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COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Spring 2018

COMSTRAT 310 - DIGITAL CONTENT PROMOTION (3 CREDITS) Instructor:  Brett Atwood                                EMAIL:    batwood@wsu.ed...

WEEKS 12 & 13: Social Media Marketing Plans and Building Facebook & Twitter Pages


Over the next week, we will:
  • Continue to learn about social media marketing plans and begin work on the creation of one with the goal of driving traffic and awareness to our campaign website.
  • Learn about best practices in building an official Facebook presence for our campaign sites.
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due April 26)
  • Create a Facebook and Twitter page for your campaign. These social media sites should then be linked to your main campaign website.
  • Start posting Facebook and Twitter updates frequently (several times a week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages. 
    • You should try to have at least 30 Facebook followers by the end of the semester.
    • You should try to have at least 10 Facebook and Twitter posts by the end of the semester.
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Optimize your Wix-created website for mobile devices using the mobile editor built into the Wix.com edit tool. Your final campaign site will be evaluated for how it appears on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Run an SEO audit on your site when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.

Best Practices in Facebook Page Management

Facebook has an official guide to Best Practices with some great tips. However, here are even more best practices in communicating with your followers on Facebook:
  1. Be conversational in your voice/tone with your followers. In many cases, it is best to use a casual tone that people can relate to. While it is important to stay "on message" and not offer personal and polarizing opinions, many social media managers infuse humor and personality into their posts to capture the attention of their followers.
  2. Ask questions to inspire conversations. When you ask a question of your followers, you are likely to inspire engagement with you on Facebook. Be sure to answer back and/or respond to any conversation that unfolds!
  3. Respond to Facebook comments, when appropriate. Many companies make the mistake of using Facebook as a one-way channel to deliver company news and updates. However, these organizations are missing the point of Facebook -- it is a media outlet that is best suited for social conversations that are not one-sided! Don't be afraid to respond to your followers. Most will appreciate that you acknowledge their opinions. 
  4. Don't feed the trolls! Some conversations can lead into a never-ending cycle of negativity. If the exchange is less about intelligent conversation and more like a rant, it might be best to be reserved in how (and if) you respond. In extreme cases, companies will block or ban followers that are not willing to engage in reasonable conversation.
  5. Share photos and videos. Visual media is more likely to grab the attention of your followers than simple text. This also means that you should consider changing out your Timeline cover photo often, as well. It also means that you should pay closer attention to the thumbnails that are generated when you link to other content.
  6. Consider exclusive content. Is there any insider information that you can reward your loyal followers with? Inspire more loyalty among your fans and followers with exclusive extras, insider tips and tricks and/or behind-the-scenes photos.
  7. Use post targeting. Some updates are only likely to appeal to a portion of your followers. For example, a particular post might only be aimed at customers in a particular geographic region. If so, you can use the "Add Targeting" option to limit who sees your latest post.
  8. Post useful info - not spam! Don't "hard sell" your followers -- they will likely view any blatant commercial posts as "spam" (which can lead to a decline in "likes" of your page). Consider your readers and what they will find interesting and/or useful. Many organizations use Facebook to establish credibility and authenticity with their fans. For example, a restaurant might post interesting recipes or food preparation tips. These posts might occasionally be accompanied with a gentle nudge to readers about your services -- but it is never a blatant commercial plug.
  9. Don't post more than two times a day. For commercial products, less is more. If you post too often, you run the risk of being perceived as spam. However, media and news properties are different. If your brand is centered around the idea of delivering news and/or information, then these non-commercial updates are more likely to be welcomed and perceived as useful to your audience. For example, CNN posts breaking news several times a day -- all of which is expected by those followers. 
  10. Use the "pin" and "star" features. You can now "pin" a post to the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days Use the "star" feature on any post to expand its width to two columns
  11. BONUS TIP: Use the call-to-action button, if appropriate. Facebook recently introduced a new call-to-action button that you can add to the top of your page. This enables visitors to click through to complete an action. Options include "Book Now," "Contact Us," "Use App," "Play Game," "Shop Now," "Sign Up," and "Watch Video."
There are numerous other tips to consider, too. Take a look at these articles from various social media experts about best practices in Facebook engagement:

Creating a Facebook Fan Page

Now that you have your new Web destination site, you'll also want to begin to nurture a strong community of followers and fans via social networking platforms, such as Facebook. Each team may want to designate a social media stakeholder for this responsibility or you might want to share those responsibilities.


1. Your designated social media editor should log in to Facebook and then visit this link to set up your fan page.

2. You'll want to classify your page by Category. Although the choice is yours, you might look at the options under Brand, Product, or Organizations. There are several choices that might be appropriate for your project there.

3. You will also get a chance to "name" your page. Make sure it matches your branded Web property!

4. When ready, check the confirmation box and digitally "sign" the form and select "Create Page."

5. Now you can customize your page. You might want to populate the page with your custom logo, profile information and even any of the many Facebook Apps.

Key Image Specifications for Facebook Timeline:
  • Profile Photo: 180 x 180
  • Cover Photo: 851 x 315
    • Should not include price/purchase info or "calls to action"
    • Need a cover photo? Find a free cover photo for your Timeline at one of these sites:
6. Once your page is ready, you can choose to take it public.

7. Ready to add a Like button to your new Facebook fan site on your Wix page? Use these instructions.

8. Use the Facebook Fan site to send alerts and updates about additions to your site. You might also promote it to friends and interested, related communities via Facebook and other social network sites.

9. After you are done inserting the Facebook Like button, you might want to explore some of the other easy-to-use apps on the Wix App Market that you can add to your Wix.com site, including embedding of a Google Calendar, Polldaddy surveys, live chat and more. Check out a list of them all here.

Creating your Own Twitter Brand Page

Are you ready to set up your own Twitter page for your brand? It's easy! Register your brand username (or any name that is as close to your brand name as possible) and then look for the following options to help customize your Twitter account:
  • Change your Design via Settings > Design
  • Recommended dimensions for the small Profile Photo are 400 x 400
  • Bio should be no more than 160 characters
  • Recommended dimensions for the larger Profile Cover Photo are 1500 x 500 

Ten Tweets Project

What will your ten first "Tweets" be on Twitter?

Using Google Documents, collaborate with your team to identify a strategy for the timing and content of your first 10 "Tweets."

Things to consider:
  • How will you use Twitter?
  • Will you use a "hard sell" vs. "soft sell"?
  • How often should you Tweet?
  • Are there other brands or influencers you should follow?
  • How is your brand messaging represented in the Tweets that you use?
  • What is the voice/tone that you should use?

Since every character on your Tweet is precious, many people turn to "link shorteners" (such as bit.ly) to help them truncate a longer website link into a shorter URL.

Note that Twitter automatically includes link shortening via its own t.co service -- but external link shorteners are also frequently used as they may offer enhanced services, such as website link tracking to provide useful data on "who clicked" your link.

Managing your Social Media Channels: TweetDeck and HootSuite

Managing multiple social media channels can be a pain. That's why there are services that you can use to help you monitor and maintain your social media channels in one centralized spot.

HootSuite is a social media management service that helps you stay on top of multiple social networks -- all from one centralized "dashboard." You can use HootSuite to schedule messages and tweets, as well as to track mentions of your brand/organization. You can also gain a richer understanding of social media traffic trends and developments that help you follow newsworthy developments related to your organization.

HootSuite offers a free version that you can use to get started -- but professional organizations will likely want to investigate upgrading to the premium paid versions (to unlock useful extras and features).

Check out HootSuite to get started.


Another great social media management tool is TweetDeck, which is an app that allows you to better organize and monitor your Twitter feeds. Use TweetDeck to arrange your feeds with customizable columns with useful filters, including hashtags and relevant keywords. You can also use TweetDeck to advance schedule your Tweets.

Check out TweetDeck to get started.

WEEKS 9, 10 & 11: SEO Basics and Social Media Marketing Plans


Over the next few weeks, we will:
  • Continue to work on our primary Wix-based campaign website
  • Learn ways to improve search engine rankings of content for our media campaigns via Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Learn about social media marketing plans and begin work on the creation of one with the goal of driving traffic and awareness to our campaign website.
  • Publish your work-in-progress website and send me your link so I can review it.
  • Begin to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due April 26)
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Run an SEO audit on your site when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.