By Jeremiah Mallari | May 26, 2020
Social media is one of the best communication tools in our modern social lives. Being able to connect with family and friends digitally at any time and any place is a pleasure and privilege of advanced technology. While so much of it is easily accessible, it can also be difficult to navigate. Whether participating for personal or for professional reasons, being successful at social media takes a lot out of you. Maybe not as hard for Gen Z kids like me who seem to know how to instagram and tweet from birth, but still the task to adapt to a new social media landscape is something to learn. Much of social media is about gaining attention, but getting attention requires some deeper analysis of social media.
While it’s a bit easier to manage your own social media accounts, managing a professional social media account is a little more difficult than just posting nice pictures of trips and brunch with friends. While some may think social media is universal, my public relations internship with MSR Communications has shown me how managing an account requires a lot of planning and effort. Social media is a platform to establish an image of oneself or one’s company, so when I began working on the MSR social media account, I knew that I was also managing the company’s image to the Instagram audience. Throughout my internship and time managing the social media accounts for MSR, here is my top advice for going from social media novice to professional:
Everyone’s personal Instagram is uniquely their own, and oftentimes posts are done randomly. I post everything from selfies to posed photos in front of art with funny captions. While this sense of randomness works for me, it doesn’t necessarily work for a company account. It’s important to have posts consistent with themes. Themes like selfies of workers that showcase remote work life, pictures of everyone eating lunch together, or even posts of the city for something original. Staying on one specific theme helps make your content more cohesive and can ensure that you’re producing engaging content regularly.
Post like clockwork
While I love to post sporadically for my personal account, for MSR and other company accounts, consistency is much more beneficial. Posting new content regularly will keep all your followers updated and engaged with what is going on. Figuring out what time and how often to post ensures a regular stream of content, but also helps you stay organized in producing new content on a regular basis. Whether you decide to make new posts every Wednesday, every other day, or every 4 days at exactly noon, having a set schedule will keep the social feed and content organized and much easier to be consumed by your audience.
Captions are just as important as the picture
Even with my personal profile, coming up with a caption is probably the hardest thing to do for a post. Those few words under a picture can really make or break the whole post. Think of the caption as the frame while the picture is the painting. Without a frame a painting is not complete, and choosing a frame will change how the painting is perceived. With my weekly posts for MSR, I always base my captions on the picture and add a little humor. Humor is a great way to connect with others, and I’ve found that people are more likely to engage with something that’s quirky because of the authentic energy it gives off. Whatever caption you decide, it’s best to keep it short and creative and the frame for the painting will be complete.
Don’t forget to reply
Generally, people are less likely to engage with a company’s social media posts because it’s a professional entity. You’re much more likely to like or comment on your friend’s post than on a company’s post even if it’s a company you really like! It’s so much easier to foster a relationship with someone personally on social media because all the comments and likes are one-on-one. That personalization can be lost for company social media. So whenever someone does comment, be sure to reply. Replying not only recognizes that person, but also initiates a small exchange that fosters a relationship. That person is probably more than likely to engage again on a future post if a reply is sent. PR has always been about building and maintaining positive relationships, so in a way you’re doing exactly that when taking the time to acknowledge people’s interest in what you’ve posted!
At the end of the day, social media has become one of the main forefront tools of communication for individuals and organizations. As a PR intern, my experience managing MSR Communications Instagram page highlights the difference between running a personal and professional account. Luckily, many of the skills you need to run a professional account can be taken from experience running a personal account, just with some refinement and planning. While you’ll likely need to operate with additional guidelines and on a specific schedule with a company social media account, you can still use the creative and fun energy that you would when running your own personal account. On the other side of the spectrum, implementing the concepts of organization and consistency of company social media into your personal account will redefine and hone your image for your audience. Balance is key in social media just like it is for public relations, so make sure to always analyze content to see if it is the best it can be before putting it out into the world.
Hopefully these tips will improve your social media game and encourage you to try a new approach. If so, let the journey to expertly handling a company’s social media begin!