Working with Sheds across the nation, the SMSA team often hear about concerns arising over Shed social media accounts.
There are so many opportunities to be gained through social media—and it should be considered as an extremely useful and positive tool—including raising awareness of your activities; sharing your latest news announcements fast; building relationships; staying connected; reaching wider audiences; targeting a younger Shed member audience and to thank/recognise funders and supporters.
That said, if your social media presence is not managed correctly it can start to cause a whole range of issues—below are some top tips for Sheds to cover some of the concerns that have been brought to our attention:
Always have more than one administrator
The SMSA often hears about Sheds having duplicate accounts/pages as login details have been misplaced/lost, or the sole administrator of the account has moved on or unfortunately passed away. Always having more than one administrator will solve this problem and ensure maintaining the accounts is not just the responsibility of one person. Social media activity can be something the whole Shed can become involved in.
Make social media a part of your day-to-day Shed activities
To maximise the potential of social media, you need to keep your audience engaged on a regular basis. Consider adding the topic to your meeting agendas as a regular item to discuss—“What posts can we share to social media this month?” “Who can take the photo at that cheque presentation next week?” “Who can advise the Facebook Administrator on the details of that community project?”
Your community and supporters (and potential new members) want to see photos/updates of what it is like in the Shed i.e. members playing cards, working on projects together…even just a photo of Bob and John having a laugh over a cup of tea! They want to see Shed life.
Ensure your administrators are social media savvy
Your administrators will receive all notifications of posts and comments to the page and should respond and chat to followers/subscribers in a timely, polite, respectful and professional manner. It is important to interact with your audience and think twice (and proof read) before you share/post or respond to anything in the public domain. Be informative, offer support and show empathy and kindness at all times.
Responding to negative feedback/comments
Some topics/conversations may be controversial or divisive. After all, life would be boring if we all had the same opinions however, the way comments/feedback are dealt with is extremely important. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is important not to ignore comments that you do not agree with or leave questions unanswered and certainly do not ‘block’ the person because you do not like what they have to say. Respond to the person quickly in an open and transparent way, answering their query/concern and then invite them ‘offline’ to chat on the phone or in person to discuss the matter further.
Ensure administrators have the time to dedicate to social media
It is important to post regularly on your Shed news, funding successes, projects etc to keep you audience informed and engaged. Nothing is more off-putting than going to view a page that is out-of-date and not posted for a long time. When you recruit administrators, please ensure that they have the time to dedicate to this project and are fully-aware that the page will be updated regularly.
Get creative with your content
Use the platform to get the word out and showcase what you Shed has to offer—plenty of photos and videos of your facilities and your Shedders in action. It can often be intimidating or overwhelming for someone to come along for the first time so use social media as an opportunity to give a ‘virtual tour’ of the Shed as the welcoming, friendly and inclusive environment that it is. Get creative with your content, get the members involved in the videos and photos to make updating the social media a fun task.
Recognise and promote partnerships and relationships
If your Shed works in partnership with another individual, community group or organisation—to give or receive support—take photos of the project in progress or some before and after shots, presentations or events etc and tag each other into posts to promote the initiative and recognise the support.
Record the engagement
Sheds can utilise the engagement through their social media to harvest testimonials and feedback received on projects and record and promote this information in funding applications, evaluations and impact reports.
Keep personal accounts separate
Where possible, try to keep personal social media accounts out of the loop. Try setting up a new generic account and all of your administrators can use this one account to log-in and maintain the page. This also means that notifications can be set up to come into the Shed email address instead of personal email inboxes.
And finally, change your passwords regularly
Social media accounts can unfortunately be at risk of being hacked. Keep your social media accounts safe by changing your passwords regularly (quarterly is advised) and also after an administrator leaves the role.
Need some extra advice?
Feel free to contact Michelle Wibrew, SMSA PR & Communications Officer at email@example.com