Social media is one of today’s hottest topics, and while there is no single magic formula for success, it can be a good idea to look at how others use social media to both engage and inspire audiences. Beth Perell, Vice President of Communication and Information Management at Goodwill International treated members ofthe Independent Public Relations Alliance (IPRA) to an insider’s view of her company’s social media workings at a recent professional developmental and networking luncheon. She offered the following insights.
Keep it fresh: Remember to keep your content up to date and relevant. Stale content is a surefire way to lose valuable followers and you run the risk of appearing uninformed. Goodwill uses a one tweet and one Facebook post a day approach – keeping their content active but not shoving it into people’s faces (or timelines!)
Engage followers: Build a community around your brand. Ask questions and get conversations flowing. For Goodwill, this means creating Facebook pages for each store and tailoring these pages to the community’s specific needs.
Be a storyteller: Or in Goodwill’s case, let others tell their story. Goodwill launched its weekly “My Story” feature as way to showcase individuals who have improved their life with the help of Goodwill. They then post this feature on all of their social media sites to maintain consistency in their company’s message.
Quality vs. quantity: Many of us get wrapped up in the numbers game. While numbers are important, they’re not everything. Attracting engaged followers is a much better strategy. As Goodwill has found, engaged followers are more likely to tell others about your brand as well as act as self appointed “brand advocates”. Beth recounted times where some people have left negative comments on Goodwill’s Facebook page and other followers were quick to defend Goodwill. These loyal followers enabled Goodwill to sit back and let their followers do the talking. If your followers have your back, you’re in pretty good shape.
Get your CEO involved: Goodwill CEO Jim Gibbons joined twitter at the urging at of Beth and according to her, he’s glad he did. Twitter enables him to connect with the Goodwill community quickly and efficiently in real time. CEOs are able to form and build relationships as well as directly see what people are saying about their brand, which in turn enables them to become better leaders.
Beth believes the success of Goodwill’s social media strategy is due to their ability to maintain a consistent image while focusing on the needs of the different communities they serve via their social media sites. Their professional yet personalized social media approach has allowed the company to be flexible while engaging their followers.