Getting Started, social media strategy

Summer Social Media Prep for Fall Engagement

6 Comments 25 July 2013


This time of year, it feels like everyone you want to do business with is on vacation, or about to go on vacation. However, this time of year is also a good time to step back and plan for a productive, engaging fall within your social media channels. Here are four social media actionable ideas and resources to try in the next month as you prep for strong social media engagement during the second half of 2013.

1. Spend some time with Google Analytics

This is a great time to compare this year’s metrics with last year’s, assess trends, look at the impact of social media activities on your website, and consider what content your website visitors love. I suggest looking at the following website metrics, using Google Analytics:

  • Most-viewed blog posts of the year
  • Most-viewed website pages
  • Top five referral sources and time spent on site from each source
  • Visits via social referral
  • Behavior flow (landing pages, starting pages, where they went from there)
  • Keyword searches

Use these information nuggets to develop ideas for content based on what your visitors are searching for, what content they view the most, and how they behave throughout the site. Look at referral sources, cultivate the ones that send you high-quality visitors. Think about why some social channels send more visitors to your site than others, what those visitors want to do when they are on your site, and how you can optimize their experiences while gently “nudging” them towards content you’d like them to view.

For a great overview of understanding Google Analytics, check out John Haydon‘s overview of 5 Google Analytics stats you should be tracking, along with Kissmetrics’ 50 Resources for Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics.

2. Develop a content calendar for the year

Once you understand what specific content your website, Facebook, and other social media fans enjoy consuming, turn that into an actionable content calendar. Content calendars can be as detailed or simple as you’d like. On the simple end: a client of mine keeps a paper checklist by her computer to remind her that each week her organization should produce a predetermined set of content, and checks them off as they are published.

Develop a content calendar in the summer, so that your organization can source or develop the content needed to support the content calendar throughout the year. Have a conversation now about setting time aside regularly to evaluate the success of your content calendar (and what success means), production realities, and calendar revisions.

There are a lot of great resources for developing calendars online, including the Lightbox Collaborative 2013 Editorial Calendar, Beth Kanter’s post on holding editorial content calendar meetings, 17 content templates and checklists (be prepared to be overwhelmed!), a sample editorial calendar I created, John Haydon’s downloadable Facebook content calendar, my own post on using content data to build community and Beth Kanter’s wonderfully named compilation of content calendars from around the web.

3. Tighten up your social media and web metrics spreadsheet

If your organization has been trying new things with social media this year, this is the time to revamp your old social media metrics spreadsheet and prep it to capture the metrics you want. However, it’s easy to get lost and over-measure. Keep the spreadsheet simple, and tie what you want to measure to goals (this also encourages SMART goal thinking). The best spreadsheets look at how much engagement you’re getting within your social media channels, the type of engagement, what content resonates with your audiences, and the actions they are taking.

Metrics spreadsheet resources abound! I would begin with Shonali Burke’s overview of steps to setting up your social metrics program, peruse Beth’s Tumblr blog of metrics spreadsheets and the SMART goal tracking worksheets I developed (note: two tabs at bottom), and consider how to make sense of your social media metrics from Beth Kanter.

4. Learn about data visualization

Data visualization, or presenting information visually, is a popular option for trying to get your message through the social media noise. It can be anything from a photo with a message, to a graphically presented statistic, to a map. I predict that there will be more demand for this type of content, and it makes sense to learn more about what you can create and produce yourself. Once you’ve become comfortable with a few styles of presenting data visually, data visualization might even become a piece of the yearly content calendar.

Resources: For a dataviz overview, check out 14 ways to present information graphically, data visualization tools and resources, Google’s new Think tools databoard for dataviz research, and no-sweat DIY infographics tools.


There are so many things one can do to prep for the autumn fundraising, event, and communications season. What will you be doing this summer to prep?




Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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