If you share content from others, share reputable sources
As a baseline, share educational content from accounts or sites ending in .edu, .org, or .gov. While there are exceptions to the rule, this rule of thumb ensures your followers are getting trusted, legitimate information from experts within academia, public health, government organizations, and research and non-profit organizations. Using U.S.-based resources is recommended as much of the COVID-19 prevention and testing information, as well as the policies, are country-specific.
Keep it varied!
Followers love going on social media to be surprised and delighted—this means making sure your content is varied, relevant, and compelling. If you are feeling stuck on where to start, try this out:
On Monday, share an update and link to a local testing site announcement.
On Wednesday, ask followers to write a comment or share a video about their testing experiences.
On Friday, post an educational graphic from our library about testing benefits or who should get tested
End the week by tagging and sharing a photo or video from a like-minded organization on Sunday.
Meet your audience members where they are.
Aim to educate and inspire followers with timely and relevant content, but avoid telling them what to do or how to think. Think about your audiences carefully and meet them where they are with social media content. Trying to connect with young adults? Skip a high-level research study and opt for fun and memorable graphics or videos.
Show don’t tell.
When discussing public health information, it’s natural to want to TELL people what to do, but this can be off-putting to some groups. When writing content, use phrases like “we recommend” or “it’s suggested,” or “the [fill in the blank organization] has recently provided guidelines.” Or skip the words altogether and show visuals of what you’re advocating or ask your followers to share videos or photos in response to a question or prompt.
Own and correct your mistakes
If you make a mistake, own it. If you can, edit it and update the social post, tag any individuals associated with the post, and add a message that says that the previous answer was incorrect. If needed, delete a post but share a new post explaining why you deleted it. Most people appreciate the transparency and will understand. After all, we’re all human!
Cut yourself some slack
Social media can be useful at times, but it can also be challenging! It’s a never-ending learning curve and something that just takes doing to figure out. Recognize and accept that, and realize that although some days technology may be working against you, it’s worth it for the interactions that come out of having an online presence.
Post it and forget it.
With all that’s going on, it’s easy to post to social media and come back in two days or a week to post again. Social media is inherently a two-way street. Taking the time to respond to comments shows your audience that you are involved with the organization’s mission and care about each person’s opinion. It also helps you retain existing followers and fans, while also gaining new ones.
TMI (Too Much Information!)
It may be tempting to explain topics and suggestions in great detail, but resist the urge to be too wordy or complex. Social media is great for sharing CTAs (Calls to Action) or a short burst of information. Regardless of the platform, keeping posts or videos on the shorter side is recommended. After all, you want followers to read what your organization has to say, not scroll past because it’s a wall of words. Don’t fall for the ‘Too Much Information’ trap.
Act like a robot
Let your human-side show when responding to comments and answering questions. Thank people by tagging those who wrote a comment. On Facebook, use their first name in your reply by typing @ and the first few letters of their name. On Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, type @ and the first few letters of their handle (or username).
Be one dimensional
In a similar vein, don’t post just text. Whenever possible, add a video, image, or link with an attractive image preview to be more dynamic.
Don’t expect a huge gain in followers or a million likes overnight, especially after you revamp or create your organization’s social media platform. It takes time to see increases in followers and engagement. Once you begin to post and share regularly, the numbers should start to increase organically.