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10 Takeaways from Hootsuite's Courses

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Through the past few weeks, I've worked on completing both the Hootsuite Platform Certification and Social Marketing & Management Certification to gain an understanding of how public relations professionals create and maintain social media strategies. 

Below is a list of key points anyone working in social media should consider. 

1. Everything should be mobile-friendly. Most people access social media and even news on their phone, so everything should be concise and pleasing to the eye. Posts should capture the reader's attention within 20 seconds or they won't be deemed worth reading. 

2. Responding to both positive and negative comments is equally important. Organizations should reach out to all customers because public relations is about building relationships, according to a blog post by Walker Sands, a B2B marketing agency in Chicago, Illinois. 

3. People trust other customers' feedback more than they ever trust the organization's. Loyal customers help connect organizations to larger audiences and build other's trust with the brand. 

4.  An organization's social media posts shouldn't be all original/created content. Audiences want authenticity, and Gen Z is more sensitive to traditional marketing than previous generations, so it is important to share company values and gain their trust, which will help with promoting the organization. 

5. Posts should be tailored to the social media site, as audiences differ between the sites. An organization's target audience on Facebook may be different than it is on Twitter. 

6. A social media audit helps set a company on a good path for their marketing plan. Organizations should know where they stand with their audiences, which means research. 

7. Any numbers taken from a social media audit should be tailored to an organization's social media strategy. For example, collecting data on the number of likes or retweets a post gets can be a part of measuring an audience's level of engagement with the organization. Although it is important to know that likes and retweets don't necessarily hold a standard value. 

8. Ads are just one part of a social marketing strategy. Many assume a lot of marketing involves merely running sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter, but ads aren't what win people over — they only raise awareness about the organization or its strategy. Earned media is where most people get their engagement and acts as the "word of mouth" digitally, according to a post by Titan Growth, a media agency in San Diego, California.

9. Not all followers are created equal. Organizations want followers who align with their values because the like-minded followers are more likely to engage with the organization's posts. 

10. Pay attention to the community. Organizations should know what influencers are doing in their industry as well as how their competitors are doing. Taking note of what others do well can give inspiration for future posts and campaign choices for an organization, but they should be original ideas — not rehashed ideas. On Hootsuite, for example, streams are a good place to aggregate competitors' social media posts.