Between handling workspace configurations, emergency preparedness, energy management, and the host of other responsibilities that come with being an FM, it can be hard to make time for less “mission-critical” activities such as maintaining and updating social media accounts.
However, a well-curated social media account can help streamline a variety of FM responsibilities, including dealing with occupant complaints, getting the word out about new initiatives, and providing a valuable avenue to connect with your local community. With millennials making up an increasing percentage of the workforce and more widespread attention being paid to organizational accounts, the right social media strategy is crucial to creating the best image for your department.
What Should I Post? Before creating any social media profiles, it’s important to consider the type and content of media that your viewers or audience members will be interested in learning more about. It can be a good idea to pay attention to the posts that your audience members already engage with, so that you can craft posts in a similar way, making it more likely that your audience members will notice and engage with your posts. That attention helps you get your message out.
“One of the first things we considered was ‘As a student, what kind of content would I want to see from the facilities department?’ The department does a lot of things to ensure that the educational experience is seamless and everything goes exactly as it should, so I just thought of ways that I, as a student, would want to be engaged by the campus’ Twitter and Facebook accounts,” says Matt Cruz, Communication Intern for the Facilities, Engineering, and Planning Department at Rice University.
To get started, ask yourself what you’d like people to know about your facilities department and consider the best way to communicate that. Will you be mainly sharing photos of facility and grounds improvements? Perhaps some web articles that your audience may find interesting or some how-to videos? Whether you’ll be creating your own materials or sharing from other sources, knowing what type of content you’ll be using and each platform’s strengths and weaknesses can help you fine-tune your strategy.
Where Should I Post? With the multitude of social networks that cater to a variety of demographics, it can be difficult to ascertain which platform is the best for your organization. After all, you don’t want to waste large amounts of time on a network that your audience may not even use.
Asking your occupants questions about their social media usage can give you a great starting point to decide which networks to focus on and which to skip. If your organization is small, you may focus on creating just one account on the platform your occupants already use, whereas if you’re looking to reach a wider variety of audiences, a multi-platform approach may be the right decision.
One key consideration for choosing a social media strategy is to clearly delineate your goals for each platform. Will your posts be primarily targeted toward occupants or are you looking to engage with the larger web community on facilities-related topics? It can be a good idea to focus one platform’s outreach on communicating with your direct audience, while another platform is used for more general stories and posts designed to engage either the local community or other users interested in similar topics.
How Should I Post? While the various social platforms allow for a variety of different posting strategies and audiences that can be reached, it’s important to remember to act professionally at all times. If you’re representing your organization in an online capacity, follow a few tips.
“Always be professional and respectful, and be careful of what you’re posting – especially when speaking about your campus or your business. Regular English grammar rules are a good idea. Be honest but respectful and certainly don’t go trashing other people or organizations,” says Lizzie Oderkirk, Digital Content Coordinator for Michigan State University’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Department.
Another key piece of advice – keep in mind what types of content social media users are interested in engaging with. While text-only updates are the easiest to generate, posting photos or external links can pay big dividends in user engagement and tweet visibility.
“We consistently receive more interaction from our followers when we use photos,” says Martha G. Koontz, FM Communications Specialist for Auburn University. “Our text-only tweets may receive around 300 views, but tweets including photos consistently receive more than 1,000 views.”