Social media makes it easy for people to post news, discuss ideas, ask questions, and share links. Seen through the eyes of learning content development (LCD) teams, social media is a great way to make connections with the consumers of our learning videos and help topics. We can discover how well our content is working for our audience, discuss ideas to improve it, respond to questions, and boost information discovery by sharing links to new content. We even have the potential of expanding our sphere of influence and reaching a new audience.
So, when we were preparing to launch a new online help site, my LCD team embraced social media…and helped our customers make the shift from “content you find” to “content that finds you.”
Here’s what we did…and what we think you can do, too:
1. Choose an outlet
We chose Twitter to acclimate our social-media-savvy customers to our new help platform and learning content offerings. Through our Revit Help Twitter account, we pointed people to the content they needed, answered questions as they came up, and evangelized potentially unknown tips and tricks. With its compact messaging, Twitter worked well for us. Other microblogging outlets, such as Facebook, would also be suitable for communicating in short bursts with a user community.
2. Tune in
We began by tuning into the helpful tips that advanced users of Revit were posting on their blogs and in user forums. When posts revealed shortcomings in our online help content, we improved our help topics, and then pointed people to the new material through our Twitter account. When posts shared fun Revit-related news, ideas, and project results, we pointed our followers to the posts with tweets. When a new version of Revit was released, we began tweeting help topics for new features, while continuing to share our users’ content.
Using this blended approach, we were able to provide a variety of useful information to our customers, from entry level users to advanced users. And, as the Revit Help Twitter account grew, so did the traffic to our new online help site, as it was retweeted and shared through other social media.
3. Experiment, analyze, adjust
As our followers increased in number, we knew we could increase our impact by tweeting at different times to entice users in different time zones and with different work schedules. We experimented by scheduling tweets at different times of the day and week, including weekends, to maximize visibility. We used flexible social media management software to handle the scheduling, and found that both Sprout Social and HootSuite were good choices. Our experiments paid off. We found the optimal tweet times for our community, earned a big increase in followers, and reached a new audience: university students who were learning Revit on the weekends.
In addition to automated scheduling, social media management software gave us access to a solid set of analytics tools. In addition to seeing aggregated click-through and retweet rates, we were able to see user demographics, including gender, age, and geographical location.
4. Listen and learn
We regularly followed our hashtags, commented, and contributed to our users’ conversations. We learned that social media doesn’t just facilitate communication, it requires it for success. Contributing to customers’ conversations gave us an opportunity to better understand their needs and to identify opportunities to meet some of those needs with new or enhanced learning content.
5. Have fun
As technical communicators, we’re driven to help customers, so what could be better than helping them in a fast, collaborative environment? They learn from us, we learn from them, and (maybe best of all) they learn from each other:
For LCD teams, engaging with customers on social media can be powerful and satisfying. This also satisfies the needs of Revit users to connect with Autodesk.