Social Media Collaboration to Improve Emergency Communications

This post originally ran on the eduWeb Digital Summit Blog.

Words you never want to hear as a social media and emergency communications manager on a college campus: Shooting on campus. Hard words to type, to be honest. But, in reality, these are words every campus in the country has to be prepared for.

It’s a matter of when, not if, unfortunately.

Breaking Down the Silos

It's Time to Break Down Silos, Especially When it Comes to Emergency Communications. It's About the Safety of Students. - Allison Matherly, Texas Tech University

Often universities and colleges are siloed environments. There are lines in the sand, areas that “aren’t my responsibility” and political land mines that many of us are dodging on a regular basis. Many social media managers aren’t directly involved in emergency communications, but they should be. It’s time for this to change, and there’s no reason for them to sit and wait to be asked to join the team.

Social media is often one of the fastest ways we have to communicate with our campus communities. Our students are connected to it all the time, and people are trained to go to brands’ social media channels to look for updates, especially during a breaking situation. If our communities are already trained to look to these sites, we need to be respecting the power they hold, and harnessing that power for communications good.

Social media managers are trained to edit messages quickly, they’re used to releasing information to large audiences regularly, and they are the individuals reading community feedback. Why would universities not want to involve these people in their emergency communications?

I know, I’m preaching to the choir. (Thanks for those heavenly tones in the background, guys.) You all know what great skills you bring to the table. But, it’s also time for us to get over those silos and fences and lines in the sand. So, what are the next steps to start this process? Keep reading…

Entering New Territory

Apple iPhone with Social Network App Icons Displayed

It’s time for social media managers to cross the lines, armed with smart phones.

Google for the win! Start off finding where your campus keeps their emergency management resources online. Read the university’s plan, understand what your department’s already existing role is within emergency communications. By starting there you can learn more about how to start getting involved and contributing.

The next step is to schedule a few meetings with the individuals involved in emergency communications outside of your department. I’d recommend starting with the head of emergency management or public safety (depending on what you call it at your institution). Ask if you can find out more about the institution’s emergency management plan, processes and who’s responsible for what actions. Explain that you want to be involved and be ready to support their efforts. There’s not an emergency manager who doesn’t want better communication.

Meet with the chief of police and the police department’s public information officer at your campus, or city, depending on your school’s size. Meet with the people responsible for the emergency mass notification system, this one lives in a lot of different places, so you might have to search a bit. Know the people involved, know what their responsibilities are, and know what their goals are.

Next step is to offer to assist. Explain what your role at the campus is, and the communication skills you can lend them. Often, law enforcement and emergency managers see social media as just another place that trouble pops up. Show them what can be done to assist their efforts. You can bring examples with you, or make sure to send them examples as a follow up to the meeting.

Don’t Stop Believing

Just like any other relationship in your life, this one will take time. I speak from experience. It takes a long time for trust to build and for everyone to rely on others. But, when that happens, you end up with a well-oiled machine of information sharing, effective communications and teamwork. (Insert rainbows and unicorns here.)

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Rainbow over a field.

Ok, so it’s not always rainbows and unicorns.

At the end of the day we’re talking about students and campus safety. These are people’s lives that are at the core of this discussion. You might be facing an uphill battle breaking into the emergency management group on your campus. But when that if becomes a when, and you find your campus in the middle of an on-campus emergency, you’ll never regret taking that step to improve communications.

Retweet After Me: Week of Oct. 14

This Week in Social: Expiration Dates for Social Media by Olsy Sorokina

Does the saying “The Internet never forgets” still hold up? This reverse amnesia of the Information Age has sparked many global discussions on privacy and online reputation, and it is reflected more and more in the changes made by those in charge of our online information, like social networks and ISPs. [Read More]

The Best (And Worst) Times to Post on Social Media (Infographic) by Rachel Gillett

We get it, managing your business’s social media accounts can be daunting: from tweaking tweet lengths to mastering Facebook tone, to using the right hashtags at the right times. But what savvy social media users know is that there’s a science to getting it right–if you follow certain parameters, you’re almost guaranteed to get the results you were working toward. All it takes is some knowledge and forethought, and anyone can be well on their way to posting engaging content. [Read More]

Provocative Ad Campaign On Pause by Kaitlin Mulhere

A Boston-area university has pressed pause on an ad campaign launched this summer that was described as bold and provocative. Suffolk University made noise in July when it began a campaign that described the small, private university as anti-elite and a haven for hard-working students. It was the university’s first broad campaign in eight years. [Read More]

Pinterest to Offer Targeted Pins, Tracking for Advertisers by Kevin Allen

Pinterest is stepping a bit closer to helping its retail advertisers understand their actual ROI. Publications have inferred the social media platform’s revamped advertising plan through some of its updated privacy policy documents; chief among these updates will be the ability for advertisers to directly target those Pinterest users who are already customers. [Read More]

Could Ello be the next Facebook rival? by Kevin Allen

Tired of being shown all those spammy ads on Facebook when you’re trying to figure out what your friends’ kids are up to? Do you wish there were a social platform that didn’t treat you like a piece of metadata? You’re not alone. Ello has been getting considerable attention recently, and we can almost guarantee your parents won’t use it. The service is opening to new members by invitation only. Invites for the service have been sold on eBay for up to $500, according to several reports. [Read More]

EduWeb14: I Am A Red Raider: A Marketing Campaign Designed with Engagement in Mind

This week I attended and presented at EduWeb 14, an annual conference for the higher education community, attracting those who are involved in their integrated digital marketing presence. It was another great year (my fourth!), and I was honored to be selected to present on Texas Tech’s most recent marketing campaign, I Am A Red Raider.

Here are my slides for those who are interested! I appreciate everyone who came to my presentation, and if you’re interested in knowing more, or have any other questions, just let me know!

And since Slideshare doesn’t allow for the playing of the two videos in the slides, here are those:

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 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]

Retweet After Me: Week of Feb. 5, 2014

Great Social Media Idea: Bringing Social to the “Real World” (Part 2) by Joe Kuffner

A few months ago, I highlighted a wonderful article by Matthew Anderson of Western Washington University, in which he discussed a small, yet powerful thing he did with WWU’s Twitter – hand-delivering coffee to a student who had just a few minutes prior tweeted about being tired and not having time to get coffee before class. [Read More]

Content Marketing a Struggle from Start to Finish by eMarketer

59% of marketing professionals will increase efforts this year. Content marketers are looking to shift efforts to include more curation, research suggests, but every step along the journey is a struggle. [Read More]

3 Ways to Use Google+ to Increase Search Rankings by James Thomas

Do you want to increase your search rankings? Did you know your Google+ page and profile could help? Google+ can help you increase search rankings for your website, but you have to take the time to optimize your page, profile and content. [Read More]

The New Link for the Mobile Ad Era by Tom Simonite

Being able to easily link to content inside mobile apps could make them easier to use and also boost the mobile ad industry. In the beginning there was the Web, a thicket of virtual pages connected by hyperlinks that enabled blogging to flourish and companies like Google to make piles of money by directing people where advertisers wanted them to go. Today mobile apps increasingly rule our free time and require us to dive into separate, walled-off digital containers that don’t link up. [Read More]

The Confluence Of Content And Social Media: Insights For Success In 2014 by Jayson DeMers

One study has suggested that as many as 90% of American small businesses are on social media today. Social media has taken hold in the business world: it’s one of the easiest ways to reach new customers, and one of the three pillars of SEO in 2014. It’s also low cost and has a fairly low barrier to entry. The accessibility of social media sites is a boon, especially for eCommerce sites that need to constantly reach new customers and stay connected with existing customers about new products and sales. [Read More]

Retweet After Me: Week of Oct. 15, 2013

The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014 by Jayson DeMers

With new social networking platforms appearing from behind every corner, it can be hard to know exactly where to commit your time and resources. And as we move into the latter-half of 2013, it’s important to look ahead to where social networking is going, and how we can get on board. [Read More]

Facebook Radically Simplifies Ad Buying by Lauren Indvik

Facebook ad buyers have cause to celebrate: On Tuesday, the social network unveiled a major overhaul of both its basic ad-buying platform, Ads Manager, and its more sophisticated offering, Power Editor, both of which now boast a more streamlined interface. [Read More]

Brands Can Now Schedule Tweets Up To A Year In Advance But They Probably Shouldn’t by Charlie Warzel

Today, Twitter announced that brands and marketers using the company’s ad product can now plan and schedule tweets up to one year in advance. The idea here is to allow companies more time to plan and orchestrate increasingly complex ad campaigns around events or specific times, as is usually done in other, more traditional advertising mediums like television. Twitter is also hoping that the long lead time will drive up the real-time promoted tweet bidding wars that advertisers have been keen to jump on in recent months. [Read More]

Higher Ed Search Analytics are Simplified with New Google Adwords Report by Scott Duncan

It just got a lot easier to track, analyze and understand the relationship between PPC ads and organic listings on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google Adwords’ new report, called the “Paid and Organic ” report, provides comparative analysis of visitor traffic and click through behavior on Google search engine results pages for the following three scenarios… [Read More]

Social Media Kool Aid by Frank Eliason

We love to surround ourselves with people who have similar thoughts and it creates this bubble perspective on the world. This is not unique in a social world because we also tend to do similar in our own work environment. There are many talking heads for social media advising brands in all sorts of ways. In many ways I am one too. This is not a negative for any of them and often they have some very good ideas. At the same time, should you follow the crowd or the advice? Are those of us thinking about these things living in our own little bubble? Are we drinking the Kool Aid? Maybe it is time we switch drinks. [Read More]

Twitter Alerts and Higher Ed, A Golden Opportunity

Twitter_Alerts

At the end of September, Twitter announced its latest product, Twitter Alerts, which allows emergency offices to get important and accurate information our to as many people as possible. Account managers of specific accounts have the ability to mark a tweet as an “alert” and it will automatically send a notification to the phone of those who have subscribed. Sounds like a great program to me.

This new feature is available to:

  • law enforcement and public safety agencies;
  • emergency management agencies;
  • city and municipal governments, as well as their agencies and representatives;
  • county and regional agencies, providing services to cities and municipalities;
  • and select state, federal, and national agencies and NGOs.

While this doesn’t specifically include universities or colleges, many of us can argue that we fit within one of these categories. I recently submitted an application to be included in the program and I’m waiting to hear back, which they indicated could take some time.

I think this feature would be a great opportunity for universities to be even better prepared to send out emergency information when it matters the most. I hope more universities will join me in requesting the feature so Twitter will hopefully consider giving us the feature to inform students in emergency situations. Fill out the enrollment form.

Photo from Twitter Alerts website.

Universities Just Want to Have Fun!

I hope you’ve got Cyndi Lauper playing in your head after that title!

Social media is very unpredictable, as we all know, and sometimes tweets will pop up in your feed that you’re just not expecting! We’ve all seen the Twitter conversations between brands interacting that are light hearted (most of the time) and fun.

Dallas Stars vs. Dallas Cowboys

Old Spice vs. Taco Bell

taco bell old spice twitter war

Looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? Many would say this type of conversation doesn’t have a place in higher education social media, but who says we can’t have fun without being snarky? Recently, I was given the opportunity to have one of these type of conversations with Texas Wesleyan.

texas tech texas wesleyan twitter war

So who says universities can’t have a little fun? And thanks to @TexasWesleyan for starting our convo!

Retweet After Me: Week of Sept. 3, 2013

Here’s another round up of good-to-know information for you!

Google Plus for Business – The Google Plus Features You Should Know by Evan LePage

Only a few months ago, Google Plus underwent a serious redesign. The major changes, coupled with the fact that many people are only now starting to get themselves and their businesses on the network, mean a lot of users probably don’t know all the features the fast-growing social network brings to the table. [Read More]

Be More Personable on Social Media: 3 Tips by Jeff Haden

Almost every business engages its customers through social media. Some do it well… and many could do it better. If you fall into the latter category, here are tips from Andrew Caravella, VP of marketing at Sprout Social, a leading social media management and engagement platform. [Read More]

Higher Education Searches Rise on Google, Reveal Marketing Opportunity [Study] by Jessica Lee

Attention marketers: demand is high on mobile devices for higher education info, and online programs from traditional universities are highly sought after, according to new Google research that was revealed during the first Hangout on Air for Google’s education team. [Read More]

Top 10 Social Media Research Articles for the First Half of 2013 for Public Relations Professionals

With the explosive growth of social media, the editors of the Institute for Public Relations’ Social Science for Social Media Research Center have identified what we think are the top nine social media research reports in the first half of 2013 that are beneficial for public relations professionals. We determined this based on the rigor of the report’s methodology, sample size, findings, and accessibility. [Read More]

Content on Tumblr has a Longer Shelf Life than on any Other Social Network by Sarah Evans

Networks, like Tumblr, reddit and even Pinterest have changed the way we not only share, but re-share information. The very act of “re-pinning” and “reblogging” are the way information travels and are essential tactics for the most popular players on each site. New research from social analytics company, simplymeasured looks at how the reblog keeps content alive. [Read More]