For some of you working in Extension programs across Oregon, caring for and managing social media engagement with constituents is merely a part-time gig. Not that you have a big choice about it—that’s just sort of how it works out given everything on our plates, right?
This can mean that finding the right tool with the right mix of features can make all the difference for whether “part-time” looks like mere minutes each day vs perhaps spending far more—gobs of valuable time spent logging in and out of various social accounts, hunting for insights about what’s taken place in the past few days, then anguishing over what to post or which comments deserve more attention.
We can talk about a better way to keep the investment of your time to a reasonable level.
A focus on game-changing features
It only takes a few minutes to search the web and find free options for some of the management features you’d want in place for well-run social media management. And sure, that can be a nice starting point.
Frankly, the tool we find inside the Salesforce CRM, called Social Studio, is not free for us. However, we sure know the “you get what you pay for” adage and it applies here (plus, bear in mind many programs will see vast majority of Salesforce licensing paid by central Extension, pending a review of your project requirements).
To the right, there is a table showing all the Basic and Pro plan features found in Social Studio.
I picked out my own favorites, highlighting them in green. As compared to free services elsewhere, it’s on account of these highlighted options that Social Studio really shines.
Broad Listening/Social Listening
Among the full feature list, I took care to highlight any of the myriad features having to do with Broad (or Social) Listening. This truly is the big ticket item in Social Studio from which you’ll see big benefits.
As a for-instance, one of the use cases I’ve managed to hear about is the re-posting or re-tweeting of Extension program posts by the central Extension Service’s social media team over in Extension Communications. Think of it this way: if your program’s Facebook audience is, let’s say, 100 people, while the Extension’s Facebook audience numbers 1,000, their action of re-posting one of your program’s posts increases your potential audience by a factor of 10. It can add up! So, that is a valuable service they are providing—how would they pull that off as efficiently as possible?
Enter Broad Listening in Social Studio.
After logging in to the platform, there’s an “Engage” tab. Click that and you arrive at a wide page with all your social listening efforts organized in one easy-to-use place.
In our example use case, our intrepid social media manager has set one column so it’s entirely dedicated to every “@” mention, hashtag, or web address mention for all of the Extension programs’ existing social media presences—and I do mean all of them.
Social Studio provides access to post or page content for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, news aggregators, blogs, reviews sites, forums, and on n’ on. At a glance, our central Extension team member (just to stick to our hypothetical use case) is able to review all the past day’s or week’s activity, deciding in minutes which ones to re-post on their main social media channels.
Plus, any one “post” can instantly be published to as many of your social media channels you want all at once. The ol’ write-once-and-publish-everywhere trick. Plus, leverage the ability to schedule the post to publish later in the day, or perhaps next week; the choice is yours. If you’re working at 8:00 a.m. and you know your audience is more likely to engage with your social media content around 5:00 p.m., you can set a publishing time of your choosing. Plus, don’t forget that the analytics data in Social Studio is able to inform you when your audience is most likely to engage with your content!
The content calendar feature can be really valuable and it gets an honorary mention here as well.
This content calendar pertains to social media posts that one can plan and create ahead of time. This can be a real time saver. Feel free to reach out to me for more details, if you would like to learn more?
Full review of features
As I mentioned before, the full array of features is provided in the embedded features table. Certainly, the first thing to appreciate is the sheer volume of cool things you can do with the platform.
Admittedly, the struggle here can be finding ways to appreciate how any of these features directly help you in a day-to-day sort of way! I encourage you to scan the list; see which of these fit with your vision for stepping up your social media management game.
And if you want or need some assistance with evaluating how meaningful any of the features can be for your work, read on to learn more about requesting a personalized demo session for your program or county.
Would you like to see how the Outdoor School Program managed it?
In February, the Outdoor School team chose Social Studio as the way to listen to conversations swirling around social media channels having to do with outdoor education, STEAM/STEM education topics, the challenges faced by outdoor school and camp providers throughout the state, and much more.
As March and the COVID-19 response hit, the unlimited number of users afforded to them by their license allowed for the quick addition of new team members to leap into the role of accessing Social Studio and beginning to create content in the platform. This rapid response allowed them to nimbly react to the changing needs of their social media communications.
You would be able to reach out to Rita Bauer or anyone you know in the Outdoor School Program for more on how this tool helped them manage and track their social media efforts.
Or reach out to me to schedule a brief demo. I’m here to help.
Extension website updates.
- Now added is a “Call to Action” field on articles. You may enter a link that appears at the end of an article, encouraging readers to further explore the website. For example, they might link to a related program, newsletter, or project. If they don’t enter one, a link to the topic page(s) the article is tagged with appears instead.
- Do you have ideas or other feedback? Submit a support ticket to let us know! We thank you for your input.