On Tuesday, January 17, I will be giving a Social Media primer to the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals at their annual conference in Stamford, CT. This blog post is meant to serve as a sort of online syllabus for the group (and hopefully beyond). Therefore the terms, timing and examples are all specific to the day.
I encourage you to go through the slides in advance, view some of the videos and visit the links enclosed below. While we will only have three hours together in person, Causil and I are always available to help your organization do what you do better through our consulting services. One other note about this post: I am adding and editing as I go up until Monday night, so please return as new links, videos and presentations will be posted from time to time.
Feel free to email me anytime email@example.com, give me a call (301) 328-1548 or take me for lunch sometime.
Social Media 101
Social media developed as part of the general evolution of the internet. First came Web 1.0, a place for companies, organizations and individuals placed an online version of their flyers. This was a one way communications world – users could read, view and hear, but in general that was very little interaction.
Web 2.0, what is generally viewed as the online ecosystem of today’s world, is an interactive, instant, emotional ecosystem. It is this web that has changed EVERYTHING. Infinitely cheaper to operate in, simpler to create and manage, and a true two way communications environment. This web is all about relationships; we call this “Social Media”.
As outreach professionals this should be your sweet spot. Since Web 2.0 is at a mostly mature level by now (far reaching social platforms, robust yet simple communications tools and web elements that can all be tied together in infinite ways) there are more ways than ever before to make the most of your efforts. It is in this vien that can discuss some of the platforms and ideas which make up this ecosystem in “Social Media 101.”
For a great primer, watch this great video (part of a much wider series which I also encourage you to watch in time), “Social Media in Plain English”:
Success in Social Media is similar to that in life: build relationships that are built on honestly and transparency and communicate effectively. Wether you have ten or ten thousand followers, friends or fans – that concept needs to be your mantra. Until you have built an effective relationship bank (*discussed in the video presentation below) you cannot expect to reap its rewards.
The following video presentation was given to a group of local (Silver Spring, MD) job seekers around the notion of Successful Networking. I share it here because the fundamentals of online engagement can be found in the way you interact in person with those you are targeting. (You can also see the slides themselves here: http://www.slideshare.net/weinberg81/never-eat-alone)
So, onto the meat and potatoes…
The first thing I tell organizations about Social Media is these three things should be your course of action:
LISTEN | PLAN | ENGAGE.
Listen: Set up Google Alerts (Google it) which let you monitor mentions of any work of phrase as they newly appear online. Google your organization and look into some of the more interesting links (forum discussions, blog posts, etc.). Examine social exchanges already going on around your brand or universe through Twitter (search.twitter.com in much the same way you will use Google Alerts).
Plan: Based on the strategy advice of a professional, plan out your content, calendar, metrics and goals for multiple timelines (90/180/360 days).
Engage: Carry out your plan. Engage your community. Be transparent and communicative. Rarely promote.
If you run an outreach organization, you are making an effort to be where your target demographic lives. In the Bootcamp, we will be polling everyone to see where they think this group “lives” online and then establish if you are there. If you are trying to reach high school kids who are all on Facebook and constantly text message, but you do all your outreach online from your blog or YouTube – don’t be surprised when yo are not reaching that critical mass.
Once you establish your various beachheads into Social Media (usually Facebook, Twitter and a blog to start) it is critical to create and follow a comprehensive strategy. Posting content, looking at simple metrics (likes & follows) and being cosistent are but tacticks – important ones at that – in your strategy. Knowing the 5 W’s who, where, what, when and why will make your job much easier.
Who is the demographic you are trying to reach?
Where do they “live” online?
What kind of content are you posting?
When are you posting during the year, month, week and day?
Why are you posting the where, what and when?
Make sure to check in here on Foursquare and Facebook!
Tumblr & Posterous vs. Unique content per platform.