How are you using social media?

Heritage Creative have launched a series of white papers Heritage Briefings aimed at digital marketers in the culture and heritage sector. Each takes a deep dive into an aspect of Digital with the first about Social Media. Below are some edited highlights but to read the full briefing and get future editions in your in-tray – why not sign up now? 

With COVID-19 meaning most cultural organisations having to keep their doors closed, chances are you’re dashing to put more resource into Social Media. But before you do, maybe now is a good time to review your approach?

Do you know who you want to be?

Should you use emojis? How about acronyms like LOL? Navigating the more informal world of social platforms as a respected (and respectful) heritage brand isn’t always easy. You don’t want to come across as a bit dull and fusty, but you probably shouldn’t be chasing the latest memes about cats either. How do you find the right balance?

It’s important to put time into working through what makes your organisation what it is. What’s its heart and soul? What’s its mission? And, how will the unique things about your organisation and its people play out on social platforms? A great idea is to have a simple set of social media brand statements to provide guidance. This is particularly crucial if you have more than one person working on social media.

Often people tend to ‘find their voice’ once they’ve been using a platform a while. It’s an organic process and without question there’s a need for the real person to come across. But have the foundation of some basic principles in place. The web abounds with stories of ill conceived things said in haste on social channels. Once said, they can’t be taken back.

The buzzword tends to be authenticity. It’s the key to bringing those brand statements to life. The way to achieve it is to really get to know your organisation. It’s then your job to translate all that understanding and context into real conversations and relevant content on social media.

Do you know who you are talking to?

Social media lets you speak to almost everyone. This can be a huge opportunity. But it can also be distracting. You’re far better off focussing on the right types of audience if you’re looking for measurable success. It will also make the content that you create far stronger.

It really helps to have a person in mind when you’re creating any type of content. That applies to social media too. The more time you spend on this, the better it will be. This is often called persona development.

Personas are fictional representations of your ideal visitors or followers. They’re informed by data – typically demographics, income level, interests, likes and dislikes. Personas paint a picture of the individuals you’re trying to connect with – and for content creators they are invaluable.

How to find this data when you’re getting started? There are lots of ways, but your social media platforms are particularly handy. The level of analytics available in Facebook these days is exceptional. Your website is another obvious source – Google analytics provides demographic data for example.

And of course, you could also ask them. A well designed survey will reap lots of useful insights to help you shape your approach to social media.

Do you know why you’re doing it?

Nearly half of businesses in a recent Buffer survey didn’t have a written social media strategy. Is yours one of them? There’s no point putting resource into anything unless you know what success looks like. And if you’re planning to increase your use of social media, it’s an ideal time to review and adjust if need be. The more you can tie these metrics down the better. The trick is to step back and think about the wider objectives of your organisation and then see how they can be applied to social media.

Vanity metrics like numbers of followers and likes are easy enough to track, but are they really worth anything? It’s usually better to focus on metrics like engagement, click-throughs to your website and conversion rates like sign-ups for your newsletter. More sophisticated analysis attempts to map these customer journeys and follow customers as they proceed along it.

It’s supposed to be social, right?

At its best, social media is about community. Your followers can be a great source of content ideas and new followers. Creating a sense of being part of something is exceptionally important for success. Invest time in responding to comments, asking questions, being present. To a degree you need to think of that Twitter feed or Facebook page as the users’ channel – not yours.

There’s huge opportunity for the sector to work together – particularly now. Reach out to your counterparts – agree to repost and reshare each other’s content. This is a great way to keep your channel busy with new content and expose what you do to a wider audience. How about linking up with similar organisations to create social media campaigns that you all participate in?

Heritage Creative’s new series of Heritage Briefings is free, sign up today at

Read the full social media white paper at