“We’re preparing to launch our Cooperative’s presence on social media, but we don’t know which sites are best for us to use. Do you have any suggestions?”

The social media sea is vast, so it’s understandable if your Cooperative doesn’t know where to start fishing. Our advice to you is to get to know your fish (your audience), and then to follow them wherever they go on social media.

When it comes to choosing which social media sites will work best for your Cooperative, there are a few basic (and hugely popular) social media channels we recommend, and there are plenty of options beyond those channels, as well.

The Basic Social Media Channels

Facebook is the social media channel where your local Member-Owners are most likely to be right now, so we recommend that your Cooperative establishes a Facebook Page. Once you’ve set your Page up, you can begin engaging with your local rural community by posting regular updates.

Don’t forget to encourage your Member-Owners to follow your Facebook Page when you have real world interactions. You can promote your Facebook Page at events, in the bill pay process, and in your Cooperative’s newsletter.

We’ve seen some great content out there from Rural Electric Cooperatives: Pictures of your linemen working hard, information about Cooperative benefits and principles, and videos that promote Cooperative ideals (even if you borrow those videos from other organizations like NRECA) are just a few ideas to get you started.

If you want to reach audiences locally, nationally, or even internationally, Twitter is an ideal social media channel for your Cooperative. Twitter is a dynamic tool that casts a wide geographical net, and it’s a great place to learn from experts in our industry.

Twitter’s also useful for releasing content like Cooperative blog posts, and it’s perfect for sharing quick (140 character) updates. Add hashtags and your geographic location to Tweets to help establish content and generate deeper Twitter engagement with your followers.

Google+, Google’s social media channel, is powerful, but unless you know that you’ve got a large audience there already, we don’t recommend you make it your primary focus. In our Mid-Missouri market, there isn’t much of an audience on Google+. That doesn’t mean Google+ is irrelevant for everyone, but since our audience isn’t there, we won’t invest time and energy in that channel.

You probably know that YouTube is the social media go-to for video content. Your Cooperative can publish videos on YouTube and then share that video content on your other social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter).

But did you know that YouTube is also the second largest search engine on the internet? It’s true. And how-to videos are the most-watched category of video on YouTube. If you’re looking for a way to show your Cooperative’s personality on YouTube with a low cost of entry, consider putting together a few how-to videos.

Other Social Media Options

Of course, there are many, many more tools you can utilize. There are hundreds of social media channels out there that your Cooperative could use. Before you sign up, though, ask yourself whether your fish are already in those seas (are your audiences using those social media sites?) and whether you truly have the time to invest into additional social media channels. Do your research, and choose the social media channels that are right for your Cooperative.

One Final Tip
If your Cooperative plans to launch on more than one social media site, consider how you’ll manage those sites before you actually launch them. We recommend posting at least two times each day on your main social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) if you want to have maximum page views and interaction.

For efficiency, consider using an online social media management program like HootSuite (full disclosure: Gus is an affiliate partner of this company). You’ll be able to schedule your posts in advance, so you don’t accidentally get caught up in something else and miss one. Programs like HootSuite help you to manage all of your social media accounts on one platform, and you can even view your analytics there in real time.

If you don’t have time to manage your sites, even with help from a platform like HootSuite, we can do it for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation and quote!

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We spend our days connecting Electric Cooperatives with your Member-Owners. Let us help you activate and motivate your membership 24/7/365: Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or contact us today!