Social Media Manager Handbook
Last revision: November 2014
Welcome to the role of Social Media Manager! In your role, you are responsible for marketing all of SOS’s operations through social media and overall brand presence on these platforms (Facebook, BBM, etc).
To make the learning process easier, this handbook serves as a high level overview of your role and the basics of Students Offering Support. There are separate resources that go into more detail on specific functions, linked below:
- Intro to the Portal
- VP Marketing Handbook
- Marketing Materials Toolkit
- Human Resources Handbook
- Logistics Handbook
- Outreach Handbook
You can always e-mail Alex, the National Social Media Manager, at email@example.com. He can answer all of your questions and/or set up a time for to meet and talk!
Be sure to join the Social Media Facebook group SOS Social Media Managers Community. In this group you have a chance to connect with other chapter presidents to ask questions or share ideas. Alex also posts tons of updates and information.
The 3 ‘W’s of SOS
Why: SOS’s mission is to empower students through social entrepreneurship supporting education both locally and internationally while fostering global citizenship.
What: Students Offering Support (SOS) is a student-led charitable organization that supports and develops SOS chapters on university campuses. Each chapter raises money to raise roofs through raising marks during Exam-AID group review sessions, taught and coordinated by student volunteers for university students. Each year, the money raised goes towards building sustainable projects in Central and South America, supporting access to a quality education.
Who: You – the students on university campuses across North America!
Innovation is core to every part of the organization and experience. From continual innovations in our on-campus teaching methods, cutting-edge technology used to create a collaborative online community of student leaders to ground-breaking community investments, maximizing the impact our funds can have in our partnering communities.
We pride ourselves at putting our students, volunteers, and community members at the highest priority in every decision we make, ensuring that every interaction and experience is impactful, both on campus and in our partnering communities.
We are accountable for our actions and how they affect the lives of our volunteers and partners. We take pride in doing work that positively impacts the people we collaborate with.
At SOS, efficient collaboration is critical to our organization. We work hard to develop two-way relationships with post-secondary institutions, corporate sponsors, student groups, our international NGO partners and communities. By developing trusting relationships, collaboration has enabled SOS to grow and maintain our excellence and accountability.
There are a number of ways that a campus chapter can organize their leadership structure. At a minimum, all campus chapters must have a President, VP Finance, VP Human Resources, VP Marketing, VP Outreach, & VP Logistics. Below you will find a typical chapter structure that may be useful in determining your own campus structure dependent on your needs and resources.
Each role is assisted by a pool of volunteers. Additional roles some chapters have implemented include: VP Business Development, VP Academic & VP Digital Exam-AIDs. These roles should only be added if there is significant need.
Social Media Content
When setting up your social media profiles there are a few basics every chapter should have in order to keep a cohesive branding across SOS. Below we will only cover Facebook and Twitter. Any other sites will be up to the individual chapter’s discretion.
The name of your Facebook page should state the name of the university as most students refer to it, followed by “SOS (Students Offering Support)”. An example: UCLA SOS (Students Offering Support). This change is because when students go to search for your chapter using something such as “UCLA SOS” it won’t show up using the old naming (ie. Students Offering Support – UCLA Chapter). Whether you are making a new page or revamping your current one please use this naming structure so that it is both easier for students to find you and we have consistent branding.
If you are first setting up your Facebook page you will be asked to select what type of page this is (ie. Business, organization, celebrity, etc.). Please select Organization, and within that Education. Most chapters already use this, so it once again presents a consistent image but also best represents what we as an organization do.
It is crucial that your chapter use the SOS logo as the profile picture. This allows instant recognition when students are searching for you, as well as signalling, once again, that cohesive brand. The picture should be SOS logo (refer to National Facebook to confirm).
The cover photo is where you are free to begin customizing your chapter’s page. The photo should not be an advertisement or include any text if possible. It should capture the spirit of what we do. It is recommended that if you have pictures of your chapter running Exam-Aid sessions, an outreach trip, or any other activities to use on of those. The more personal it is to your chapter and school the better prospective students will respond. You can also feel free to update your cover photo throughout the year as you choose. Making it relevant and timely is highly encouraged so feel free to change it up as you see fit.
Please include your Students Offering Support website on the Facebook page, as well as any other pertinent contact information. Do you have a specific location at your school? An email address for general inquiries? A phone number? Make it as easy for followers to get in touch with you as possible. No one wants to spend a lot of time searching for the information they need, they will just give up or go elsewhere if this isn’t clear.
It is important to decide early on who will be responsible for the management of the Facebook page. Too many people can make your online voice less distinct, your messages less organized, and your ability to effectively respond to followers lower. However, having one person decide on all of the content, manage responses, and deliver the message can be a high workload and also not give a true picture of your organization. It is recommended that two or three people have admin rights on the page, but that the entire team is allowed to help generate ideas for content. This will ease the workload, allow for fresh perspectives and encourage a more holistic voice, even if only two people are actually curating the page. Content will be covered more extensively later in this handbook.
Your chapter’s Twitter handle should be similar to your Facebook naming, choosing what students most often refer to your school as. As an example, University of Victoria has the handle @UVicSOS. This is a perfect handle.
Once again, please be sure to use the SOS logo as your picture, but feel free to make small adjustments such as adding your chapter name. Once again UVic SOS has a great example of this:
On your page please customize the colours and pictures to your chapter. Not only will it make the page more visually appealing than a standard Twitter layout, but gives you a chance to express your chapter’s individual personality. Include information such as your web address and your Facebook page so followers can easily find more information about you.
Technically Twitter doesn’t use admins the way Facebook does, but it is recommended that you follow the same policy for Twitter as outlined above for Facebook, but simply give the login details instead of admin rights.
Carrying Out Social Media
Once you have spent the time creating attractive and fully functioning accounts on Facebook and Twitter, it is time to actually start using them. This basically involves four steps which will be outlined here.
Step 1: Goals and Objectives
If you don’t lay out clear goals and objectives for your social media you will end posting disjointedly and you will have no way of seeing if the time you spend doing it was successful. Carefully think about the needs of your chapter before you launch your strategies. Do you need more volunteers to tutor? Do you need more students attending Exam-Aid sessions? Are you having trouble getting applicants for your outreach trips? It is natural for your needs to change throughout the year, just make sure you address them accordingly. An article by Brian Solis suggests that you “write a vision statement for how you will use social media to build relationships, a community around your value proposition, and how social media will enable your strategy.” Ask yourself exactly how social media can help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Social media shouldn’t be something you casually update when it is convenient, it must have a purpose for it to be effective.
Step 2: Target Audience
If you can’t identify your audience as more than “university students” then you will not be able to properly focus your messages or your social media approach. You need to know what kinds of students you are targeting. For example, if your goal is to get more students into Exam-Aid sessions, what courses are you offering? Do your sessions for Sciences courses fill up but your Business ones remain unfilled? What kind of student goes to an Exam-Aid session, and why haven’t they been to one yet? If you want more volunteers for tutoring, what kind of student are you hoping to attract? If you can pinpoint who you are trying to reach, it makes your job much easier. Ultimately, social media isn’t for or about your chapter, it is for and about your audience and what they want and need.
Step 3: Strategies and Tactics
This step will mainly address content, which is a very large issue. If you have spent the time on the first two steps, this step will become infinitely easier to manage.
You should be posting or tweeting every day. Do not take weekends off, simply make use of a scheduling tool such as HootSuite. You should have at least one post or tweet going out every day. An empty page signals to followers that you don’t really care enough to put in the time or effort, and you will lose their engagement. Do not skip out over breaks either, HootSuite can be utilized to easily set up tweets and posts to go out for a few days in advance. Do not, however, pre-schedule for more than a few days in advance or your material loses its timeliness and seems disingenuous. It is also recommended that you post during “regular” work hours, about 9-5 as that is when most people engage with social media.
What to post/share/tweet?
Okay, this is the big question. If you are going to be posting so often, what are you going to be posting? The good news is that the more diverse your posts, the more engaging your presence will be. Under no circumstances should all of your posts be promoting your chapter and its initiatives. People expect more from social media. You must post things that are related to your cause, but not all about you. Three things to keep in mind when posting or tweeting:
- Is it useful/informative?
- Is it relevant?
- Is it shareable?
Posting things like helpful study tips or a funny video during exam time are both acceptable because they address the needs of your audience. This will make your search for content much easier.
There are certain kinds of content that statistically do better than others however. The main three being:
- Visual Content – Pictures or videos have been proven to be the most effective content for engaging users. Pictures are strongest because they are easy to quickly scan, don’t need to be clicked through, and are easily shared.
- Audience Participation – Social media users want to actively engage with the brands/organizations/people they follow, it is what makes it such an incredible tool. You should always believe you are having a conversation with your audience. Ask questions, take polls, ask for comments or suggestions. Be as creative as possible with this. Can you run a simple photo contest where the winning photo becomes your new cover picture? Can you create a game or activity that draws the user in? These things can be very simple but they put the focus back on your audience which is key.
- Saying Thank You – This is a great way to spread the word about your organization without actually advertising it. Many non-profits who are making successful use of social media do things such as spotlight a volunteer or a success story. It allows you to recognize someone for doing great work, shows that you appreciate the human side of what is essentially a business, and lets your audience get to know you in way that seems more personal.
Another key strategy to use when managing your social media and their content is to spread the good karma. What this means is that you should like and follow any other groups, clubs, organizations or people that are at all related to what you do. More often than not, they will like or follow you in return, which opens you up to an large and already established audience you weren’t previously reaching. For example, you should definitely be following your school’s Students’ Union, perhaps any business student societies or travel clubs, anything that is already reaching your target audience. There is another great perk about making these connections though – if they put up some great content, you can share it! On days when you might be having a hard time coming up with something of your own someone else has already done it for you, and it isn’t cheating. When you like or share another group’s content, it is free word-of-mouth publicity for them. It will also show up on their page/feed that your chapter interacted with their content, grabbing a little attention for your chapter as well. Most importantly, however, is to see that if you can collaborate, you should. It is the old saying “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, except that it is more organic. A rule of thumb on Twitter is to follow as many or more people than you have followers. Social media is about generosity, so don’t be shy about helping other people in order to help your own group.
In a similar vein, be sure to like and share the content of other SOS Chapters, especially the Head Office group. It builds a stronger community, allows the chapters to help one another out and often gives you a better sense of what will or won’t work. A strong brand demands cohesion, and it will once again help you out in the long run if someone has already put the legwork into finding great and applicable content for the SOS community.
People also like “calls to action”. This basically means tell them what you want or need from them. We live in a generation that wants to be helpful, they just want you to tell them how. Research has shown that asking people to like, share, comment, or retweet a post will in fact generate more people doing those things. It is a great way to get an important message out there while recognizing that you need your audience, they don’t just need you. If you can ever go one step further and say “follow this link to our application” or “sign this petition” those will be even more successful. People want to make a difference, make it clear how they can.
Lastly, as part of engaging your audience and catering to their needs, always, always respond if they message you, comment on a post, or otherwise mention you. If they are taking the time to reach out to you, you had better take the time to thank them and acknowledge them for doing so. These users will be the ones who create the most word-of-mouth buzz for you, so do not take them for granted. Also, if you ever ask people to “like”, “comment” or “share” in a post be sure to thank them for doing so! It is hard to individually thank everyone who ever likes a post, but from time to time try.
The ultimate message about content is that it should be engaging, creative, and more about the needs of your audience than the needs of your chapter. Never inundate your audience with the same information over and over, and while it is important to promote yourself sometimes, that should never be the bulk of your content. Reach out and become as well connected online as you likely are in reality, it will only make your life easier in the long run.
Step 4: Monitoring and Evaluation
The idea of evaluating how successful your social media efforts are is one that is relatively new and is still taking some time to be embraced. You can measure this, however, and it is vital that you do so. There are many complex and sophisticated ways to evaluate your ROI in social media, but it is best to start small and do it well. This is where having set clear and concise goals and objectives will help you the most. What is success for your chapter? If you are just starting out, maybe increasing your number of fans/followers was the most important metric. If so, set a time frame and see how many “likes” or followers you got compared to what you were putting in. Or, if you already have a significant amount of followers your goal may have been to get your audience more engaged with your pages. Here, it would be important to use things such as Facebook Insights or HootSuite Reports and look at how many likes, comments, shares, retweets, favourites all of your posts got in a set time frame. What kind of content do your users respond to the most? These are the simple but crucial first steps in the monitoring and evaluation process. You must be constantly learning from what you are doing, what others are doing, and what research is showing in order to truly make the most out of your social media efforts. Take the time to read a few articles from the leading minds on social media. It is easy to google, the articles are generally snappy and to the point, and you will learn from other people’s successes and mistakes.
Social Media Dos & Don’ts
- Set measurable goals
- Determine your target audience
- Post daily
- Post exciting, interesting, informative and shareable content about things outside of your organization
- Like, follow, and support other people, groups, brands, etc
- Engage your audience through calls to action and participatory posts
- Respond to comments, likes, shares, follows, retweets, mentions, etc. whenever possible
- Connect with other SOS chapters and Head Office
- Work as a team and integrate social media into every facet of your chapter
- Keep up with new trends and research
- Evaluate your efforts, measure your success
- BE CREATIVE
- Constantly advertise your chapter
- Delete comments (even negative ones!!)
- Always post text, visuals are more effective
- Forget to be grateful
- Forget that social media is all about the audience
- Be boring
- Disappear over weekends/breaks
- Be afraid to have an opinion
- Isolate social media
- Treat your social media as a casual endeavour, it requires daily work
- Lose sight of your goals
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