Layla, Lynn, and Elizabeth's ninja tips for engaging your audiences:
Don’t auto-post everything to everywhere, but do learn how to selectively auto-post in your chosen platforms (for instance, do register your FB and LI accounts to TweetDeck, so cross-posting is an option).
Check out the administrative interface of every platform you use - you’d be surprised at how much information is available on things like which links got clicked, who likes you, what they’re doing, etc.
Use URL shorteners and your regular web analytics tool to track how effective your posts are. (Are people clicking on what you want them to click on?)
When people contact you (@ replies, direct messages, posts to your FB page’s wall), respond.
Don’t forget about direct mail, which is still the most effective way to reach people, and email, which is still the most effective online way to reach people.
Figure out ways to reward your most ardent supporters, and make sure they’re ways that are meaningful to them.
Don’t ask LESS of social media in regards to ROI than your other communications channels...but don’t ask MORE, either.
Make sure more than one person in your organization knows something about your chosen tools - you don’t want everything to come to a screeching halt if s/he chooses to leave.
Dial back your efforts on the platforms that aren’t helping you meet you goals, so you can dial up your efforts on those that are.
Regularly revisit your goals to ensure your tools and efforts are still meeting your needs.
Follow thought leaders like @Mashable to keep up on the newest tools and new features your existing tools may have added.
Promote your top social media outlets in your e-mail signatures and business cards to drive visits and use.
Harness the power of RSS feeds. They will allow you to deliver content to a variety of platforms automatically.
Tag your items using searchable keywords and include those in descriptions whenever possible. That’s how people will find your stuff online.
Understand Twitter’s #hashtag power – they spread your words far beyond your followers – and use a tool like Tweetreach to track how far your tweets spread.
Use general hashtags (#nonprofit, #marketing) to help your tweets get more exposure.
BUT don’t use more than 2-3 hashtags per tweet, and don’t use more than 8 characters per hashtag.
Leave at least 20 characters to allow for easy retweeting (so keep your tweets to no more than 120 characters including hashtags).
Try to keep your Twitter handle (account name) under 10 characters to allow for easy retweeting and responding.
Use a real picture of yourself for a personal account and a logo for a branded account.
Use the “Web” link on your Twitter profile to direct users to a portion of your website that might be useful to them. For example: running a Twitter promotion for followers? Direct them right to it.
If it’s taken you a while to respond, RT the original tweet in your response. It will help give the person you are responding to context.
Check the trending topics every time you log into to Twitter to see if there are any ties you can make to the association’s content.
Thank those from your target market (i.e. potential or current members) for following you.
Use #ff (aka #followfriday) to help your members connect with each other.
Create a general hashtag for the profession or trade and use it religiously when you have any content that relates to the profession. Avoid weird spellings or shortenings if possible to make it easier for them to appear in Twitter searches.
Use search tools like Tweepsearch or Twellow to find your target audience within Twitter. Supplement that with RSS feeds of Twitter searches that look for mentions of the trade or profession to find members and potential members.
Identify in the Twitter bio which employee(s) monitor the Twitter account to give others a sense of who they are talking with.
Before creating a new hashtag, make sure no one else is using it by looking for it on Twitter Search and What the Hashtag.
Don’t forget to brand your Twitter background. Use it as an opportunity to inform other Twitter users about your other channels or as a place to promote upcoming events.
Once you have 25 fans, secure a user name for your page by visiting www.facebook.com/username, and try to make it consistent with usernames on other channels (.i.e, NACHRI’s website is www.childrenshospitals.net, and our FB user name is www.facebook.com/childrenshospitals).
Keep wall posts under 300 characters to keep the “read more” link from appearing.
Utilize notes instead of updates when communicating something longer than 300 characters. Updates have been relegated to a person’s inbox, but they do not actually show up as a message.
Use the Facebook application “Networked Blogs” to deliver your blog directly to your Facebok Fan Page Wall. It is more reliable than the Facebook Notes importing feature.
When creating a web page you know you want to share on Facebook, make sure to include a picture in the content. This will appear as a thumbnail when posted to your Fan Page’s wall and will be more likely to grab someone’s eye than just plain text.
Don’t underestimate the power of event notices for reminders about deadlines.
Facebook Insights are downloadable. Go to your Page’s Insights page and click “Export Data” at the top.
Encourage conversation by asking questions relevant to the profession or trade that allow individuals to express their opinions.
Use the “Say Something” box on your Fan Page to give out the moderator’s contact info in case there is a problem.
Involver offers two free Facebook application that allow you to import your YouTube Channel and Twitter feed to your Facebook Page, which makes it easy for your fans to connect with you on other channels as well.
Get more exposure on Facebook from visitors to your website by installing the “Like” button on your site.