The novelty of Twitter and Facebook has worn off. There isn't the same buzz around these platforms there once was. Instead, they have become part of the fabric of the Internet. They exist as a part of the constant hum of communication that engages users and creates loyalty to a celebrity, a corporate brand, or—most importantly—a web community.
Most modern websites, like those on Wikia, are designed to engage users. The idea is to cause users to interact with the site, beyond reading it like the static text of a book. If a site is able to engage users weekly (or preferably daily) it can have the side effect of creating a sense of community, which in turn generates fierce loyalty and ‘net promoters’. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Promoter) Any experienced Wikia-contributor will tell you that creating fun and interesting content is not enough to make the leap from ‘website’ to ‘community’. That’s where social media comes in…
Establishing a direct dialog with visitors by responding personally to tweets and posting topical information to Facebook feeds creates a ‘personality’ for the wiki. Using colloquial speech and (non-offensive) humourous comments creates an emotional bond with readers. These connected readers will be more likely to share things the site has posted with their friends, and so on.
Tips for using social media:
- Diversify: Pick two or three social media platforms which are most relevant to your wiki topic (i.e. a wiki about photography would want to include Tumblr and Instagram). Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to use too many platforms, unless you are sure that you have the sufficient time to commit to it, which leads to the next point…
- Commitment: Be consistent about posting content. Daily is best. Facebook has a great feature that allows you to schedule posts in the future. If you know you have to be a way for a while, prepare a few posts in advance so readers don’t forget about you.
- Don’t Spam: Daily is best, but that doesn't mean you need to post content 10 times per day. In fact, some social media such as Facebook reacts poorly to too frequent posts. Twitter on the other hand is more tolerant for rapid-fire engagement.
- Stay Topical: Don’t post personal opinions or commentary on the latest international scandal, unless of course it is directly relevant to your wiki. Readers want the site to have a ‘personality’, but remember the personality is that of the community, not any one particular contributor. Consider signing each post with your name if you have many contributors who share personal opinions.
One final word on social media: paid advertising. Personally, I've had great success with using Facebook advertisements, with rates as low as $0.01 per ‘like’. This can allow you to quickly reach new audiences, bringing them first to your social media presence, and if you’re lucky, eventually over to your wiki. Before you go down this path, I suggest spending at least two or three months really developing your strategy and building a good deal of content. Nothing would be worse than paying for new visitors, who immediately leave when they arrive to a blank page.
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