Managing social media accounts can be a challenge, especially when you are addressing a large, international audience. From knowing what to post to writing understandable texts, it’s not always an easy job. The InterNations Social Media Team manages over a million people across five social media channels. They share their top six pieces of advice to help you approach your social media tasks with confidence!
1. Be aware that your audience has different perspectives
Even if you find an article that you think is entertaining, insightful, and informative, there will be someone out there who completely disagrees with you! Always consider how your planned content could be interpreted by people from different social, political or religious backgrounds; what you might think is ‘light-hearted banter’ could be offensive to someone from a different culture. Do not, however, overthink everything you post. It’s also okay to take risks and see how certain content turns out — you might be surprised!
2. Match the content to the social network
Remember that different social media platforms have completely different user bases. While ‘The Best Beer in the World’ might perform exceptionally well on Twitter where you’re likely to have a broad audience with a wide range of interests, this kind of content would totally flop on LinkedIn. That said, some content, such as articles about working abroad, is likely to be popular across most social media platforms! You’ll also need to adapt your style to the channel; while your short, snappy sentence might be perfect for Twitter, it’s not going to impress your followers on LinkedIn. Vary posts across your platforms and bear in mind what type of language and tone is appropriate for that channel’s user base.
3. Write texts that are easily understandable (i.e. not filled with slang or idioms)
It’s always a good idea to ask a non-native English speaker to read texts and captions you’re unsure about — or even a native-English speaker from a different country, you might be surprised at just how different British and American English are! Our international office is still arguing over whether sliding down a hill in winter is “sledding” (American) or “sledging” (British). While slang, jokes, and colloquialisms might make sense to you, not everyone will understand them, and some people might even take offense at the language used. Try to keep your sentences short, and to use basic, but interesting and varied language when writing posts.
4. Share a variety of content — don’t focus too heavily on a particular topic
While you might love reading about the best burger spots in the world, not everyone is going to take an interest in the same thing! As a general rule, never post an article about the same topic in one week. For example, we would avoid posting two articles about ‘language learning’ or ‘moving your family abroad’ in the same week because they aren’t relevant for our entire audience. Again, your perspective and priorities will change depending on the channel. While you might only post to Facebook once or twice a day, tweets should be a lot more regular as Twitter is particularly fast-paced and ever-changing. Therefore, posting two articles focusing on the same topic (but perhaps offering a different perspective) in the same week could work well on Twitter! It’s a case of trial and error: try posting articles about different topics with different perspectives, and keep an eye on what performs well on which platform. The bigger the audience, the more trouble you may have finding content that is relevant to everyone, but as long as you post a healthy assortment, your followers should still enjoy your account!
5. Always check your work (one misspelled word or incorrect link can ruin a post)
Proofreading your own posts really isn’t enough! If your mind is certain you wrote ‘Prague’, you’re never going to see that you actually wrote ‘Prage’. Always get a colleague or friend to check before you post,
and make sure you have spell-check turned on in your browser. Also, test whether your links work and lead to the page you’re expecting them to — your followers don’t want to see an article about global banking if they were expecting to be taught about the best cocktails in the world! Finally, double check you’ve actually copied and pasted the link — it’s very easy to write a text, maybe insert an image, and forget to add the URL that your caption describes. Scheduling posts in advance and re-checking them before they go out is highly recommended!
6. Be open to criticism, but don’t let it control you
Sometimes people offer constructive feedback on a post, but you can’t let fear of negative feedback stop you from posting something remotely controversial. There will always be someone who disagrees with you — that’s what makes the world a great place! Expect to see a few vocal profiles offering their thoughts about the data used, or the perspective of the article you posted. Remember, they’re entitled to express themselves, and their opinions are valid! Negative comments shouldn’t stop you posting content about the same topic or from the same source in the future, but perhaps double check that the author or journalist has their facts straight and is presenting their argument in a structured and balanced way. Make sure you read and remember the positive comments on your post too, and don’t forget all those people who have liked or shared the article. It’s easy to let negativity consume you, but it’s not worth it!