Captain of my ship: a social media (mini-)strategy

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I’ve been reflecting that it would be useful to make it clear to myself what I’m doing with social media and why, and how I intend to measure if I’m successful or not (and thus alter my actions appropriately). Here goes!

What I want to achieve (aims)

  1. to have a professional-looking profile online, which gives information on my professional experience, expertise and interests, but also demonstrates and illustrates it.
  2. to use social media to bring me information that I will value: it is a filter, saving me time not swallowing it!
  3. to create and maintain connections with professionals and experts in my field (and keep in touch with former colleagues).
  4. to record my discoveries for my own future use.
  5. to explore the tools available to me, to understand what they offer and to select what is most useful to me and those I work with.
  6. to share what I think and what I’ve found out with other librarians and researchers, who might find it valuable.
  7. to organise my thoughts through the process of writing and to apply a little pressure on myself to do things properly, because someone might be reading!
  8. to enjoy exploring and reporting.

It’s a long list. Too long for a mini strategy! What are my priorities? Do all these points belong in this strategy? I think that the focus really is on aims no.s 1 and 2, along with a large dose of no. 3. Some more thoughts:

  • With regard to no. 3: there are other ways to do this than social media so maybe what I really need is an overall communications strategy, where social media features.
  • For no. 4: I use Evernote and bookmarking tools to achieve this, too, so this means I need an information organisation plan. I can be communicative with either of these other tools (and often tweet bookmarks), but I’m clear that “social” is not my primary goal when using them.
  • No. 5  really comes under “professional development planning“. Note that having too many profiles and investigating too many tools can interfere with my aim no. 1
  • No. 6 seems to be linked to no. 3, and thus a part of communications.
  • No. 7 is awkward to admit (that I need the attention or I won’t work properly!) and difficult to monitor. Plus, I don’t want to pile more pressure on myself than necessary. Still, I’m being honest and realistic.

More specifically (objectives), I intend to:

  • Keep my LinkedIn profile up to date as a kind of “shop window” to my work and my online presence. Therefore, review it once a month. Keep it linked to my blog and Twitter. (Aim 1)
  • Blog at least once a week. Possibly, consider which day/time of day is most effective time for blog posts to go live. (Aim 1)
  • Tweet at least once a week (fed from my blog) and look at Hootsuite at least once a day (Aim 2). It would probably be a good idea to tweet once a day, too, although no need for strict rules! Reply to those who direct tweet at me, or thank them in some other way.
  • Maintain biographical information and profiles on LinkedIn, WordPress and Twitter (Aim 1). Promote LinkedIn wherever possible, eg in my e-mail signature (Aim 3). (NB one problem with LinkedIn, I noticed when I moved country: the URL for my profile changed. Is there a better link to use, that would not change with time?)
  • Connect with people I’ve worked with on LinkedIn. Endorse skills and ask for and give recommendations on LinkedIn, as appropriate (Aim 3) . (There are lots of ways to improve my presence on LinkedIn. I’ve just learnt that you can “like” a work anniversary, since LinkedIn tells everyone that I’m now celebrating mine. Nice, like waiving to people across the street, so I’ll consider doing that, too!)
  • Investigate other features of LinkedIn and other profile sites and tools from time to time, as possible (all Aims). Where possible, get all other profiles to point to LinkedIn (Aim 1).

I probably ought to work on those vague “as possible” and “as appropriate” statements: I’m really just describing what I do, here, and I do it because it feels about right! But this is not a formal strategy and I trust my instinct. Points in italics are action points for me: I’m glad I articulated my intentions here, thus partly achieving goal number 7! Though the real measure of success will be once I’ve done those action points, and the most important action point is coming up…

What I am prepared to invest?

When I add up time from my objectives, I’m looking at: 5 minutes each day to look at Twitter on Hootsuite (max), plus an hour a week to blog (minimum), plus 15 minutes a week (or an hour a month, minimum) for activity on LinkedIn. This is the time scheduled into my calendar, but I also need to take time to monitor/measure my activity, see below. This investment needs to be considered in terms of communications strategy and indeed an overall strategy for my work.

My blog is undoubtedly my biggest investment of time. Sometimes I have no time to blog and I use drafts that I’ve prepared in previous weeks. Sometimes, I spend a lot of  time researching and writing blog posts: this is OK if time allows, I tell myself! And also, if I’m enjoying it and it’s in my evenings/weekends, then it’s OK, I tell myself…

But time is precious and I don’t actually know how much time I spend when I get carried away with an idea to blog about! My time-saving resolutions are:

  • I should write blog posts based on paid work I’m doing already, where possible
  • I ought to monitor the time I spend more closely. I think that this my highest priority action point from these thoughts, because it allows me to follow my instinct on those “as possible” and “as appropriate” objectives, and my concept of “as time allows” can be better defined.  

How I will measure my success?

These measures will enable me to alter my objectives appropriately, in order to achieve my aims.

  • Twitter: look out for a lack of  clicks on links that I’ve shared (visit Hootsuite analytics for this, once every couple of months), or any sudden downward trend on the no. of followers (visit Twitter’s graph as well). (I could also look out for a sudden sink in my Klout or Kred score, but I’m not so interested in this at the moment: see my earlier blog post on Klout & co.
  • Blog: make sure that it doesn’t swallow too much time, look out for a steady number of visitors and at the least that the trend of visits/subscribers/comments does not decrease! I intend to think more about how to evaluate my blogging activity.
  • LinkedIn: For me, for now, the best way to evaluate it is to question “Do I look good in this?”!

So, my mini-strategy articulates a few things that I do or intend to do with social media and my online presence, and it focuses me on looking at how I monitor my time more closely.

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