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What will you do with your account?
Setting goals for your social media presence is as necessary as entering a destination into Google Maps; you need goals to get where you want to go. So before you take the next steps in getting social, ask yourself a simple question: What do you want to accomplish?
Do you have your answer? Great! Now let it go.
Why let go? Because you will never meet any goals without first cultivating engagement with a relevant audience, and everyone in your audience has goals of their own, goals which drive their social consumption. Therefore, any brainstorming session about your social media goals needs to start with a serious investigation of your audience.
These questions and prompts will help you to define your audience and determine how to give them what they want.
Why create general neuroscience content when you could create content for a middle-aged teacher named Mavis? Mavis teaches advanced placement biology at a nationally recognized science academy for high school students. Mavis has a passion for neuroscience, pro-vaccination sensibilities, and a teenaged daughter who helped her set up an Instagram account.
Remember Mavis—we’ll be using her throughout this guide!
Mavis is an audience persona. You can make up as many personas as you find helpful. When you have social-media writer’s block, just pretend you’re talking to one of your personas.
Make your audience personas as detailed or simple as you like; just focus on interests or lifestyle factors that influence social-media consumption. (E.g. Mavis likes to browse social media channels in the morning, before her family wakes up.)
If you’re having trouble picturing your core audience, grab a coworker and profile his/her demographics, interests, and social media habits. Even if you don’t believe this person represents your core audience, profiling a real person should make the exercise less abstract.
Tip: Your core audience is not everyone!
Serving “everyone” is a tempting prospect as you’re setting up a social media presence. While having thousands of followers is great for popularity, when it comes to achieving your highly specific goals, a small group of super-engaged followers you understand yields better results than a faceless mob of “strangers.” So don’t be afraid to focus on those who truly fit into your core audience.
If you got to know your core audience in step one, then this question should be easy to answer. Use what you know about your audience to make an informed guess about what they want from social media. Your guesses could be off base, but anticipating the needs of your audience is the first step toward social success.
What does Mavis want from a social media exchange?Mavis wants to use her new Instagram account. She would love to learn about neuroscience research from the experts and maybe see a few straight-from-the-source microscopy pics. If she could convince people that vaccines are A-Okay by sharing some posts from credible thought leaders, she would be pretty pleased.
Sure, there’s a lot of guesswork here, but that’s why social media is all about listening. As you post, you can monitor likes, shares, and comments. Through these actions, your audience will tell you what they want. So keep track, and do your best to adapt your strategy as you collect key insights.
Let’s say your goal is fundraising for your neuroscience research lab. Donating money is not on Mavis’s list of things to do on social media. That’s okay; you can balance her desires with your goals to make sure everyone gets something they want.
For example, Maybe for every 10 microscopy photos you post, you can squeeze in one soft call for donations. Follow this pattern, and before long, Mavis may be inspired to donate since you’re providing her with so much great content.
To establish your promise, simply explain what you plan to post to balance your audience’s desires with your social media goals.
For example, We will post quality original neuroscience content (photos, statistics, and research briefs) sourced from our lab and the labs of our colleagues. We will solicit donations via one thoughtful post per week.
DGSOM uses the following channels for institutional posting and DGSOM-branded social media accounts. Users are welcome to open accounts for one or all three channels. To decide which accounts to open,
For example, if you don’t wish to post many photos, then you should probably steer clear of Instagram.
If you’re interested in a channel not listed here, please contact the DGIT | Digital Technology Web Team.
Tip: Be sure to follow these institutional accounts.
DavidGeffenSchoolofMedicineUCLA Facebook is perfect for posting photos, relevant news, videos, and more. DGSOM uses Facebook to share health news, research brag points, doctor spotlights, human interest stories, and more.
@dgsomucla Ideal for sharing (and reading about) breaking news and updates, Twitter is a fast-paced platform that allows administrators to let audiences know what’s happening now. DGSOM uses Twitter to post teaser links to news stories.
dgsomucla A photo-rich channel, Instagram is an ideal way to highlight the diverse faces of a community. Instagram allows an online community to feel engaged and connected with the happenings at DGSOM.
At this point in the guide you've established your:
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Now it's time to move on to the how, a.k.a. the social media srategy.
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