Association Social Media: American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

social fish
social fish

I am SO excited to present the first post in an ongoing series of interviews of Association Social Media Managers.  In this series, you’ll be able to compare notes on what all of these fab organizations are doing with their social media management – from how they organize the roles and responsibilities, to how they manage content flow through the organization and out to social, to what campaigns they tried, to how they see the future of association social media.  Whoo hoo!


 Stephanie Yamkovenko, AOTA

First up – let’s all welcome Stephanie Yamkovenko, web editor at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).  

Hi Stephanie!  Thanks for being my very first respondent. You’re setting a high bar! 

1) First things first –  in what department in your organization does your role sit?  Who do you report to? 

As web editor, I work in the Communications Department. I report to the communications director.

2) Describe your social/digital “ecosystem” – what social media sites do you (or the org as a whole) manage? Are they interlinked in specific ways? How do you decide what content to post where? Do they have different audiences?

AOTA participates in a variety of social sites: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube. We also have a private social network for occupational therapy practitioners called OT Connections.

I lead a social media team and between the four of us we split moderating duties. My focus is on developing content for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Several of us contribute to Pinterest. Two team members focus on LinkedIn and OT Connections specifically. Currently we do not post to Youtube as often as the other sites.

We do not post the same content across all sites. If we do feature the same content, we try to modify it to be specifically tailored for that site. Personally I believe that the audience member can be the same across social media sites, but the way the audience wants to consume content on each site is different. For example, fictional AOTA member Jenny may prefer to look at photos on AOTA’s Facebook page but on Twitter she would rather find links to content from external sources that AOTA finds interesting. When Jenny goes to Pinterest, she wants to see AOTA pinning ideas from her colleagues for therapy activities. If we posted the same content in the same way on all of our networks, Jenny would probably only follow us on one social media site or just not engage with us very much.

3) Can you describe the internal collaboration workflow with other areas of the association (e.g. are you part of a team that meets on a regular basis)? How do you manage content flow? How do you manage monitoring and responding across the organization?

Our social media team meets monthly to analyze the monthly analytics report and to ensure that we’re meeting our strategic objectives. It’s also a time for us to brainstorm future campaigns or look back on what worked (or didn’t work) on social media in the past month. As a communications department we meet weekly—staff members from all divisions of the association are invited to attend or submit content ideas for us to discuss. Often times we’ll get great social media content ideas from these weekly meetings.

In terms of moderating our social media sites, we have a daily schedule for weekday monitoring that is split among three staff members and a weekend schedule split among four staff members. This ensures that no matter the day, time, or holiday someone is monitoring and engaging with our members on social media. This also allows those of us with moderating duties not to be tied to our phones 24/7.

4) Describe a typical day for you – and any favorite tools you use regularly for anything related to social media.

I start with Hootsuite. I log in and look at the (many!) streams on my dashboard to see what people are talking about. I check Twitter notifications to see any retweets, mentions, etc. that tend to fall through Hootsuite’s cracks. I use Feedly to follow and read blog posts from OT bloggers, health news from major news organizations, and other sites where I can typically find good and relevant information for our members. I also subscribe to several daily e-newsletters to find content. I bookmark any articles or content that I think could work for social media or for other AOTA publications that I work on (I currently use Delicious but I’ve started testing Pocket and like it much better).

I check out AOTA’s Facebook page and see how the post from yesterday evening is doing. We’ve started posting more in the evenings thanks to Facebook’s new insights that showed us our Facebook fans are not typically on Facebook during the day. I open up our Pinterest page and see how our pins are doing and sometimes spend a few minutes looking at pins from the people we follow. We don’t post too often on Instagram, but I try to check that at least once a day to see if there are any mentions or comments.

I hop between those sites throughout the day. When I know what content I’ll feature, I open up to design an image to post with it. Our Facebook posts with photos or links with custom-made large thumbnail images reach more people and spur more engagement than text-only updates or small square-sized thumbnail links. Twitter posts with photos get more retweets consistently. It’s worth the time it takes me to design a quick graphic.

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