Tips, Tricks & Diplo Hacks

What are useful tips and tricks on social media? We put the question to the participants at the #DiploCamp organized by the Dutch Foreign Ministry at the Permanent Mission in Brussels and here’s what they came up with:

  1. Avoid drafting posts by committee, simplify, and don’t over-complicate the message.
  2. Simplify the sign-off structure. Move from control to trust your social media manager.
  3. Don’t create a culture, where all posts need to be approved. Instead focus on getting an editorial line approved, so you can create content within the editorial line.
  4. Train the inner circle of political advisors, especially on how to take engaging pictures. No handshakes!
  5. Always do a background check on hashtags, so you don’t use a hashtag that is used with content you don’t want to be associated with.
  6. Consider using social media to ask for help and inspiration. It is a good way to start conversations.

Below are more specific tips for each social network. Feel free to add more tips in the comments below.

Instagram

Instagram is the fastest growing social network among governments and international organizations where they enjoy the best engagement. Especially Instagram Stories and the myriad of features are very useful to increase engagement.

  • Use Instagram Stories daily to stay top of mind of your followers.
  • Feature the Instagram Stories as highlights on top of the profile so that they have a longer shelf live.
  • Engage your audience with poll stickers
  • Use question stickers for occasional Insta Q&As and answer in video or in writing. The advantage of Instagram Q&As is that comments are not public, and you can choose which questions you want to answer and share with the community.
  • Hashtags are hit and miss on Instagram: sometimes posts will get very little engagement from hashtags, other times hashtags will drive the engagement. and you can use up to 30 hashtags for each post. The more you use them, the higher the potential reach. But only use relevant hashtags.
  • Post hashtags as a comment. They will have the same effect on discoverability and keep the description clean.
  • You can tag up to 20 other users in a picture or video and 10 users in an Instagram story. Tag influencers to nudge them about your post. By tagging them in Instagram Stories they can re-share the story on their own profiles giving your story a broader audience.
  • Some Instagram influencers use engagement pods to coordinate liking and commenting on each other’s to boost engagement on their posts. Think about coordinating commenting among your staff or like-minded organizations.
  • Accessibility you can now add an alternative description to your Instagram picture for the visually impaired. Simply click the edit button on the picture and Add Alt Text.
  • If your Instagram account is verified or has more than 10,000 followers, you can add custom links to your Instagram Stories inviting users to swipe up to read more.
  • Engagement tools – contact your Facebook rep

Twitter

Twitter, although not the largest social network, is the social network of choice for digital diplomacy where you find most world leaders, journalists and other influencers. Twitter is open and fully indexed by Google so make sure your profile is up to date and be visible on relevant conversations using hashtags.

  • Your avatar must stand out and your cover picture should be engaging.
  • Change the cover occasionally to promote campaigns or events.
  • Change the colour of your Twitter profile. Hint: St, Patrick’s day is coming soon…
  • Make sure you have a black & white version of both visuals in case of tragic events.
  • The Twitter name can be up to 50 characters long. Use this space to write your name in full and/or promote hashtags which will make you rank higher in Twitter search.
  • For the #DiploCamp @Luefkens and @Twiplomacy added #DiploCamp #Brussels in their Twitter names and both accounts surfaced as the top accounts to follow during the event. Even a Google search for DiploCamp threw up @Twiplomacy as the account to follow… It usually takes 24 hours for Twitter’s algorithm to index the Twitter name.
  • You have 160 characters for your Twitter bio. Use every single character and add as many hashtags relevant to the topics you tweet about.
  • There is no need to write “official account” if you have been verified by Twitter.
  • On personal accounts do not write “private account” if it is public. The tweets are only private if you protect your tweets, else they are visible and embeddable for everyone.
  • Open Direct Messages (DMs) to anyone! You will receive surprisingly few direct messages, and should you be inundated you can always close the mailbox. since Twitter has eliminated spam giving you time and reply when you do get messages. FYI Twitter’s founder @Jack Dorsey, has opened DMs to everyone, but he doesn’t read them.
  • Send occasional Direct Messages (DMs) to your most influential followers. Chances are they will like your tweet or even retweet it to their followers.
  • You can send one direct message to up to 50 users in a group. Please note this is highly spammy and you rarely get kudos for doing so.
  • Segment your followers by building private Twitter Lists including your most engaged followers.
  • You can tag up to 10 other tweeps in a picture and do so if you want to gently nudge someone and your tweet to reach a larger targeted audience.
  • Reuse your best content and occasionally retweet your best Tweets to increase their reach. The risk of your audience seeing the content twice is small.
  • Create Twitter threads with Tweets on the same topic or from an event. The Twitter ThreadReaderApp will help unroll the Tweets into longer easily readable posts.
  • Create Twitter Moments, a collection of your own or other users Tweets for specific events or topics. The Moments are highlighted on your Twitter profile and will give your Tweets a longer shelf life.
  • For the visually impaired add a description to all your pictures on Twitter improving accessibility.
  • For the hearing impaired add closed captions to all your videos on Twitter (see below).

Facebook

  • Posting in multiple languages on Facebook. Simply go into your Facebook settings and turn on multilingual posts to post multiple language versions of a publication.
  • Cross-posting videos allows you and another Facebook page to post videos on each other’s behalf. Cross-posting can only happen between Pages that have added each other. You control which videos are eligible to be cross-posted.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is often the forgotten social network but seems to garner lots of engagement. Every single one of the participants at the #DiploCamp had a profile on the platform.

  • Connect LinkedIn users at conferences or meetings by using the Find nearby function on the LinkedIn app. You will be surprised to see where everyone is.
  • Post updates regularly and write articles (blog posts) to stand out.
  • Upload videos natively to LinkedIn and add .srt closed captions (see below).

Videos

Videos uploaded natively to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn tend to garner better engagement than simply sharing the link to the video on YouTube.

  • Choose a powerful cover image. Don’t start or end the video with a black screen which will leave a black image once played on Twitter.
  • Don’t start the video with your logo. The first three seconds must be sticky and contagious
  • Caption and text on video is crucial, because people watch videos in silent mode.
  • If possible don’t use hard-coded captions but upload closed captions (.srt caption file) to your videos on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube after upload. The closed captions will improve its discoverability on search engines, help the hearing impaired and make the videos watchable in silent mode. You can generate and download the .srt file on YouTube and use them on the other platforms.

Geo-Location Services

Check your listings on geo-location services and make sure the information is up to date on Foursquare and Yelp. Twitter uses Foursquare locations and Instagram uses Yelp locations which users can add to their posts.

Useful Apps

Useful Tools

The Insta360° One X is a game changer. Besides shooting and editing high-resolution 360° videos for Facebook or YouTube you can easily edit and export videos in any format: horizontal, vertical, square or in 360° using the editing app of the camera on your mobile device.

Do you have any other tips to add? Please post them in the comments below.