Social Media Workshop Recap

By Katie Hogue

Bloomington, Ind. — On Wednesday, October 29th, Thom Atkinson came to speak to PRSSA about how to use social media to represent an organization or client, and how to use analytics to determine how to utilize social media more effectively.

Atkinson is the senior social media strategist at IU Communications. He manages Bloomington campus-wide and university-wide social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+. He describes his job as simply as, “We share awesome stuff with awesome people. It’s awesome.”

Atkinson presents to IU PRSSA.
Atkinson presents to IU PRSSA. Picture by Tori Lawhorn.

At the workshop, Atkinson explained that students need to understand how to use social media before they can dive into analytics. A few things that are necessary to do first are:

  1. Develop strategies to use
    Different networks have different cultures and uses. For example, Pinterest is mostly dominated by young professional women, as opposed to Twitter, which is more important for real time engagement with more equal amounts of men and women. Content is valued differently depending on the network, and strategies have to be developed differently for different platforms.
  1. Know the audience
    You need to know what they expect to get out of their relationship with you. That is the most important thing for effectiveness. Your audience will disengage if you don’t understand what they want and tailor your content to their interests.
  1. Understand the rules
    Understanding the terms of agreement for each platform, the rules of your organization, and laws in general are key. Normal people break the rules and it’s no big deal, however when you represent a client there is a difference. For example, passing around memes from movies is fine privately, but it could become a huge issue for corporations that are scrutinized much more closely.
  1. Manage negative comments
    Responding goes a long way towards disarming negative comments. In cases where a lot of people will be upset, it is helpful to be prepared with facts, preferably in advance.
PRSSA members listen to Atkinson's experiences about handling IU Bloomington's social media accounts.
PRSSA members listen to Atkinson’s experiences about handling IU Bloomington’s social media accounts. Picture by Tori Lawhorn.

After learning how to use social media, analytics can help determine what you’re doing right, and how to make it better and increase positive engagement.

The most helpful personal tool is a social media editorial calendar. This is so that you can manage what you need to do for different events. When making a calendar, you usually start with holidays and then put in other events from there.

Facebook insights shows you data about when your audience is on Facebook. You can see the most active time of day, day of week, etc. In general, the half-life of a post on Facebook is 6-8 hours and this is when it will see the most engagement. Users on this platform should only post once a day, otherwise, you start to fight against your own content.

Twitter is much more time sensitive and interactive than Facebook. The half-life of a tweet is about an hour. You can post multiple pieces of content a day, and you can post the same content multiple times a day as long as it is slightly reworked.

The analytics are harder to find for Twitter, but can be viewed at Anyone can look at their data. Hootsuite can also be used to schedule tweets and lets you manage multiple accounts. You can also use it to track other people’s posts that mention keywords.

Word to the wise: As of right now, Atkinson says we should only have one social media identity instead of dividing it up into professional and personal. Nothing can ever be private and it is important to show a good face to the world.

It is important to be yourself in your personal social media, but be the best self you could possibly be,” says Atkinson.


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