Social Media: Integration for Today’s Educational Marketing

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This presentation was delivered by Lorrie Leonhardt and Bill Sheridan during the 2010 Northeast CPE Conference, held Feb. 22-23 in Florida.

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  • - I was here in 2006 to discuss the major overhaul of our brand—from brochures & magazines, to color usage and style guides, to how staff managed the changes… It’s been a few years and we’re still making tweaks here and there… It’s a continual evolution. Evidence of that is how the world of communication has evolved over the past few years. I do this for a living and feel like I can barely keep up! I’ll spend some time talking about how we got started with social media. I’ll cover some of the basics if there are some of you wondering what steps to take first in establishing a presence with social media, and Bill will talk about some specific examples of how Maryland has incorporated continuing ed with social media.
  • From a 30,000 foot level, I’m just going to mention some of the things we’ve accomplished since 2006. While the member recognition of our materials is great, what is probably the most important is the internal relationships and communication between staff; primarily between my department and the PD team. Our seminar manager Amy Kirk is also here, and I hope she’d agree that the working relationship, and therefore productivity, between our teams is great. Of course we have bumps (we are human), but we’ve collectively established a system that works for us all. Tagline also assisted with brand recall/recognition Due to the consistency of our team composition (in terms of staffing), we’ve built ….
  • - We had several key take-aways from our survey and they’ve affected every aspect of the association. These are just some of the ones pertinent to marketing. - I don’t believe we had any major “ah ha’s” from this data; it really served as a good benchmark for measuring our performance and effective in several key areas. Let’s think about the age of this survey and put it into perspective. While the information is just 2 years old… a LOT has happened in these two years!! First of all there, there is our economic situation. Secondly, consider how prevalent sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have become. Here are some of the stats we’ve all heard… Facebook currently boasts about 400 million active users and more than 700,000 local businesses utilizing the social networking site. Twitter’s biggest growing segment is ages 35–54. Businesses are gravitating to Twitter in droves as an outlet to quickly share updates and news about their organization or profession. LinkedIn has over 55 million members in over 200 countries. LinkedIn also boasts executives from all Fortune 500 companies as members. We don’t need to convince anyone that these sites have a tremendous effect on how companies are promoting their products and services. Even while taking into account the stats I just mentioned… (From our informal surveys at conferences and conversations with members), we know members STILL want a BALANCE when it comes to marketing…
  • Did you feel like everything came to a screeching halt all of a sudden? Or maybe a temporary one?? I just mentioned the economic impact... I’d imagine most of you made substantial adjustments—F&B at events; negotiating lower fees with speakers; some states may have experienced fee increases to absorb some of the “bottom-line shock” we’ve all experienced. This is another area where there is a team effort. We made some subtle changes in our printed marketing pieces that resulted in a real savings of $32k – we didn’t print session descriptions for conference events. We created a “mini” web page with all of our session information, speaker details, materials, etc. [For FY11, we have a budget of 2.2% of revenue towards CPE marketing. 2.1% in FY10 and 2.8% in FY09.] This also resulted in more TIME for staff because proofing/production time was greatly reduced. And obviously, maybe we saved a few trees in the process.
  • In 2010, we’ve decided to include our speakers’ names and organizations – simply to further lend credibility to our programs. We’ve just about maxed out the size to mail at the “letter” rate, so increasing the sheet size wasn’t an option. Instead, we’ve developed a “key” and will include this on the back of the registration page, which when folded, is one of the first items members will see.
  • Website Negotiated savings on recycled paper for all of our printed pieces (not as cheap as I thought); We won’t be paying any more, but we won’t be paying any less. Plus, we’ll have a nice logo to display showing our commitment to environment. Need to provide real-time information to members; printed pieces now feel somewhat antiquated. Challenge will be finding the balance between these communication channels None of them are meant to serve as replacements – only as reinforcements
  • I try not to be transparent when it comes to our current website.
  • If all goes as planned, our new site will launch before April 30th
  • I’m going to start our talk on social media with tips on getting started. And Bill will cover more in-depth examples of what he’s done in Maryland.
  • We had one representative from each department so that all of our programs/services were represented. We met approximately 4 times to identify: Which 3 sites we’d get started on (quality vs quantity approach) How we’d utilize each site How we wanted sites managed (guess members got tired waiting on us to launch a couple of these – they did it for us! Needless to say, we wanted the primary control over content/group management, but appreciate their efforts) Draft usage policies for both members and staff After Interchange last year, I found as many other state society folks as I could and followed them. It’s been extremely educational and fun to “get to know” them this way. While there is a viral component to social media, you also have to create awareness of your sites. This is something we are just beginning to do. We had over 350 “members” on our LinkedIn group before promoting to the membership. Visibility + Value = Increased # of followers.
  • - Does anyone have just one person who controls their website – from content generation to implementation, images/graphics, addition of events/press releases/news articles, etc. OF COURSE NOT! What about your society’s magazine? Does one person write all of the content, edit it all, design it all, coordinate the production of it all, mail it to members, post online, etc.? NO! You HAVE to have the same philosophy with social media. Once I figured this out, I honestly felt relieved. Your communications people can’t do it all. While I might be the person who posts the content, there is no earthly way I will have every idea related to content or postings. I am not the expert on peer review, government relations, or even “hot topic” courses in our curriculum. We have experts on those topics – the key to this is communicating with your key staff people and figuring how to get everyone’s ideas out there.
  • This may be the one question about social media I hear about any other. I have my own answer, but it’s found in this video, which does a much better job of answering the question than I ever could. Let’s take a look.
  • This is Michelle Golden, president of Golden Practices, Inc., and a consultant to professional service providers like CPAs and lawyers. Here’s what she says: Asking "What's the ROI of social media?" is akin to asking "What's the ROI of a telephone?" or "What's the ROI of a computer?" or "What's the ROI of e-mail?“ These are all tools. They all have the potential to be significant time-suckers. And they each can make us enormously effective. Depending on our purpose and actions with the tools. The ROI question should be tied to an initiative, not a tool. Tie it to how you are using the tool.
  • We created a separate blog specifically for our annual Business and Accounting Expo (now known as the Maryland CPA Summit). Many of the blog posts deal specifically with topics that will be covered during the event. We’ll also interview speakers for the event and blog about their thoughts hot topics that impact our members.
  • We will often interview our own instructors in their particular fields of expertise, then turn those interviews into podcasts. We’ll use those podcasts not only to inform our members, but to promote that particular instructor’s programs. We’ll also blog about those podcasts, so we’re essentially doing double-duty with one piece of content. If we get really ambitious and the topic is really hot, we’ll transcribe the interview into a Q-and-A article and publish it in our magazine, along with a sidebar that points to our programs on the topic.
  • We’re using Second Life in a few different ways. We’re holding actual CPE-qualifying courses there. We’ve figured out how to record those courses and archive them, so that we can offer them later as webcasts. We’re bringing in some pretty high-powered thought leaders to interact with members. That helps promote us as a leading content provider. (Use “If I Was an Auditor” as an example.)
  • Social media is all about relationships. We’re not replacing anything we do. We are enhancing it by expanding our social reach. We’re forming meaningful relationships with folks who appreciate what we are sharing with them. As a result, they’re spreading our message to THEIR followers. It’s not substitution. It’s amplification. It’s enhancement.
  • Social Media: Integration for Today’s Educational Marketing

    1. 1. Social Media: Integration for Today’s Educational Marketing Blogs, microblogs, social networks, virtual worlds … and how they can promote our continuing education Bill Sheridan, CAE E-Communications Manager / Editor Maryland Association of CPAs Lorrie Leonhardt Director of Communications North Carolina Association of CPAs
    2. 2. What I’ll Cover… <ul><li>Evolution of NCACPA’s re-branding efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporation of social media into your marketing plan—how do you get started? </li></ul>
    3. 3. By 2006: <ul><ul><li>Increased the recognition of our programs via the consistency achieved by new style guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developed tagline for usage on all NCACPA collateral </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Further streamlined marketing efforts/ coordination between internal departments </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. 2008 Membership Survey <ul><ul><li>Interim Report and e-communications are the most preferred and most read by members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus e-marketing efforts on CPE opportunities and professional news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members’ preferences towards printed and electronic communications were equal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest in association developing more online opportunities to learn/connect </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. 2009’s Economic Impact <ul><li>How do we maximize exposure and further minimize costs in these uncertain times? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eliminated printed pieces for some events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in CPE promotion/printed brochures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Savings in both expenses and staff time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social responsibility </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. 2009 HOT Topic Conference
    7. 7. 2010 Not-For-Profit Conference
    8. 8. Plans for 2010 <ul><ul><li>Website redesign (finally!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recycled paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased utilization of e-marketing vs. print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formalize social media efforts </li></ul></ul>
    9. 11. How Does Social Media Fit into the Marketing Puzzle?
    10. 12. Your Beliefs May Get Debunked! <ul><ul><li>Social media is going to have a significant impact on staff resources; we can’t possibly add this to our already-full plates. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members aren’t interested in social media channels related to the association. They want to keep their professional and personal interests separate. </li></ul></ul>
    11. 13. The first step is always the hardest. <ul><ul><li>Form an internal team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Listen” to thought-leaders in the profession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check out other state societies’ pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create awareness of your presence </li></ul></ul>
    12. 14. It takes a village. <ul><ul><li>A “silo” approach simply won’t work… or at least, it won’t work as well! </li></ul></ul>
    13. 15. Build some buzz. <ul><ul><li>Make a plan, but give yourself flexibility. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enlist some help... from members. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforce your message to those on your mailing list and likely reach others who aren’t even on it! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could social media help “convince” prospects to take the plunge and register? </li></ul></ul>
    14. 16. The billion-dollar question: What’s the ROI? Video: “Social Media ROI,” from Erik Qualman / Socialnomics
    15. 17. What’s the ROI? Wrong question! <ul><li>“ The ROI question should be tied to an initiative, not a tool.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Michelle Golden </li></ul>
    16. 18. Event blogging <ul><li>Highlight event content </li></ul><ul><li>Promote thought leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Create buzz </li></ul>
    17. 19. Event blogging <ul><li>Inform, </li></ul><ul><li>then promote. </li></ul>
    18. 20. Event blogging <ul><li>Inform, </li></ul><ul><li>then promote. </li></ul>
    19. 21. Event podcasting <ul><li>Highlight event content </li></ul><ul><li>Promote thought leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Create buzz </li></ul><ul><li>(Sound familiar?) </li></ul>
    20. 22. Second Life
    21. 23. Amplifying the message
    22. 24. <ul><li>Hello. </li></ul>The final word …
    23. 25. Questions?
    24. 26. Social Media: Integration for Today’s Educational Marketing <ul><li>Bill Sheridan, CAE E-Communications Manager / Editor Maryland Association of CPAs www.MACPA.org www.CPASuccess.com [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter.com/BillSheridan </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook.com/BillSheridan </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn.com/in/BillDSheridan </li></ul><ul><li>Lorrie Leonhardt Director of Communications North Carolina Association of CPAs www.NCACPA.org [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter.com/NCACPAnews </li></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn.com/in/LorrieLeonhardt </li></ul>

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