It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it’s time to provide the update I promised now that the summer has come screeching to a halt. I’m currently down at the Blackbaud Conference for Non-Profits (http://bbcon.blackbaud.com/, #bbcon), where the fact that so many of the sessions revolve around social media has be thinking, once again, how important effective use of social media is.
Although it’s only the second day of the three day conference, I know I’m going to return to Roxbury Latin with several important guidelines to help re-focus our energy on using social media as effectively as possible. With the plethora of tools out there (and more being released every day), it’s hard to keep up with everything without getting overloaded, so to cut down on that, I’m trying to map out the start of a plan now. It’s my hope that when I return, I can take this plan to the larger RL community, and together we can help improve our social media utilization.
To be clear, there is interest – we’ve seen increased interest from our constituents in connecting with us using social media tools, and thus we’ve made these links more prominent with a new “Connect” drop down menu on our homepage. (See below.)
I’d love your help with this – take a look below and let me know what you think. Have you done something like this before? If so, let me know how it’s gone, and if you have any comments and/or ideas?
1. Research: I’m going to start with some research. What is our social media strategy now, formally and, perhaps more importantly, informally? What does our audience want from us in terms of social media connection? Do they just want the scores of games, or are they looking for more in-depth content?
2. Plan: Once we identify our audience and their needs, what tools might we use to meet our goals? Edgerank? Hootsuite? Plancast? Who will be involved and where will they get the time to participate? How do we get buy-in from the various departments, and the top leadership? What metrics might we develop and use to measure success?
3. Create: If our goal is to make an impact and get our users to take action, how can we influence them with our content? We are already posting photos and videos, and that’s a great first step, but what next? Personal narratives often hit the right note, so how can we incorporate them into our website? Do we need a blog?
4. Deploy: Excuse the technical lingo here, but once we have a content plan, where will we post this content to engage our users? Facebook and Twitter seem obvious, but where else? Do we try gamification? Is our website capable of handling the type of interactions we want? Can we enable cross-authentication to make it easier on our users?
5. Measure: This morning, a presenter said “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring.” I agree, so getting Google Analytics to work for us is a first step on this front. What and how can we measure our interactions? We need to determine what matters – clicks, comments, shares, mentions, etc.? Might Google keywords play a role in this?
6. Prepare: Finally, we need to make sure that we don’t ignore the mobile and tablet space. Should we be using Onswipe to make our publications look great on tablets. I heard that by 2013 more people will visit websites from their phones than their desktops and that by 2014, more tablets will be sold than laptops. Will we be ready to interact with our constituents on their terms?
No doubt, this will be tough – everyone is busy and putting more on everyone’s plates won’t be easy. But in the end, I have absolute faith it will pay dividends, both figuratively and literally. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts!