EIT Food recognises the benefits of communication through social media and supports communicating about EIT Food’s work as widely as possible. It is important to ensure this is done with one voice and in a coordinated way.
If you’re considering setting up a social media channel, go to: Should I create a new EIT Food social media channel?
It’s worth noting that at present we do not advise that Functional Area colleagues create a new EIT Food social media channel and that if you’re an EIT Food partner it isn’t appropriate to use a social media channel to speak on behalf of the EIT Food brand.
If you’re looking to create a closed group as a forum for discussion such as for groups of students, alumni or partners, we recommend using the EIT Food community platform FoodHIVE.
If you have everything in place and a clear requirement to create a new social media channel, read on for some recommendations on what steps to take before beginning your activity.
The popularity and changing algorithms of social media channels have made it increasingly difficult to get content seen and to have an impact. There are many components to creating a long-term social media strategy to ensure you make the most of your social media and have the best impact. This guide should help you get started.
“Without strategy, content is just stuff, and the world has enough stuff.” - Arjun Basu
- Set your objectives
- Gather analysis and insight
- Define your target audiences
- Choose the channel(s)
- Create a calendar
Set your objectives
At the core, all objectives should fundamentally support EIT Food’s mission: to make the food system more sustainable, healthy, and trusted.
Objectives should be supported by measurable results, or ‘KPIs’, that can be included in your performance reports. Below is a table showing what you might like to measure.
Gather analysis and insight
Your social media strategy should use data analysis and insight to build it. To start with you could monitor similar organisations on social media to see how their activity is run, for example:
Use free social media channel insights. They can provide you with the tools to interpret your own existing data and performance.
Use social listening. This is the monitoring of online conversations about EIT Food or related keywords, topics or competitors to see how to pitch your own social media content.
Some social listening tools are:
Define your target audiences
All your social media communications should be created with a specific audience in mind, the more specific the better. If you aim to speak to everyone, you will reach no-one. To create your audience personas, ask the following questions:
What role do they play?
What are their interests?
What are their behaviours?
What social media channels do they use? And what other media would they consume?
What food-related health, sustainability, or transparency challenges concern them?
What is their age range?
What is their location?
What is their education level?
What other brands would they ordinarily interact with?
Research which networks your target audience uses before creating a new channel.
The core communications team has established a set of target audiences for the core EIT Food social media channels. You may want to consider adapting these for your own audiences.
Choose the channel(s)
Each social media network is different and will suit a different tone, frequency of posting, type of content and audience. Your objectives, target audience and the type of content you intend to create should determine what social media channels you choose. The best advice here is to start small and not spread efforts too thinly across too many channels.
At EIT Food, we recommend starting with either a Twitter or Facebook account.
The most popular networks are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram:
This is by far the largest network, with over 2 billion monthly active users. This provides large reach, but a lot of competition. The highest percentage of users are between 18-49 years old although Facebook is used by all ages. Users tend to have lower salaries than Twitter and LinkedIn users.
Facebook is a good platform for advertising, relationship-building and showing the human side of your work. Many different content types are appropriate for Facebook, but the key is content that shows a different side of EIT Food.
The most convenient way to promote your work on Facebook is via a Facebook page which allows you to post pictures, videos, event invitations, reports, polls as well as links. Fans can like or follow your page.
People expect less frequent posts from pages on Facebook than Twitter. Login at least once per day to check on the page and monitor likes, tags and comments; posting content 1-3 times each week is reasonable.
Check out EIT Food’s Facebook page to see what content we share and get a feel for how we communicate on this channel.
At the time of writing, Twitter has 317 million monthly active users. The highest percentage of users are between 18-49 years old, they are mainly urban, hold a degree and earn high salaries.
This is the go-to-network if you’re looking for immediacy, breaking news, announcements, important messages, live-tweeting at events. Users check Twitter to get their news, find deals, reviews and ideas. This channel is especially popular amongst the so called “Brussels-Bubble” of EU policy wonks.
On Twitter you can tweet up to 280 characters including links (a URL is always altered to 23 characters). You can attach images, videos, photos and quote someone else’s tweet.
Tweets with videos and images are more likely to be retweeted than text-only tweets.
Two of the key elements of Twitter is the use of hashtags and the ability to tag other users in your tweets. Hashtags allow users to join a greater conversation, so including one or two relevant hashtags in your tweets will put your tweet in front of more than just your followers.
Tagging other accounts in your tweet gives them credit for the material and alerts them to the fact that they have been mentioned, which may prompt them to retweet or comment on your tweet.
Twitter is a useful tool for live participation during events. For guidance on how this works, read: How to live-Tweet at events.
On Twitter, users expect frequent updates and engagement (3-5 posts/day). Social media account managers should have enough content to post on a daily basis and should login every day to check mentions and direct messages.
Follow @EITFood to see what content we share and get a feel for how we communicate on this platform and read more about how EIT Food uses its core social media channels: Go to: What is social media and how does EIT Food use it?
At the time of writing, LinkedIn has 106 million monthly active users. The highest percentage of users are between 30-49 years old, they are mainly urban, hold a degree and earn high salaries.
LinkedIn is a networking site for professionals, it can be used for groups and has established networks on specific topics. It is the most popular social media network with Fortune 500 CEOs. It works best for B2B communications.
LinkedIn best practice is one company page with showcase pages to spotlight individual business units or initiatives. We therefore do not recommend multiple EIT Food company pagesPages and would suggest exploring showcase pages or consider creating a group on FoodHIVE.
At the time of writing, Instagram has 800 million monthly active users. It is a key network for younger audiences.
Instagram is a visual content network that is highly competitive in terms of quality content. It is all about the images, so it would not be the right choice if most of what you create is long-form textual content like articles, reports or whitepapers or if you are limited to stock images or low quality photos.
Instagram has a clear focus on quality over quantity and it is important to dedicate time to creating impactful visuals and to have a solid content strategy in place.
Like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags and tags. Tagging your photos or using hashtags means that your photos will reach more people. Tagging the location where the photo was taken gives some context to the image.
Instagram stories are special photos and videos that are seen by followers for just 24 hours. They appear at the top of the Instagram feed. You can now highlight these so they remain on your profile.
It is not possible to include links in Instagram posts. If your goal is to drive traffic to a specific website, you should include the link in the Instagram Bio.
Instagram channels should have enough content to post at least a few times each week. Social Media Managers should login each day to like and comment on users’ photos, and monitor comments and tags.
Check out EIT Food’s FoodUnfolded Instagram to see what content we share and get a feel for how we communicate on this network. This is the only EIT Food Instagram channel.
At present, we don’t recommend creating an EIT Food-branded Instagram account due to the nature of a large proportion of EIT Food’s projects, innovations and research, which can be hard to visualise without big budgets.
We recommend only using one language per social media account. Mixing languages can dilute your searchability and negatively impact reaching your target audience.
EIT Food’s official language is British English, but we encourage you to speak to your target audience in their native language. Social media is an essential business tool for building relationships with your target audience and the best way to do this is to communicate in their language.
We recommend that the person creating content has an excellent grasp of the native language.
Feel free to translate EIT Food’s content and repost it on your channels in your selected language, but please also create relevant and interesting content specifically for your audience.
It is important to identify the social and cultural aspects of the target audience you wish to address as this will vary according to each country and language. More than just translating posts, your content needs to have cultural specificity.
Create a calendar
Whether you are building a regional social media campaign or long term strategy, it’s recommended to plan content in advance by creating an editorial calendar. More about this here: What is the EIT Food content calendar?
You can use the core communications team’s editorial calendar as a starting point and template for your own one.
This article was last reviewed in January 2021 and will be reviewed again in May 2021. If you have feedback on this article, do let us know. You can drop us a note via our contact form.