Social media has taken a front seat in relationships and maintaining connections in many lives. Personally, I find social media to be incredibly interesting as a topic in its relation to social interactions and societal norms. Living in a truly digital age, there is a certain importance to being established online. The absence of an online presence is now more than ever coupled with the question, “why not?”
This expectation of digital presence is heightened in fields that are online in nature, such as Continuing Education. Offering an online presence to your members/users is very important, but can seem daunting, especially when you don’t know quite where to start. Keep reading to harness tools for your Social Media toolbox.
For online presence I’d like to focus on these five main factors:
- Consistency of branding and tone
- Active, regular updates
- Varying content that focuses on business, practices, and processes
- Engagement with user base
- Ease of accessibility
Consistency of branding and tone
Consistency of branding and tone helps users to get to know the association (or business) as a whole. Branding can be used as an attention grabber or subconscious way for users to recognize new content. For your online presence, try using consistent colors and fonts across the board. Take the branding colors and fonts and apply the styles to all of your online material. Creating a cohesive brand improves perceived legitimacy and trust as your association is more established online.
Consistent, active, regular updates
Social media and social media platforms are ruled by time. The consistency of posts has a direct effect on connections and perceived establishment. Timely, regular posts are key to building a user base. By posting consistently online, users will not only come to expect content but will also feel more stability with your association. Imagine that each time a member visits a social media platform, they are greeted with familiar colors and established posting. Connecting through regular updates is a great way to maintain the user relationship. While all users may not visit Social Media platforms regularly, when the user navigates to these sites, they will be able to see the ongoing feed in its entirety. Have a healthy feed waiting for them. If possible, try to consider posting weekly.
Varying content that focuses on practices/process
Brainstorming content can be difficult, so I’d like to introduce five categories of posts that might be useful for your association.
- Testimonial: These are quotes directly from users. Think about using a quote from a faculty or user who had a particularly good experience with CE. These testimonials can then be used in a graphic with some copy on appreciation for the individual. (Please remember to keep privacy in mind! You could always show the testimonial as a “member testimonial” without using their name.)
- Business Highlight: What do you do? How can you feature it? For example, a post of a videography member with equipment: Headed on the road to record CE!
- Staff/Employee Highlight: Give your team a shout out! Include a working photo/candid portrait and a fun fact about the pictured employee. You can also advertise services in this type of post. For example: This is Adam from our support center! He’s a pro at calmly troubleshooting any issues your members might have.
- Atmosphere: Atmosphere shots are great for mixing in with the feed. Examples of these posts would be an office building photo or a nature shot in your city.
- Product Highlight: Bring some attention to what you have to offer! Do features on On Demands, Live Events, etc. (period here), to both inform users and excite them about content. For example, if you have a new bundle, create a graphic to go with it and advertise on online platforms!
Engagement with your user base
If you have an active platform with regular engagement, make sure to follow up on those comments and reactions! Responsiveness naturally helps to improve the relationship between user and association both for the individual user and anyone who happens to see the engagement. Even a quick answer shows that the association cares. Next time you see a positive comment such as “The CE process has been so smooth – Thank you ASSOCIATION NAME!” try answering with “Thanks, NAME! We’re thrilled to hear that you had a great experience with our CE platform. Let us know if you ever have a question or need assistance.
Ease of accessibility
Part of the digital era is instant gratification. Regardless of the business or brand, users look for clear, easily accessible information. For this reason, it’s extremely important to have information up to date and uniform across platforms. That means the most up to date phone number, address, faculty information, etc. Intuitive layouts and organization can also help with accessibility. Users should be able to find out where they need to navigate fairly quickly with a few clicks. Nothing is more frustrating than struggling to find the “contact us” area when there is a problem/inquiry. To further ease accessibility, try taking a look at the language used on online platforms. Keep text informative while cutting down on indirect references and word count. Always aim to be clear and concise if possible.
These five topics are great for reviewing your association’s status in social media. I invite you to use this list to assess your association’s current presence online and then identify goals moving forward. Online presence is a vast, vast topic, and that is why I have prepared a knowledge-based document on online presence to offer all of our InReach Partners! In this document, I walk through each of the five topic areas mentioned here with graphic and copy examples. In addition to social media guidance, I have also included best practices and procedural information so that you can confidently execute posts on all common platforms. No matter where your association is in online presence, I urge you to request the online presence document from your CSM for reference.
About the author:
My background is largely in breadth and depth, with experience in performance, classical piano, interpersonal relationships, technology, and much more. During my time in undergrad, I spent hours reviewing social theories and bringing them to the modern light. I studied theories in relation to the digital world and followed that passion as a social media manager and review manager following graduation. In this prior role, I was a content creating machine — creating content for a large variety of verticals such as automobile, health, educational, retail, and more. While I have worked in a large range of verticals, it has become evident the main important factors in an online presence. I’m happy to have an opportunity to share this experience with our InReach partners today. Happy posting!