Growing and Nurturing an Audience

social media flowers

Recently, I’ve experienced a recurring theme of people asking about how they can use social media to inform people, to promote their event, or because they just need a Facebook or Twitter page. And yes, social media can be used to inform people and promote events and programs, but that’s is not what they are about. They are about conversations and relationships. And don’t even get me started on having social media channels just for the sake of having them. But your audience members take some nurturing to grow, so give them a little water and sunlight and they’ll grow into thriving, engaging members of your community.

Take the Time

Just like an taking the time to pick up the phone and call an old friend, you need to take the time to find out how your audience is doing! This can be accomplished by asking them, monitoring relevant hashtags, or by listening to what they’re flat out telling you. You can then gauge their feelings and talk to them appropriately. Talking to students during the summer is different than during finals week.

Truly Listen

I’ve talked about truly listening to your audience before, but I’m going for it again. Sometimes you think you know what a problem is, or what an audience member is referencing, but if you jump to conclusions you could miss someone’s point quite easily, especially if you’re on Twitter and have a 140-character post to work with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or take the conversation to email if you need more information to understand what your audience member is trying to tell you.

Engage

Your audience wants to know you care. In higher education, that can be as simple as congratulating newly admitted students, answering questions about when food locations are open during spring break, or offering to answer questions of prospective students. Tell your audience you’re there for them in whatever capacity they need.

Story Time

I heard University of Cincinnati’s @PrezOno speak at EduWeb last year, and he told a story about a student who was upset that the vending machine was out of Cheez its. He listened to the complaint, and said he would find out why the vending machine was empty. And he followed through. His audience understands that he’s there for them, and reaches out regularly. He provides a perfect example of how to listen and engage with your audience. You can see this and more of Santa Ono’s presentation in the SlideShare below:

 

Retweet After Me: Week of Mar. 18, 2014

How To Adapt To The Changing Face Of Social Media Marketing by Carly Botelho

Social media marketing is an ever-evolving tool, allowing brands to interact directly with consumers. By engaging with these consumers on social media, brands often see more website traffic and will increase visibility. However, social media continues to change. Brands must understand the ways in which consumers use various platforms to achieve social media marketing success. Different demographics, attitudes, and behaviors affect which social media platforms consumers will use, how often they check them, and how engaged they are on them. Know your target audience and which social media channels they use – and how – to shape your social media campaign for success. Unfortunately, it’s not always quite that simple. As social media is constantly changing, so are consumers’ behaviors. [Read More]

29 Social Media Tools Recommended by the Pros by Cindy King

Are you looking for ways to enhance your social media marketing? Do you want new tools to simplify your job? We asked a group of social media pros for the hottest social media tools they use today. Check them out to see if these social media tools are a good fit for you! [Read More]

More than half of Millennials have shared a ‘selfie’ by Paul Taylor

Actress Ellen DeGeneres set out to create the most viral selfie ever on Oscar night and succeeded not just in capturing a celebrity moment but a digital one, too. Taking a “selfie” was relatively difficult to pull off before digital phones and cameras made them easy. Not surprisingly, the generation that has taken to them more than any other are the Millennials (ages 18 to 33), who have grown up with the new digital technologies of the 21st century. They’re the heaviest users of the internet, cell phones and social media sites. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds that 55% of Millennials have posted a “selfie” on a social media site; no other generation is nearly as inclined to do this. Overall, 26% of Americans have shared a “selfie” on a photo-sharing or social networking site. [Read More]

Google Analytics Checklist for New Projects by Geoff Kenyon

When on-boarding a new client, there is a lot that needs to get done. Usually the list includes a tech audit, reviewing content, and combing through back links to name a few tasks. A review of the analytics implementation is often overlooked though. [Read More]

How the top 10 US retailers use Pinterest by Christopher Ratcliff

Pinterest is used by more than 21% of all American adults. This is up from 15% on the previous year. This figure comes from the last study by Pew Research, which also states the even more incredible fact that one-third of all women in the USA use Pinterest. [Read More]

Retweet After Me: Week of Mar. 4, 2014

What If Twitter Got a Lot More Useful? by Simon Dumenco

The U.K. division of Twitter is trying to draw attention to the platform’s potential as a customer-service provider with a blog post this morning announcing just such an effort from the telecom giant O2. For Twitter, making noise about O2’s #TweetServe is a way to signal that it is serious about broadening its mass appeal. Twitter needs to demonstrate that it has utility beyond serving as, well, a news feed, a source of celebrity musings and a place to talk about TV. That whole social TV phenomenon, for one thing, isn’t necessarily as white-hot as it used to be, as my colleague Cotton Delo recently reported. [Read More]

Questions about badges in higher ed by Sheryl Grant

Amy McQuigge’s prompt How can colleges and universities use badges? is a lot more slope of enlightenment and a little less peak of inflated expectations when it comes to badges in higher ed (Looking at you, major media sources.) The disruptive potential of badges in higher ed makes for compelling headlines, but the real nuts-and-bolts innovation is happening at ground level. I thought I would contribute something to Amy’s question by taking a look at the variety of badge systems being designed for colleges and universities. I started with HASTAC’s higher ed tag in the Badges for Lifelong Learning topic on Scoop.it, but please add others I may have missed in the comments section below. [Read More]

Reconsidering the Social Media Hub by Georgy Cohen

One of my favorite projects when working at Tufts University was leading the creation of our social media hub, a custom-built page which hosted feeds from all of our social media accounts and served as an at-a-glance destination for campus social chatter. I was (and still am) extremely proud of what we built. [Read More]

Top 7 things successful brands do on Twitter by Katerina Petropoulou

Twitter is a powerful tool of engagement and brands are well aware of that, as more and more are now using the network for customer support and marketing. There’ve even been brands that did not hesitate to “fight” over a customer on Twitter! So there’s definitely a lot to learn from brands’ best Twitter practices. Let’s take a look at 7 things successful brands do on Twitter and you can do too, starting today. [Read More]

Beyond tweeting: Demystifying the social media editor by Ricardo Bilton

While the popular perception of the social media editor is a fresh-out-of-college intern sitting on Twitter all day, the now-ubiquitous role is more complicated than that — and more important. “Twitter and Facebook have become far more powerful tools for getting traffic, so the shift has become more focused on how to take advantage of social media to improve the site’s traffic and readership,” said Jeremy Stahl, Slate’s social media editor since 2010. [Read More]

Retweet After Me: Week of Feb. 25, 2014

Top 2014 #highered Web and Social Conferences & Events by Karine Joly

Every year I publish a post with my selection of top higher ed conferences and events. Since 2006 I’ve spent a lot time thinking, reviewing, attending and some time presenting at higher ed conferences. When you run a professional school like Higher Ed Experts, it’s important to stay on top of what happened in the conference world. As many of you only get to go to one conference per year due to limited budgets, many often ask me for recommendations about the best fit for their specific professional development needs. [Read More]

How to Do Holidays on Social Media Right by Elizabeth Harper

Every time a holiday or big event rolls around, we see companies trying to make holiday social-media tie-ins that can range from successful to strange. While it’s easy to make social blunders by trying to appropriate a holiday into a promotion, this doesn’t mean you need to stay quiet during any holiday season. As long as you know the holiday and your customer base, you can jump into the holiday chatter without making a mess — whether it’s Valentine’s Day this week or something else. [Read More]

14 Tools To Help You Add Images For Your Social Media Posts by Belle Beth Cooper

It wasn’t long ago that Twitter added inline image previews to its official apps, including the web view. Now, Twitter is including more image focus in the latest redesign, as you can see above. On the left-hand side of Twitter’s new web view, your profile and header images are now visible. [Read More]

Why and how to get access to Twitter Analytics for your #highered account by Karine Joly

Last week in the online course I teach about social media marketing for higher ed we discussed social media analytics strategy and practices with our class composed of professionals working in universities and colleges in the US, Canada and France. I’ve had updated the course module materials – as I always do before a session – to include the latest news and features my students should know about. And, I had decided to add, at the last minute, a link to Twitter Analytics. [Read More]

Good News for Creepers: LinkedIn Upgrades “Who Viewed Your Profile” Feature by Corey Eridon

I mean creepers in the most loving way. Some of my best friends are creepers. (Ask her, she won’t deny it.) We all know the “Who Viewed Your Profile” LinkedIn feature. It’s part of a little ego-exercise we take part in each week where we validate just how important we already know we are, and bask in the glory of being stalked by higher-ups that are definitely messaging us right now to offer us the job of a lifetime. [Read More]

Quotables: Zoe Barnes

With the release of season 2 of House of Cards, I thought a quote from the show would be a perfect fit. Don’t worry though, no spoilers here. But Zoe Barnes knows that social media can spread a message like wildfire, which is always a good thing to remember!

What to Measure When it Comes to Social Media

I’ve written a short introduction on social media analytics, specifically talking about what numbers are available to you, and programs that will assist you with measuring your social media efforts, but what analytics should you keep track of to move your social media strategy?

Competitors

I think it’s important to know where your competitors stand in comparison to your accounts. For me, I keep this surface level, mostly looking at number of likes, followers and the subscribers. At least this way, I can have a benchmark to see where my accounts measure up against those competitors.

Engagement

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 2.51.46 PM

The second word in the title of my blog, and my social media mantra, is engage. Good content will cause people to react, whether it’s a retweet, a like or a comment. This is one of the most important things you can measure in my opinion. Measuring engagement informs your social strategy, and without it, you won’t be able to adjust to ensure you’re accomplishing your goals.

The “UNs”

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 2.51.03 PM

Unlikes, unfollows, hides, you know, all the negatives. It’s important to keep track of these, because it is the exact opposite of engagement. If your audience is taking the time and effort to perform a negative engagement action, that should be a red flag if it is happening early and often! By monitoring these numbers, you can keep ahead of the outflow of people, by changing your content types or topics.

There are lots of different things to measure and keep track of, what other analytics do you pay special attention to?

Retweet After Me: Week of Feb. 18, 2014

Best [PR]actices by Geben Communications

Yesterday on my blog, Seen CEO Brian Zuercher talked about “interceptions,” or moments when brands capitalize on unplanned opportunities to interact with their customers. What better example of a perfectly executed interception than when Airbnb jumped on Twitter last week to come to the aid of Olympic journalists sharing their hotel troubles online? On Thursday, Airbnb tweeted: “Having #SochiProblems? Hotel lacking water? Floors? 500+ Airbnb listings in #Sochi are ready to welcome guests.” [Read More]

The Rise of Brands and Selfies [Infographic] by Nick Cicero

In 2013 the selfie became the ‘it’ word of social media. From TV morning show hosts and teenagers to athletes and heads of state, it seems that nearly everyone has been snapping photos of themselves for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. New camera apps like FrontBack, Yak-It and others have been created solely for the purpose of satisfying this new passion to share ourselves with our friends in creative ways digitally. [Read More]

Confessions of big brand social media managers by Digiday Editors

Type “social media” into any online jobs board, and you will get thousands of job postings for social media managers, community managers, social media “rockstars” and so on. These days every brand and company has a social media presence, and, of course, that means that every brand and company has someone manning the brand’s social media accounts. But not every organization knows exactly what to do with its social media presence or what to realistically invest in or expect from its social media manger. [Read More]

How to Speed Up Your Content Curation Process by Cas McCullough

Do you want to share helpful content, but don’t know where to find it? Are you looking for tools to speed up your content curation process? In this article I’ll show you how to find and share relevant content in a snap. [Read More]

Instagram’s Blog for Business launches with tools, tips for marketers and news orgs by Sarah Evans

Today, Instagram announced a new resource for marketers and news organizations alike, The Instagram for Business blog. Their goal is to create a place where corporate Instagram users can access tips, tools and other resources for creating really great content–and, of course, to encourage more engagement. [Read More]

Social Media Lessons to Learn from the Olympics

The world is currently head over heels in love with the Olympics, and who can blame them? Sports most people don’t see except for every four years, high stakes, and rooting for your country! And NBC has their social media team going full force on the NBC Olympics social media channels, with lots of good tips and ideas for the rest of us!

Photos Win Facebook

There is not a post on NBC Olympics’ Facebook page that doesn’t have a photo. According to this Fast Company article, 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook have photos. Not only does NBC use photos, but they also brand every last one of them with their blue border and Sochi logo, making sure that when it’s shared, the branding is still just as evident.

Spur of the Moment

NBC Olympics has done a great job of taking advantage of situations as they arise. Obviously, the nature of the Olympics means they are waiting for the perfect moments, from announcing a Gold Medal to featuring athletes as they prepare to start competing, so they are set up already to use the random things that they aren’t anticipating.

User-Generated Content

It’s an easy tactic, but no doubt it’s effective. Asking for your audience to participate in the fun by answering a question, submitting a photo or filling in a blank is a great way to encourage engagement. Also, you can’t go wrong with using the unsolicited content, that’s the stuff social media dreams are made out of!

Create Your Own “Meme”

Normally, I hate when I see this. Most of the time, I just don’t think it’s a great fit for the brand or the content they have used. Now, I know this isn’t technically a meme, but it has a meme-like feel by using big, to-the-point words, and showing one subject in the photo. However, since NBC didn’t try to make their content fit into an already existing meme, I actually really like it!

Artsy Fartsy

NBC obviously understands that Instagram is a little bit artsier than Facebook and Twitter, and their content on the channel has been just that.

Diversified Content

One of the most noticeable things when I was looking through NBC’s Olympics social media channels is how very different the content is on each channel.

Twitter is very centered around news-like content, such as events starting soon announcements, medal counts and winners and feature stories. But just because it’s more news focused, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a personality!

Facebook is probably the most fun content they have. While all the other channels they are utilizing defintiely have a feeling of fun and excitement, their Facebook content takes it to the next level. They are posting things that are easy to share and the most exciting or stunning moments of the Olympics.

Instagram, as I already pointed out, is much more artsy. Because of this, it makes you think you’re getting an inside look at the Olympics: how the courses look before an event and practice runs.

What is your favorite part of Olympics social media coverage so far?

Retweet After Me: Week of Feb. 11, 2014

What brands should know about Facebook’s Paper by Courtney Gordner

The Internet has changed the way we communicate. This became increasingly true with Facebook’s announcement of its new app, Paper. Paper will allow users to view Facebook in a way that is more like reading a newspaper (with short updates, news stories, photos and videos) than scrolling through a social media feed. [Read More]

Content Marketing a Struggle from Start to Finish by Jennifer Stalzer

Digital is transforming the way brands are communicating with their customers. The most recent Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising report confirms that branded web sites are now the second most trusted format, a jump from fourth place in 2007. As communications and marketing professionals, how do we seize this opportunity without mucking it up? [Read More]

Top 8 Reasons Why Men and Women Use Facebook by Matt Petronzio

Facebook turned 10 on Tuesday, and with 1.23 billion monthly active users, 37 offices worldwide and more than 6,000 employees, it’s something to celebrate. But how are Facebook users actually using the social network after a decade? [Read More]

Instagram Video Done Right: 10 Inspiring Brand Examples by Katherine Leonard

Instagram video burst onto the scene in mid-2013, and in the months since we’ve seen good, bad and ugly video efforts from brands. The good news is that when companies do get it right, Instagram video efforts seem to pay off — according a study from Unruly Media, 40% of the most-shared Instagram videos are from brands. [Read More]

TV after-shows tap social media by Patrick Ryan

Like the ravenous zombies they tune in to watch each week, fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead have voracious appetites. But instead of gorging themselves on human flesh, fans get their fill with behind-the-scenes content and social-media interaction — two key components of after-shows such as Talking Dead (Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT), which returns tomorrow following The Walking Dead’s midseason premiere. [Read More]