8 Steps when collaborating on social media

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We did a presentation for Family Arts Campaign to their networks about collaborating on social media projects recently.  Here are a few of the points we made.

Finding partners to work collaborate with

We’re using the term partners in the widest sense. So start off with the obvious: media partners; client/suppliers, in house team members etc. Then extend the list by searching through people who are already following you. SimplyMeasured.com have a number of free reports that include a free analysis of your most influential twitter followers. Followerwonk.com will do cross over analysis of three different twitter accounts. Tools like these will help you find partners that already have a connection with you.

We also use keyword searches on Facebook and Twitter to identify new partners. Don’t just use followers as an indication of the best potential partners to collaborate with. Look at interaction, what they share, how often, comments and likes.

But also think outside the box. We showed an example of X Factor doing a social media partnership with Domino Pizza’s – ideal for those hungry friends watching Saturday Night TV together.

Use a social media plan when collaborating

If you’re going to be collaborating on a project it’s best to have a social media strategy in place to outline how your collaboration will work.  Social media is responsive, and needs to appear responsive but it’s always worth being organised, especially when partners are involved.

You need to consider what your collaborative partner wants to say on your channel. Does this fit with your organisations values? This should be considered before a partnership begins meaning all parties are clear on messages being put out into the public domain. This could be as simple as devising social media posts for the partner organisation to share, or giving them access to photos and videos you’re using. Alternatively, you could share social media plans so partner organisations know when you plan to post so they can align their posting with you.

Using tools to help collaborate on social media

The wonderful thing about the internet is that there are some great free tools to facilitate collaboration online. But the fact that many are paid for indicates how serious social media Management has become for companies. For simple sharing of to do lists to aide shared campaign planning, Basecamp is our favourite. There’s a free version to get you started. It’s simple to use but has enough facilities to make it useful. For sharing assets such as videos and photos we use DropBox mainly (we have a pro account). Twitter and Facebook have a number of tools built in that we use for working together on a campaign. Our favourite tools are Twitter Lists for organising the most important feeds so we can see at a glance tweets that are most important to us. Twitter Notifications are also essential to get alerts on our mobile to the most precious content we need to be aware of. Hootsuite Pro will allow us to manage multiple social media accounts with analytics and team assignment included. There are other tools out there for sharing content creation tasks and we looked at other social media management tools such as Post PlannerSprout Social, Rignite and Social Oomph which all come at a monthly cost.

Create engaging content

If you’re going to be engaging in each other’s content it needs to be credible, interesting and hopefully bring in new audiences for both of you. Your online content needs to be strong if you want other people to share it. Think about what content works well for you, will this work well for a partner organisation also? Can you help create new content for another organisation which will help push up your own organisations followers?

We found a great example of this: A travel blogger asked 30 travel experts; ‘If they had just one day in Paris, What would they do? He was given lots of different ideas which he them complied into one blog post. This created interesting content (which the blogger didn’t have to go to too much trouble to put together). He then has credible content on his blog that is of interest to his audience and new audiences, and those 30 travel experts have a reason to talk about him, promoting him and his blog to their social networks as he’s featured them on his blog.

Choosing channels to collaborate on

Companies need to be present where their customers spend their time online. Over the last five years, that has become significantly more challenging. There are probably about 10 social media platforms any marketer must know about at any one time and they change constantly. It’s why with our resources in the arts sector, if we can, we want to choose collaborators that complement the channels we’re already using. It might be a partner that already has a good presences on Instagram for example. We not might be in a position to create good enough content ourselves but occasionally might be able to create content that they may wish to push.

Share Each other’s Work

A really easy to way to collaborate is to post to your social networks on behalf of another organisation. It is something you should monitor closely, and be sure it’s only content that you think would be of interest to your followers, or in the theme of your organisation. If you can become a trusted online voice, and to be seen not to be shouting just about yourself then audiences will pay more attention to what you’re saying.

Create Events

By collaborating with another organisation you can create movements within social media that wouldn’t necessarily work if done alone. Here are two ideas that your organisation could set up relatively easily.

The first is a Twitter Chat.  Magazines such as Glamour or Cosmo regularly run a Twitter chat, newspapers, radio stations with hashtag #ask….. They then rely on fans to tweet them with comments or questions, which gives them great content for their radio show, magazine/news story but also means they gain a wide reach online.  You can arrange your partners to tweet questions, promote the Twitter chat and talk about the event on their channels. Your chat would reach so much further by asking all your partners to get involved.

The second idea is a Thunderclap. Thunderclap was a website that you sign up to if you have a particular message. Unfortunately, the site has now shut down, but if you’re looking to connect with other accounts, you could create your own manual Thunderclap. To do so, choose a strong, clear message; for example it could be to drum up support for a cause, campaign or project to raise awareness. Then select a day and time and let your coalition know exactly when you plan to tweet. On the time and day that you selected, schedule your tweet (and make sure everyone else schedules their tweet) to go out at the same moment, aiming to send a ripple effect across Twitter.

Measuring the effects of your collaboration

We liked e-consultancy.com’s metric crib sheet which included a list of metrics you might want to track on a campaign.

When collaborating, its really useful if all partners share any relevant statistics from previous campaigns that can be used as benchmarks. Then when appropriate, agree some weekly measurements that partners will find useful. Site’s like Sumall.com will gather a number of statistics and email them to you on a daily and weekly basis for you to forward on.

While Facebook already gives great Insights about your followers and posts, Twitter, at the moment does not. However paying a small fee to promote a tweet will unlock their statistic package for you.

Google Analytics include social media profiling and URL shortening sites like Bit.ly will help you track how many click throughs you get on your posts.


With the social media landscape changing so fast, the online locations where our audiences spend their time is multiplying. Their insatiable appetite for content is increasing and the time they spend online as they wake up, go to bed, commute, have dinner, take a bath is so huge that we can’t possibly fill these demands. With our own often very limited resources, it’s about being smart and collaborating with partners to meet those demands.