Last year I volunteered to work with another writer to help a local festival by running their Facebook page.
Neither of us had done this before, but the page was set up and we had some pics and we were both writers. So hey! What's to know?
Heaps as it turns out, and here's a summary of a few things I did and learned from the experience.
Speak when spoken to
Some people have still not cottoned that even though it's online, it's still a conversation. You need to keep up your end of it and answer every single post or message.
If you do not reply it's like walking right past someone you know who has just called out to you – cutting.
You have a bit more time than this online, but not much. If you will be away for a while – say so – it's much harder to explain silences afterwards, by that time no one's listening.
Keep it short
No one has time to read a rant. Use pictures and write something pithy and witty. If this is not your scene, engage someone who can do this to your specifications.
Always use original images or share them from businesses you are connected with. The festival page is now turning into an up-to-the-minute tourism site because we share local info.
Keep it sweet
There's a definite skill to managing the tone of your messages, and the media is full of situations where one written word has proved mightier than the PR department.
This is where thinking about how the reader might interpret what you say is your best guide. Think it over. Say it out loud. And run it past someone else if you are not sure.
Use the delete button
You will receive annoying messages and posts from time to time. We got one from a neighbouring festival seeking stallholders. Hmm.
Had to consult an under 25 expert for that one. Following his advice we politely contacted her, asked her to ask us before posting on our page and press the delete button. It's your page – manage it.
Make it fun
Not every post has to be upbeat, super positive and hyped up or you will end up sounding like a try-hard newbie, but imagine you are talking to someone you know and wanting to share.
Use short sentences and tell people what you are excited about in your own words. Including them and keep a sense of (appropriate) humor. Avoid the word 'awesome' if at all possible – that's a personal peeve!