Social media tips and tricks
Social media came into the world quickly and is always evolving. It has become part of our culture, and an entire generation doesn’t know life without it. Social media is a great way to stay connected with families and friends, learn from others with similar interests, stay up to date with your favorite brands, and more. It’s a valuable marketing tool, not only for companies to market their products, but for organizations like the ALA to spread awareness of our mission and attract new members, volunteers, and donors.
Which social media platforms should we use?
This is not a one-size-fits all answer. It depends on where you will find your target audience. The Communications and Marketing Division at ALA National Headquarters finds Facebook to be the most used among ALA members, which makes sense because Facebook is still the most used social media platform in the world. However, for ALA Girls Nation, Instagram outperforms Facebook.
At National Headquarters, to make sure we are reaching as many people as possible, we don’t stop at Facebook — we also use Instagram and Twitter. That way, we reach different audiences.
wBecause we know that a high percentage of our membership uses Facebook, we encourage all units and departments to have an account. Another reason — it’s easy to maintain and you can provide a lot of information to your members and potential members. Don’t forget the media: A reporter may look up your page when researching a story.
Don’t feel limited to Facebook; branch out to other platforms. Go where your audience is. However, don’t create a page on a platform just because it’s the new hot thing. Before starting an account on a new platform, ask yourself: Are your members using it? If not, is it worth your time?
It’s also good practice to avoid niche political sites that have been popping up in the last couple of years. The ALA is nonpartisan, so being on these sites could appear as an endorsement.
Choose the right name
Imagine: Someone learns about the ALA and wants to know if there is a unit in their community. They search social media but can’t find a post in the city they were searching for. Was this because your unit’s account didn’t mention where it was located?
For example, is your social media account name something like, “American Legion Auxiliary Unit 123”? This name doesn’t mean anything to someone outside of the organization. Also, there can be several units across the country with the name 123.
Make it easy for people to find you. When creating or updating your name, be sure to include the unit number, city, and state. For example, “American Legion Auxiliary Unit 123, town, state.” Also make sure your name is not “American Legion Ladies Auxiliary” or “Women’s Auxiliary.” Remember: Male spouses of veterans and current military who are currently Legionnaires are eligible for ALA membership, so be inclusive.
Have multiple administrators
It’s a good idea to have at least two people with admin rights to your social media accounts. For example, if your unit’s page is hacked, or a follower posts a hateful or spammy comment, you don’t have to rely on one person to take care of it. What if that one person was in the hospital, on vacation somewhere, or just didn’t notice? The other admin is a backup and can respond to problems things immediately.
Additionally, if a member decides they no longer want to be an admin, and someone takes that person’s place, you can easily switch the rights to the new person. Also, think of the worst-case scenario. Someone leaves the organization and doesn’t turn the page over to anyone. Then you will have to start over with a new page.
The other advantage of having more than one admin for your social accounts: tag-teaming. We know lots of people in ALA units are pulling double shifts in terms of serving as chairs for multiple committees, etc. When you’re really busy with an upcoming Juniors event, for example, and have no time to concentrate on your Auxiliary’s social, the other person can take over, keeping your posts current and engaging.
Keep your social accounts active
It’s important when deciding which platforms to use that you keep your accounts active. You don’t need to post every day, but don’t go months without posting. It can look worse to have an inactive or poor-quality page than no page at all.
To make sure your social account is active, create a content calendar. This will allow you to plan posts ahead of time, when it’s most convenient for you. You can create your posts and schedule them. Think about putting upcoming events, important deadlines, holidays, etc., on your content calendar.
Get noticed: Include a visual
You want your posts to stand out and draw attention. Always use a photo, graphic, or video with your content. A favorite tool of ALA National Headquarters is Canva.com, a free user-friendly website that allows you to make fun graphics.
Be on the lookout for your members serving the mission. If your unit is assembling care packages, for example, take a picture of them packing items versus posting a posed shot of people standing next to boxes. Showing your members in action will draw more attention than a bunch of statues in a posed picture.
Remember to have fun
Social media was designed to be a way to engage with others. So try not to stress, and be creative. The more you enjoy it, the more others will too.
Take your social media to another level
If you want to learn more about using social media, check out our recorded webinar in the ALA Academy: Using Social Media to Your Unit’s Advantage. You can find the course in the MyAuxiliary portion of www.ALAforVeterans.org.
Quick tips to managing social
Dos and Don’ts
- Use a descriptive name
- Have multiple administrators
- Create a content calendar
Use proper branding
Keep things positive
Respond promptly to messages and comments
Post political content
Post gossip or air dirty laundry
Post items unrelated to the ALA or our mission
Respond negatively to messages and comments
Before you post, think: Will it…
- Draw interest?
- Motivate a person to take action?
- Teach something new?
- Reflect the ALA and our mission in a positive way?