UMA’s new Social Media Tool Kit is not only free, but can help your business in two ways.
First, using the hashtag #RestartTheBus, the kit provides an arsenal of posting ideas to call on legislators for economic assistance for our industry. This campaign is especially important with the introduction this week of the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act (CERTS Act), which will require industry advocacy to get passed.
And secondly, this toolbox has art, ideas and how-to information for any operator interested in upping their social media game, whether you’re a pro or need help getting started.
“It’s something we can all be doing now, even if you’re not a fan personally of social media,” said UMA CEO Larry Killingsworth. “We can use it as a lobbying tool to advocate for our positions.”
A recent Flash Survey shows that many feel they could use some help with their company’s social media efforts — with 56% indicating their online presence needs work and 20% saying they need help getting started.
The kit was developed by Samantha Kimball from Kimball Hughes Public Relations, a Philadelphia-area firm that works with associations, and developed a toolkit for the Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association.
At the UMA Town Hall session on June 25, Kimball gave an overview of the UMA Social Media Kit and how to make the most use of it.
She suggests beginning with three first steps: Designate a social media manager who can take ownership. Take inventory of social media profiles in the name of your business. And clean up these profiles, so the images and text describing the business are up-to-date.
For the lobbying campaign, use the #RestartTheBus hashtag to show support. Update your personal profile photo to the Facebook photo frame with the hashtag. And finally, connect with other members by liking their business pages and following them on their social media.
“It really helps add to the volume; we kind of want it to be hard to ignore right here,” Kimball explained. “Posting isn’t enough; we want to engage.”
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Messages should be short. Twitter, for example, has a limit of 280 characters. When asking people to take an action, include a URL that links to additional information. Kimball recommends using hashtags when possible.
“They’re not window dressing, they’re actually search tools that make your posts easier to find. If we were to click on this UMA hashtag, we’d see all posts on Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn,” she said.
The toolkit has templates for three categories of messages. It begins with sharing the industry’s story, then sharing the story of your COVID-19 experience and, lastly, a request for action. Be sure to tag your congressional representatives who are supporting the UMA legislation, thanking them for their support.
“We want to create kind of a critical mass where we can’t be ignored,” Kimball said.
When deciding what to share, whether photos, videos or news articles, think about what content might resonate with your audience. Also consider timing. Kimball recommends putting content on Facebook in mid-afternoon and Instagram during lunch, when people are scrolling their phones.
The toolkit is geared to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Facebook is the best avenue to reach a primarily consumer audience, while Twitter is better suited for the business community.
Kimball recommends keeping the Restart the Bus campaign going and then transitioning into your own marketing.
One example of how to do that is Trobec’s Bus Service, which uses social media to highlight its drivers.
“Showing who your employees are can be really powerful,” Kimball said, adding that it is important to have their permission and their buy-in. “This is also something that you can continue doing, which is why I love this driver spotlight. It’s about the people behind the business who you know your customers are going to connect with.”