Just finished HootSuite’s certification program!
For those of you who don’t know about HootSuite’s Certification program, here’s a bit more information about it. The program is broken into three parts HootSuite 100 (the basics), 200 (getting more out of HootSuite), and 300 (Advanced Tactics). Each part is a compilation of videos lasting which provide step by step instructions on how to get the most out of the social CRM. Each section is then followed by a 20 question quiz.
The videos and support from HootSuite via their HootSuite_U make this an invaluable tool for all social media managers.
For more information on the program and to get yourself signed up, visit, HootSuite University.
Facebook is an enigma, or is it? From personal experience I can tell you that it’s hard to get a network who is not as engaged on social media, to get engaged. Working with teachers and administrators in public schools means that there are some internet restrictions that you have to deal with, and because of those restrictions you can be somewhat limited in the amount of people who will interact with your content. This can be frustrating, but can also be liberating.
When you’re forced to deal with a limited audience, you have to be creative about reaching the one that you have. At my organization, we’ve had to look seriously at our numbers and statistics on Facebook to see how to best engage our available audience and adjust the content we’re putting out there.
Here’s some tips to help you figure out the type of content you should be posting.
1. Look at peer organizations and see what type of content they’re posting on their pages.
“But isn’t this cheating?” you may be asking yourself? No, it’s not. You need to see what your demographic is responding to and see if there is a way to get your audience to respond similarly.
2. Experiment with different content.
Post lots of different content and see what gets a response. Are you posting pictures that people like? Post more pictures. Do people like articles that you post which are relevant to your organization? Post more articles. The only way to see which articles hit is to experiment
3. Ask your audience what they’s like to see more of.
This is a simple tactic, poll your most active users and see what type of content they would like to see more of. Is it pictures? News stories? Resources? Once you know you can post that type of content to increase engagement.
4. Post region specific content.
The way my organization is set up, we break up our network by regions. If you post specific stories and pictures celebrating each region, you may see an uptick in interactions by people in the specific region you’re posting content about.
5. Always ask open ended questions or ask specifically for people to share and/or post feedback.
If you post statements on your page, no one is going to be able to interact with it. You need to post open ended questions so people can post answers. You can also implicitly ask people for to share the content with their networks or say “let us know what you think” so that people are more apt to respond.
Overall you need to experiment with different content to see which of your content resonates with your audience. If you’re dealing with a non-responsive audience, just be sure to keep at. The worst thing you can do is give up.
There still seems to be a debate raging on whether or not you should be buying followers for Twitter. The short answer is no. Don’t buy followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook.
But, but, isn’t your social media worth based on how many followers you have? No, your social media worth is based on the quality of your followers, not the quantity. Most of the followers that you’re buying are not real followers, they’re junk accounts that these companies create that just sit there. These new followers are not engaging with your content. You are better off creating a thousand fake accounts yourself and having them follow your account, rather than paying someone to do it for you.
The purpose of Facebook and Twitter is engaging with your followers and your community. If you’re not using your social media accounts to engage with customers on a personal level and trying to get them to be your brand advocates, then you should probably stop posting content on your social media channels.
So if you’re thinking about buying followers for yourself, just remember that you’re buying dead accounts that don’t engage back, and thus defeating the purpose of your social media efforts.
Everyone is always looking for their video to become a viral sensation. But chances are, you’re video will not become viral. The beauty of viral videos is that you can never predict what is going to be a success. Let me tell you with a tale of dreams of a viral video never gone viral.
In planning for my organization’s annual conference, we worked with several consultants, one of these consultants had the idea to make a video about our conference try to go viral. The main problem with this is that they were manufacturing a video to a specific audience to go viral. Here’s the video.
Now that you’ve had a chance to watch it, it’s fun right? Of course it is, but the main problem with it is that it was targeted towards our audience about our conference. The fun thing about a viral video is that it probably isn’t targeted towards anyone specific. It just is. Sometimes it will be an interesting wedding proposal, a kid coming down from a dental surgery, or a cute animal doing something adorable.
Viral videos are the luck of the draw, there’s never a guarantee that it will hit, if you like making videos, then keep making them and posting them to YouTube, but do it because you enjoy it, not because you want it to go viral.
Now I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite viral videos.
Please note that “Chow Down” may not be suitable for work because of some mature content.
In the effort of full disclosure, I am a member of the NYC improv community, and while I am not friends with Matt, I know him. I will keep my thoughts on this case to my other blog, this blogs is solely about lessons you can learn from mistakes that Progressive made.
Recently NYC comedian Matt Fisher wrote a blog post on the tragic death of his sister and the lengths Progressive Insurance went to avoid paying his sister’s claim. The blog post went viral eliciting a very visceral reaction on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Progressive responded, kind-of.
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with negativity on social media, is to respond honestly, personally, and calmly. Instead they responded with a non-response. They ignored the response until the original post had approximately 8,000 reblogs. Their twitter team also made a crucial misstep, they replied to several tweets demanding an explanation with a canned response.
The correct response would be to reach out to Matt and his family directly and try to resolve the issue privately. Instead they responded with a non-response which is just as damaging as not responding at all. One of the bad things about social media is that if you don’t respond correctly, people will latch on to that and fan the flames even more, sharing their thoughts and reblogging things even more. The original post now boasts over 10,000 shares on Tumblr, and many thousands more on Facebook and Twitter.
What could have been settled quietly and privately has now exploded into a media firestorm with the story being picked up by the aforementioned Mashable, Huffington Post, The Daily Mail (UK), CNBC, and CNN among others. Now Progressive is facing a PR crisis caused by lack of proper response on social media channels.
Let this be a lesson to all you would be social media professionals out there. Remember the purpose of social media is to connect with your customers and complainers. As a brand you have the opportunity to be more open with people who have used and been affected by your product or service. Don’t sweep problems under the rug, or issue canned responses. People want to know they’re being heard, even if there’s nothing you can do about it right now. A personal touch could have saved Progressive from one of the biggest blunders in social media history.
Recently in a blog on the Huffington Post, Ashley Oerman shared a cautionary tale about getting fired from a job at an overseas summer camp because of photos that she posted of her 21st birthday on Facebook.
I cannot say I sympathize with Ms. Oerman’s tale of woe. The main reason? When posting things on social media, you have to use your common sense. In the article, Oerman says she was friends with staff members of her camp, and those “friends” were her ultimate undoing. I understand that when you’re young you want to build up those relationships with your co-workers, but if you do add those co-workers, you need to think about the content your posting on your social profiles. I have a strict rule that I do not friend current co-workers on Facebook. In addition to not befriending co-workers, I try to post content that if I would not be ashamed of a co-worker seeing. Let us not forget that the camp Oerman was working at had specific rules about drinking, which she, thinking she was above established rules, broke, and ended up paying the price, and taking down a co-worker with her.
So let Ms. Oerman’s missteps be a warning to everyone out there who posts to your social networks without discretion. Whenever you post something online, you have to remember that social media are social, your updates on Twitter can get retweeted, your photos and status updates on Facebook can be shared by others. A good rule of thumb when posting things is to ask yourself “Would my grandmother be embarrassed by what I’m posting?”
Use a touch of common sense, because it could cost you your dream job.
Try as you might, you just can’t seem to get your target audience to engage. What now? Working in the education sector, and a niche section of the education sector at that, it can sometimes be hard to connect to your target audience via social networks or email. So what now?
A few things I have tried that have increased engagement on Twitter and Facebook that seem to work.
Change Your Approach
Check to see how your tone is on your networks. Are you serious? Are you light-hearted? Which tone gets more comments, likes, and shares? Stick with a tone that people respond to.
What types of posts are people sharing and commenting on? Look at your Facebook Analytics to see which types of post got the most response. Do more of those posts, remember people love pictures!
For Twitter, what kinds of tweets are getting retweeted do more of those tweets!
Go Beyond Your Target Network
Your demographic not responding? Are they the right demographic for your message? Expand your reach and engage like minded or complementary organizations and followers.
One trick we’ve used is sharing and liking posts of organizations which may not be doing the same kind of work we are, but who’s work compliments ours. Comment on these groups posts on Facebook, share a cool project they’re doing via Twitter. Build the relationship by sharing, and maybe they’ll do the same for you!
Get Out There In-Person
Because of the way my organization is structured, my team rarely comes face-to-face with our network. But we do have ambassadors whom we know will help us push our message out to the network. We also have a conference every year with members of our network. Our conference is a perfect place to network in-person, old school style!
Tell people about you, and your brand, be sure your organization has their social media information on their business cards. Never underestimate the power of a face-to-face interaction.
First off, I would like to welcome you all to my blog, and I’ll start by telling you a little bit about my background and experience in social media.
After graduating from Oregon State University in 2005, I toiled around in Oregon before moving to New York City in August of 2006, since then I have staked my claim in the world of nonprofits. First in a fundraising role, and now in communications role. I noticed that in my first position at a prominent cancer organization, that the organization had no social media presence. For a disease like cancer, which affects so many people every year, I was confused as to why my organization had not set up a forum where people to connect and talk to each other about their experiences. So I had an idea, seeing the power that having a stronger online presence had increased our donations in my department, the Communications Manager, and I worked together to put a social media plan into action.
At first it was just a few fans, and followers, then as we started to promote it more, we both noticed that the Facebook page was gathering fans at a staggering amount. The page allowed people to connect with each other on a very personal level, sharing stories of hope and survival. The page is now thriving with the nearly 20,000 fans, and all from a simple idea.
Now, I work in the communications department of a non-profit which focuses on preparing low income students for college and careers. We have our work cut out for us in terms of growing our social presence since our network is not as engaged as those at my previous job, but there is still a path to success.
I have also worked as a freelance Public Relations consultant helping actors and comedians promote their work to audiences in both Los Angeles and New York City through traditional means such as press releases as well as through social channels like Facebook and Twitter. I hope that I will be able to share what I have learned in growing social networks for nonprofits and arts professionals and turn that into success for your non-profit’s or brand’s fan page.