Explaining how social media works to my boss
September 30, 2016 11:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some good articles that explain the timelines of social media to my boss. I'm struggling to get him to understand why delaying posting things that are already published online on news websites for days or even weeks doesn't make sense. Ditto delaying posting photos from events for up to two weeks.

Extra bonus points for things coming from reputable sources that even a technophobe would have heard of. If he won't listen to me, maybe he'll listen to someone who he's heard of before.

Next on my list after this is to contact people in similar roles at similar institutions to have them explain it to him. Sadly, he doesn't listen to me despite the damn good job I've been doing for the past three years.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Well, what are his reservations/beliefs about timeliness? What sort of content do you share, and what sort of industry are you in? What goals does your social media strategy feed into?
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:38 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

It would probably help to address the reasons he specifically has for delaying. Does he think it's best practice? That it's not important enough to devote the resources necessary for getting things up quickly? Something else? Someone explaining to him that's it best practice to post things quickly isn't going to get him to change if there's actually some other obstacle in place.
posted by lazuli at 11:51 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

[A couple of comments deleted. OP is looking for "good articles that explain the timelines of social media," so let's focus more on resources rather than our own thoughts about the logic of how it should work or our personal opinion about social media generally.]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:54 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

A 2013 Super Bowl coup by Oreo shows the value of a new slant on news that everyone knows. Doing this a week later would have had no impact. But that is sales, what is your social media presence trying to achieve?

Are you, as I suspect, trying to get him to make changes to achieve timeliness? If so, you need a business case couched in terms that will persuade him.
posted by epo at 2:57 AM on October 1, 2016

I work in non-profits in the UK and there's a move to get our sector better at social media. And so lots of resources online.

Here's an article that mentions timeliness. And through that site, I did find this older article by the chief of online and social media for the US Army Reserve that might count as a reputable source?
posted by Helga-woo at 3:12 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

From the OP:
I work for a cultural institution.

Examples of my boss' not understanding timelines include wanting to delay up to a week posting about a feature in the New York Times about our institution. Ditto a full article in a national lifestyle magazine. Ditto photos from a social event targeted to people in their 20s. In each of these examples we were getting comments online from people asking about each of these items.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:36 AM on October 1, 2016

Maybe this or this? Concentrate on the "consistent schedule" part?

However, I would be concerned that a guy who does not understand that not posting photos of an event involving 20-somethings within 24 hours is counter-productive is never going to understand this...
posted by kuanes at 7:18 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is written by a professional concert photographer who talks about how delivering photos for social media more than 24 hours after the event is now too late. It's mostly focused on how to deliver that fast, but has a few paragraphs on why it's important to do so.
posted by Candleman at 9:01 AM on October 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

I have a relative who helps artists with their social media, here is a blog post my her about the importance of a social media stratagy. There are other posts about this too.
posted by momochan at 9:52 AM on October 1, 2016

Finding the voice: Planning and evaluation of social media in cultural institutions and its references section may be helpful.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:30 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pew Research Center: Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies: Section 4: Social Media Use: "Adults who connect with the arts through social media are much more engaged...Arts organizations in the survey that report using social media were also asked about the frequency of their posts: almost half (45%) say they are posting to social networks daily, including 25% who post several times a day. Just over one-quarter (28%) post content “several times a week,” while another 16% post “once a week.” The remaining 11% of social-media using organizations post less frequently. Even with staff capacity issues, these figures suggest that many arts organizations see social media activity as an important part of their workflow, and one that requires frequent tending to keep content up to date and relevant."

Cultural institutions in the digital age: British Museum’s use of Facebook Insights (.pdf): "Updates remained interesting (posts were usually relevant to the day they appeared) and promoted discussion among users. Also, frequency was kept to an average of two posts per day, which is considered appropriate to maintain a good daily online relationship with users without being annoying."
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

From the Tate Social Media Communication Strategy 2011–12: "It is important to regularly update your account, and to listen and respond to as much as possible in order to get the most from it. Be conversational, friendly and informative. By actively responding to questions or comments from fans, you will build greater trust and increase your following. It is critical that you establish a two-way dialogue with your audience because new followers will be put off by an inactive or monotonous account."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:23 PM on October 1, 2016

Hootsuite which is a social media app, has a whole section of its website dedicated to best practices for social media.
posted by sutel at 5:32 PM on October 1, 2016

As well as articles, can you point him to analytics that prove that posting quickly on your channels is more effective? Show him engagement stats for posts made quickly vs those held back.

(I realise you may already have done this and that's why you're asking, and I realise this supposes that he's willing to let you experiment, which may not be the case if he really insists on holding onto stuff, and by the sound of it, he may not listen even if you can prove it - good luck).
posted by penguin pie at 12:05 AM on October 2, 2016

Does your boss believe that your organisation should be on social media in the first place? If not you will not be able to get him to see the need to do it properly.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:36 AM on October 2, 2016

From the American Association of Museums's Museum Assessment Program (.pdf): "Posts on any social media site should be timely and relevant."

Also: How to use Instagram and Pinterest for your arts organisation from the Guardian has a nice list of Instagram accounts from cultural organizations.

One of my favorite blogs from a cultural organization is Folklife Today, from the Library of Congress. When a fox was spotted in Washington, D.C. a couple of years back, it took less than 24 hours for FT to put up a post about historical sightings of foxes around the Capitol. That post still strikes me as a terrific way to link historical events and current events.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:20 AM on October 2, 2016

Public Relations Institute of Australia: Not-for-profits: What is your social media response time?

"Success using social media can depend on how quickly you respond to the people who are trying to interact with you. Responding in a timely manner shows your followers that your organisation is present, listening and that they value the people trying to engage with them. Being unresponsive on social media is like going to a party, sitting next to someone and asking them a question and being ignored. Responding too late is like that same person walking up to you at the end of the party, (or even days later) with your answer. It just doesn’t make sense. The moment to connect has passed....

"My research has found that organisations have very different ideas of ‘timeliness’. Most of the organisations in my study respond during business hours only. Some respond within three hours, for others it is 12 hours, others within 48 and others only when they can. My research has also suggested that those organisations that have the resources to devote to social media have seen a noticeable increase in followers and engagement as a result."
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:57 AM on October 2, 2016

Last ones, I promise:

Dunham + Company, 15 Social Media Best Practices for Nonprofits: "Ideal response times vary between platforms, but no matter the channel, one thing is certain: We live in a culture that expects a quick response. General questions, inquiries, or even statements of praise should all be answered as soon as possible. Based on industry best practice, we recommend keeping response time to under one hour on Twitter and under two hours on Facebook."

Dunham + Company, Nonprofit Social Media Scorecard (.pdf): "Another area where expectations did not necessarily line up with reality is the promptness of responses, which for nonprofits lags far behind what constituents feel they’re entitled to. Take Twitter, for example, where 26 percent of nonprofits responded within two hours, and 35 percent responded within one day. Overall, the timing of the response from those nonprofits that did respond on Twitter is not good: Your response time will directly impact how an individual feels about your organization—especially since humans want and need to receive acknowledgment and thanks in a timely manner. Don’t allow someone to write you off just because you fail to respond to them. That’s called a self-inflicted wound."

Read the scorecard:

Response Time:
• Immediate – 4 Hours
• 4-8 Hours
• 8-18 Hours
• 18-24 Hours
• 24-48 Hours
• 48-72 Hours
• 3-5 Days
• +5 Days

Bottom line: "...there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to treating these platforms as a way to connect donors to the organization and engage them in conversation.

"This is going to become increasingly important as younger donors mature, since they have grown up with this socially connected technology and expect organizations to be using these platforms correctly."
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:09 AM on October 2, 2016

Rather than convince your boss using someone else's research or opinion, could you frame it in terms of the business / organizational value you're charged with delivering?

Why does your boss believe your organization should be on social media at all? What I'm getting at is, what does he want you to accomplish by building content and posting/promoting it?

For example, are you supposed to be getting the word out that your organization exists? Getting potential donors to sign up to receive emails? Convincing potential donors to make their first contribution? Activating existing donors to make another contribution? Getting people to visit a website for a particular campaign?

If you and your boss agree on the purpose of what you're doing, then you can figure out how to measure how effective your programs are using the data you have available. Then you can build some experiments that could answer whether improving immediacy / timeliness / relevancy would have better results that ultimately deliver more value in terms of what he thinks is your purpose there.

If your boss doesn't have a clear idea of what the purpose of your organization's social media program is, then I think you have a much bigger question than how soon to post event photos. It sounds like he might not really understand what the point is, or have a clear sense of what he wants you to deliver to the organization.

I deal with similar questions at work a lot, feel free fro MeFi Mail me if you want to chat more.
posted by reeddavid at 1:13 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Maternity leave for managers   |   Returning keys Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.