do you remember your first time? 3 ways to review your social media maturity

Where are you on your social media path? Just started? Or a veteran? Here are some tips to see where you are on your journey. 

by Jonathon Fitzgerald

Do you remember your first time? That toe-dipping moment when you tested the waters of social media?

Perhaps you watched from the shallow end to start with, learning by observing some of the ‘big fish’. 

The question is – have you looked back since to evaluate your progress and maturity?

Whether you’re still progressing up the pool and wearing armbands or fully immersed in the deep end and performing the equivalent of backflips and tricks each day, you should still review yourself regularly, because nobody is an Olympic performer all the time.   

It was at a Comms2Point0 event earlier this year when I inadvertently found myself revisiting the moment I’d lost my corporate Twirginity. Having brought some examples of my social media use on the council’s main feed to stimulate discussions, I was showing a fellow comms officer I’d just met how we’d dealt with our first pothole report, when it struck me that I’d perhaps do certain aspects of it differently, were it to come in today as opposed to 2009.

The speed of response, for a start, demonstrated how differently we prioritised things back then (we’re talking days and days here, not hours!). Then there was the fact that the resident informed us he’d geotagged the pothole’s location, something we’d never even considered. Our customers were clearly ahead of us.  It was also interesting to see how my general style and tone of voice has evolved since then (I’ve previously written a separate blog here on the new social media language we should all be using).

I’ve always been a trumpeter of how important evaluation is in completing the circle of comms planning and self-evaluation – and social media should be no different. With it being perhaps our most speedily-used, short, sharp tool, do we spend enough time reviewing things to ensure continuous improvement? If you’ve empowered others in your authority to post, are they being reflective too, or receiving advice from you?

There are many ways you can do this, but here’s three tools I use to monitor myself at the moment:

  1. www.allmytweets.net – have an enlightening trip down memory lane to look back at every tweet you’ve ever posted and see what you learn about yourself. Perhaps seeing them all together will help you realise you use a certain phrase too much, always seem to post long or short messages only, rarely start with a friendly greeting or simply how far you’ve come.
  2. http://timehop.com – this one works across various social media platforms and will send you a daily email of the posts you made exactly one year ago!  A fascinating look at ‘last year you’ to start your day.
  3. Try www.twittaquitta.com or www.twitquit.co.uk for a daily snapshot not just of who has started following you but, crucially, who and how many have UNfollowed you.  Now we know it’s not all about the numbers, but by tracking those who leave you each day, you’ll soon establish a baseline of what’s normal (and then you can try to improve it) and, if that number suddenly increases one day, you can look back on what you tweeted in the last 24 hours and ask yourself whether it somehow caused so many to jump ship.

Self-scrutiny isn’t easy, but such evaluation could prove to be your essential life raft, keeping you afloat in such a big pool, helping you to dive deeper and ensure your social media life goes swimmingly!

Jonathan Fitzgerald is a strategic communications officer at Linconshire County Council. He blogs here.