasks related to scientific collaboration, meeting planning, website development, social media planning and scheduling. I recently had the privilege to attend the Social Shake-Up and learn from 3 days of sessions and networking events. From this experience, I have identified several key social strategies that were insightful and I feel others could benefit from as well.

1. Paid Social Strategies That Won’t Break the Bank

When you need to highlight a particular campaign (whether it be for membership growth, a call for papers, or an upcoming event), you will likely need to take advantage of paid social tools. Here are some strategies from a panel discussion on social marketing to help you get the most bang for your buck:

– Give new ad formats a try as they may get priority in your audience’s newsfeed.

– Target audience strategies on Facebook and Twitter:

For Facebook, list-based retargeting is an option after you already have someone’s contact information in your database. Upload your subscriber list to social networks and you can then use the ’Suggest page ’ tool to display ads to your email subscribers for free.

This strategy can also be used on Twitter by simply uploading a CSV file.  You are able to add tailored audiences and upload your email list. With tailored audiences, you can specifically target people that are important to your campaign using your own data.

– Say “no” to bad content– Publish half as much, but make BETTER content.

2. Customer Journey Maps: Walk in Your Customer’s Shoes

Journey mapping is a valuable tool to help target content and marketing strategies. As Tangerine Lab’s CEO Banafsheh Ghassemi explained in a session on this topic, a customer journey map (CJM) is a “holistic narrative of your customer’s experience from their perspective”. CJMs include “on-stage elements” (visible to the customer) and “backstage elements” (things the customer doesn’t see) that contribute to their experience of your product or service. At each point along the journey the customer’s emotion is documented.

Journey mapping can help you define your customer experience strategy by helping you identify places where your product or service is not meeting user needs. A nice recap of this session was published online at PR News: Pre-Social Shake-Up Workshops Emphasize Knowing the Customer, with a photo of my break-out group enjoying the session!

3. Case Studies: Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

This section of the conference was a grab bag of helpful tips, tools, and examples of social media strategy in a variety of contexts. It was interesting to learn about how content marketing strategies can work across organizational structures and see how these can be applied in non-profit environments. Case study examples shared in these sessions, and specifically the nonprofit segment, stressed the importance of partnerships and clear consistent messaging. If you are new to social media advertising and promotion, some helpful online tools shared include:

– Image optimization for Facebook advertising | Facebook Image Check (If the proportion of text to image is too high, your ads may not reach its full audience.)

– Create Images that include text | Canva

– Social Media Scheduler | Hootsuite

In addition to these sessions a few “nuggets” that crossed over many presentations and workshops included:

– Even the big names in social media don’t have all the answers, so don’t be afraid to try new social strategies

– Presenting content in list format (listicles) is still an effective way to share information

– Having advocates that can help tell your story and reach your key segments is a highly effective tool (Note: One of the CEFP Project Teams is looking into what makes these programs effective in scientific organizations).

Now, my challenge is to take these learning moments and use them to help build community and membership at my organization! I’ll be building on the training that I’ve already received in the first few months learning from the amazing cohort of professionals in of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellowship Program, including everything I’ve learned from the amazing cohort of professional community managers. I appreciate the support from AAAS as well as the resources and tools being shared and created to promote this profession!

Thank you for allowing me to share my experience and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want additional details on any of the information shared here!

You can find all of the CEFP Fellows’ posts here.