As communicators and marketers, wouldn’t it be nice to go back to the good old days. There was a morning and evening newspaper and almost everyone got one paper. There were three networks and three local TV stations. Radio stations had news on the half hour. There was plenty of time to fill and people were listening. We wrote press releases and the news media printed, read or broadcast them….verbatim!! Instant news was having all of the media’s fax numbers pre-programmed so with the push of a button your news of the moment was sent to the media that counted.
Over the years we have seen a lot of change: Cable TV, the Internet, iPhones. But, there are those who argue that on September 26, 2006, there was a seismic shift in how people get information. That was the date facebook opened access to its social networking site to everyone age 13 years and older. There were 12 million users at the time. Now, three years and five months later, there are 400 million users worldwide This includes: 760,000 facebook members age 18 and older in the Portland/Vancouver area and nearly 800,000 in the Seattle Metro area. By comparison: The Oregonian’s circulation is 250,000, down 130,000 since 2006 and the Seattle Times’ circulation is 265,000, down 171,000 since 2006.
According the a recent Pew Research study, the Internet has surpassed newspaper and radio news and the primary source for information among Americans. As communicators, we need to understand where and how people get information and adjust accordingly. It is adapting to circumstances to achieve success. The study also found 92% are using multiple sources to get news, including national TV, local TV, the Internet, local newspapers, radio and national newspapers. 59% get news from a combination of online and offline sources. 46% get use four to six news sources Just 7% get their news from a single media platform. And add this to the communication planning formula, sharing is an integral part of the news. Friends and families share interesting articles through email, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. For those who want more news, RSS feeds and Tweetdeck can reach out and grab information of interest and deliver it to you on your desk top.
The Internet is also a key source of information about education. When CFM conducted the biennial Washington Education Survey, we found half the voters go online to stay up-to-date about education issues. Use of the Internet is especially high key education supporters parents and voters age 18 to 54 years.
Nearly half of Washington voters use some form of social networking to share information.
But social networking is not just Facebook. The folks at Futureworks, an online PR and Communications firm, created the Conversation Prism: a graph that categorizes social networking sites into 21 categories. Each color represents a category and within each category are several networking sites that provide a specific service. But don’t try to memorize the prism, it is constantly being updated and changes as new sites emerge and old sites go away.
So what does it all mean? We have: Social media networks of all types and purposes, Social media gurus saying get on board or get out of the way. Social media experts who talk about hashtags, collective intelligence, lurkers, mashups, Trackback But after doing the research, listening to seminars and talking with people in the know, such as Hannah, I have come to the following conclusion. Social media is good. It just adds some new tools to my communication tool box. This is, after all, just marketing!
Benefits Content can be highly targeted. Can be sent based on interest or location. Content can be prepared in advance. Best Practices Use an e-newsletter service for best results. Give short blurbs of information, and encourage readers to click through for more information. Metrics open rate and click through rate help determine newsletter success. National average open rate is 22 percent. The average click through rate is 6 percent. Subject lines can influence open rates. Strong calls to action and good content can increase click through rates. Limitations E-Newsletters do not allow for conversations or feedback.
Why use Facebook? Most widely-used social network. Excellent information distribution tools. Allows for conversations and engagement Fan Pages vs. Groups Use Facebook organization fan pages rather than groups. Fan pages offer better analytics, engagement and information distribution. Determining Success Post content that encourages fan engagement. Fan pages offer robust metrics that can demonstrate how well your posts are engaging fans. Quality is more important than quantity. 77 percent of Facebook pages have less than 1,000 fans. Limitations Fan Pages are public, and all information is widely available. Fan pages do not offer any tools for private conversations.
What to consider before using Twitter An excellent tool for engaging audience, with both large groups and one-on-one. Genuine engagement requires monitoring, which is very time consuming. Auto-positing tools can reduce time commitment, but prevent genuine engagement. Has its own language/format. Experienced Twitter users can spot those not using Twitter correctly. Twitter is only used by 8 percent of Washington voters. Why use Twitter Great tool for distributing concise information quickly. Monitoring capabilities can allow you to gauge what is being said in real time. Can be used to fill very niche needs. Measurement One of the most difficult social media tools to measure. Several tools that measure different criteria. Establishing specific objectives is the key to measuring the success of a Twitter campaign. Preventing Twitter burnout Use a combination of monitoring tools. Suggestions: TweetDeck, Google Reader and SocialOomph. Monitor prior to starting a Twitter account to help anticipate the time commitment.
Developing good content Write with readers in mind. Keep in mind the three E’s of content: Educate, Entertain and Engage. Video is inherently entertaining and quickly engages the viewer. Promoting your blog Integrate your blog content into your Web site and E-Newsletter. Link to your blog from other tools (Facebook and Twitter.) Interact with other bloggers and link back to your blog. Is your blog healthy? Install Google analytics. Check number of comments.
Finding good content Most used for subscribing to blogs. Also use RSS feeds to monitor news, topics of interest, even video searches. Twitter monitoring Great tool for monitoring Twitter. Feed Twitter searches into your RSS reader. Use advance Twitter search settings to search locally. Blog Subscribers Number of RSS is one indication of a blog’s health.
Social Media and School Districts: More Tools for Communication and Engagement
Tom Eiland Hannah Smith Partner Associate Conkling Fiskum & McCormick, Inc. 503-294-9120 www.cfm-online.com Social Media: More Tools for Communication and Engagement Public Affairs | Public Relations | Research
The Good Old Days Evening newspaper delivery Knowing the reporters by name Press releases that made the news
A new era? <ul><li>Life changes as we know it. </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in the Earth’s axis. </li></ul><ul><li>Cats and dogs no longer fight. </li></ul>September 26, 2006 Facebook opens to everyone age 13 years and older.
Understanding change Internet surpasses newspapers and radio for news. News consumption is a socially-engaging and socially-driven activity, especially online. Participation by consumers comes more through sharing than through contributing news themselves. Pew Research March 2010
Information and the Internet Use of the Internet to get information about local schools is widespread. 2009 All 53% Parents 80% 18 to 54 years 63% King County 52% Puget Sound 57% Clark County 55% Other Western 52% Eastern 48% 87% of voters have Internet access at home or work.
Social Media Key education supporters are using social media. Social Media use among Washington voters. State- Clark Wide County FaceBook or other social networking sites 39% 44% YouTube or other video sharing sites 13% 14% Linked-In 12% 8% Flickr or other photo sharing sites 10% 13% Twitter 8% 10% None 54% 51% FaceBook users: 18 to 34 73% 35 to 54 40% 55+ 27% Parents 48% Dems 45% GOP 44%
So many choices Blogs/Conversations Blog Connections Blog Platforms Micromedia Lifestreams Specific to Twitter SMS Voice Social Networks Niche Networks Customer Service Networks Locations Video Video aggregation Documents Events Music Wiki LiveCasting – Video and Audio Pictures Social Bookmarks Comment and Reputation Theconversationprism.com
Now What? Forget the hype Embrace the change It’s all good It is just marketing
Six Steps to Success <ul><li>Determine your goals </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul><ul><li>Positioning </li></ul>Determine your goals Target and Segment ID and assess tools Develop plan Keep it interesting Measure results
Six Steps to Success <ul><li>Target and segment </li></ul><ul><li>Who will help meet your goals </li></ul><ul><li>No one size fits all resource </li></ul>Determine your goals Target and Segment ID and assess tools Develop plan Keep it interesting Measure results
Six Steps to Success <ul><li>Audit/Inventory tools </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Newspaper, TV, Radio, Events </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contemporary </li></ul>Determine your goals Target and Segment ID and assess tools Develop plan Keep it interesting Measure results
Six Steps to Success <ul><li>Develop the plan </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-media approach </li></ul><ul><li>Consider traditional and contemporary tools </li></ul>Determine your goals Target and Segment ID and assess tools Develop plan Keep it interesting Measure results
Six Steps to Success <ul><li>Keep it interesting </li></ul><ul><li>Think like your target audience </li></ul><ul><li>Make information and content group specific </li></ul>Determine your goals Target and Segment ID and assess tools Develop plan Keep it interesting Measure results
Six Steps to Success <ul><li>Measure results </li></ul><ul><li>Set realistic expectations </li></ul><ul><li>No silver bullet </li></ul><ul><li>Use tool specific metrics </li></ul>Determine your goals Target and Segment ID and assess tools Develop plan Keep it interesting Measure results
Tools and Metrics <ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Why use Facebook? </li></ul><ul><li>Fan Pages vs. Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Determining Success </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul>
Tools and Metrics <ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>What to consider before using Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Why use Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement </li></ul><ul><li>Preventing Twitter burnout </li></ul>
Tools and Metrics <ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Developing good content </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting your blog </li></ul><ul><li>Is your blog healthy? </li></ul>
Tools and Metrics <ul><li>RSS </li></ul><ul><li>Finding good content </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Blog Subscribers </li></ul>
Other Business connections One-on-one Administration/leadership Internal micro-blog Twitter for internal communication General or sub-groups
Bonus Information <ul><li>The following pages summarize results from an online survey conducted by CFM among 36 of 95 WSPRA members. WSPRA provided CFM with email addresses. Interviews were conducted February 25 to March 1, 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>The survey was designed to assess if and how school districts are using social media tools for external and internal communications. </li></ul><ul><li>CFM recognizes the sample is not representative of Washington state school districts. Readers should use the results as a guideline for what social media tools are used and what issues school district communicators face. </li></ul>* Source: JLARC analysis of 2008-09 OSPI enrollment data Survey Distribution Actual Distribution* (295 districts) Less than 1,000 2% 41% 1,000 to 4,999 19% 29% 5,000 to 9,999 27% 10% 10,000 or more 50% 10%