Using Social Media to Educate (IBWSS 2012)


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The BoatUS Foundation's presentation from the 2012 IBWSS on Social Media and educating the Boating community.

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  • YouTube video on Social Media and the Boating Industry -
  • When using social media you can have a number of different voices. Speaking as yourself, speaking as yourself talking about your work, and speaking as your organization. In any of these cases it is possible to share too much. A little common sense and two Facebook tools, lists and privacy settings can help avoid this common fear of sharing too much with the wrong people. Lists is the number one tool I use to manage my friends on Facebook. Lists allow you to separate different groups of friends and then post content to individual lists. Yes it can take a little time to set up, but it will be worth it in the long run.
  • Facebook has a whole section dedicated to privacy settings. I encourage anyone on Facebook to spend 10 -15 minutes reviewing their privacy settings. You can control your information on a number of levels from the individual post to your personal information. There are additional settings to explore as well. One I like to point out is “How tags work” this impacts who can see photos of you and who can “tag” you in a photo that could show up on your wall.
  • If you use Facebook for work there is also a professionalism/ethics component. While the areas of social media ethics is relatively new, one clear message is to be transparent in who you are and who you represent. If you are commenting on work related topics, I would suggest at a minimum that your public profile shows who you work for. One relatively new tool for professional is the “Subscribe” feature. If you are concerned about getting friend request as an individual from people you don’t know well personally, the “Subscribe” feature will allow them to see your public posts and nothing else. This is the route a lot of journalists are now taking.
  • If you are communicating for your agency or organization,create a organization page. To do this you need to have senior management by-in, so how do you get this? Federal agencies have support from the President, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Examples of federal pages.State agencies look at budgets for traditional marketing and outreach. Private organizations and non-profits, social media is driving web traffic. 2012 year to date, Facebook is the largest referer to our website after search engines.
  • Once you have an organization page it is easy to switch between using Facebook as an individual and using it as an organization.
  • Just as an individual can have interests, as an organization it is important to “Like” associated groups and partners. This allows you to follow what they are doing and include them in your efforts. I could go on and on about how to build engagement and grow a base of followers, but it really comes down to 5 simple rules.
  • One of the key things that separates social media from traditional forms of outreach is the opportunity for the audience to respond to our message. Listen to what they are saying. Are they posting on your page? Are they commenting on your posts? Don’t just talk at them. Listen. Also monitor who is talking about you. A simple Facebook or Twitter search will quickly reveal any public posts about your organization or agency. This makes it easy to see who is talking about you.
  • Once you are listening, start a dialogue. Reply to comments and ask for input and experiences. Get them to share, stories, photos. Get them to interact with contests, quizzes and events.
  • This isn’t traditional marketing this isn’t talking at people. This is a real conversation. It shouldn’t be formal. Don’t be afraid to show there is an actual person behind the computer.
  • Your audience often has experience that they want to share, Resist the urge to delete and hide posts. Controversial posts can be effective, they often draw the most engagement and discussion, but there is a fine line. Allow negative postings within reason. Let you response to those comments shine.
  • Most importantly, have fun! This is why people come to social media and this is our advantage relative to other groups in social media….Boating is FUN! People want to talk about boating with their friends, share photos and information. Run with it. Don’t take yourself too seriously!
  • As of March 2012 we have nearly 4,000 “likes” Over 1.2 million friends of fansAverage weekly reach of 20,000Top 7% of our industry (non profits) for Likes and InteractionWhile there are a lot of avenues out there, for now we have focused mostly Facebook to start.
  • So what has worked? Allowing the public inside our programs. Our first attempt at this was a year ago with our lifejacket design competition. We had 35 entries and the 15 strongest videos were posted on Facebook for public voting. Who better to tell us what is a life jacket they would wear than the boating public? Some people worried, what if it becomes a popularity contest? Who cares? If we get individuals and groups to share boating safety content and information with their friends and family, isn’t that what it is all about? The opening video told us people are most influenced by their friends and family. We also maintained some control over the process by only posting the strongest videos and having a panel of experts have a say in deciding the overall winners. Another success for us has been our Grassroots Grants program. After seeing the success of the Pepsi Refresh grants program our 21 year old intern suggested we consider public voting for our grants. This is an example where we decided to tweak how we presented the program to better suit social media. In addition to our traditional press release we created this short video.
  • Like the life jacket design competition we wanted to invite the public to be part of a process that had previously be behind closed doors. An internal committee selected the 17 strongest application and they were posted for voting. We used an application that allowed voting on both our website and Facebook page so as not to exclude those not on Facebook. Over 21,000 votes castVoting page visited over 33,000 timesIn the month of voting our “Likes” increased by 400%Post views increased by 1400%On an average day we saw over 1,000 unique visitorsThere was some concern that some groups wouldn’t like the new interactive format but that wasn’t the case. We are running our 2012 Grassroots Grants program much the same way. Projects are currently posted and voting runsthrough March 15th.
  • So beyond our larger programs, what else has worked? Photo contests and giveaways have helped to drive interaction. We have given away a fishing rod and reel, inflatable life jackets and a $2 insulated plastic cup. What amazed us was the size of the prize didn’t really matter. The $2 plastic cup drove nearly as much interaction as the inflatable life jacket. You don’t have to have a huge budget. Fun conversations also work. Here we asked people to guess “Where on Earth” was this image, it was the Miami Convention Center during the Miami Boat show, and you can see we interacted with them in the comments.
  • Using subtle education, instead of being formal. Here is an example where one of our lifejacket loaner sites was featured on the TV show GhostHunters. We posted a clip of the show. It caught people’s attention and as a side benefit, they learned about our life jacket loaner program.
  • It is about providing interesting education content without people feeling like they are being lectured to. Lastly, find ways to relate the content to your audience and get them to interact. Here we posted about BoatU.S. sponsoring the Vessel Safety Check program. Instead of just posting a link to a press release, we asked people to “like” the post if they had or were going to get a vessel safety check. That got us 21 likes!
  • So as important as sharing what has worked is sharing what hasn’t worked.
  • Using Social Media to Educate (IBWSS 2012)

    1. 1. Using Social Media to Educate International Boating and Water Safety Summit March 5, 2012 Susan Shingledecker, BoatU.S. Foundation
    2. 2. What we aim to accomplish• Current Trends in Social Media• Tips for Keeping Your Personal Life Personal and Your Professional Life Professional!• Successes, Flops and Lessons Learned from the BoatU.S. Foundation• Successes, Flops and Lessons Learned from the Panel• Time for Questions
    3. 3. What we will not do• Attempt to impress by confusing you with jargon• Sell you a bunch of snake oil about how this will change the way the world works forever• Pass ourselves off as “gurus” – we’re still learning this stuff too!
    4. 4. Keeping your personal life personal **Always remember that anything you post has the potential to be seen by others. If you wouldn’t say it to your Mom and your Boss – better not say it. **• Common Sense• Using Lists• Privacy Settings
    5. 5. Control who sees each postControl who sees your personal information Check “Edit Settings” for further control
    6. 6. Keeping your professional life professional• Promote what you do not only to your friends but also your industry contacts• Be transparent in who you are – are you being compensated?• Consider using the “Subscribe” feature
    7. 7. Your organization on Facebook
    8. 8. Your organization on Facebook Know when to use Facebook as an individual and when as an org./agency
    9. 9. Your organization on Facebook “Like” related groups and partners, ask them to “Like” you back
    10. 10. RULE #1:LISTEN.
    11. 11. RULE #2:ENGAGE.
    12. 12. RULE #3:BE REAL.
    13. 13. RULE #4:BERESPECTFUL.
    14. 14. RULE #5:HAVE FUN.
    15. 15. LoginREASONS WHY PEOPLE TO FACEBOOK FUN 49% OTHER 3% FRIENDS & FAMILY 32% Source: Pew Internet and American Life Study
    16. 16. BoatU.S. Foundation and Social Media• Social media is just one part of our communications strategy• All staff are expected to use social media – not just one person’s job• Focused on Facebook to start – Approach: • Promote our programs • Give our audience a chance to influence our programs through social media • Highlight partners’ efforts • Engage in an interesting dialogue with boaters on relevant topics• All with the aim of building a following, reaching boaters and serving as a resource for boaters
    17. 17. What has worked?Life Jacket Design Competition • 35 entries • 15 best posted for Voting • 1,500 votes and 1,800 comments on the videos • We saw 800 new “Likes” and post views increased 500%. Panel of expert judges at IBWSS 2011 selected winner based on combination of public voting and judges scores.
    18. 18. What has worked? “I cannot begin to tell you how excited we were to follow the voting process. Each day we watched our voting numbers climb and climb and climb. You could have heard the cheers all across the country from California to Main and from Florida to Michigan.” - USCGA 8CR-119 2012 Grant Voting is currently in progress
    19. 19. What has worked?
    20. 20. What has worked?
    21. 21. What has worked?
    22. 22. What has flopped?• Initially created our page and waited for fans to come to us.• Trying to be too formal• Just posting links without explanation or additional information• Multiple successive posts (3 or more within 10 min)• Questions with right and wrong answers often don’t generate much discussion.• Fundraising generally not successful – must have an active following first.
    23. 23. Lesson Learned• Social media is not a silver bullet.• Just having content isn’t enough – it has to be INTERESTING & RELEVANT• Need to post regularly• It takes time to build and maintain a following• Ask other pages to repost your good content, AND post theirs!• Understand rules and guidelines for campaigns and contests• Ask for interaction• “Like” partners so you can “tag” them in your posts and re-post their content
    24. 24. “There is no such thing as a terrible idea, so don’t be afraid to try. Certain things in social media will be a slam dunk and others will flop, but you can’t succeed without the occasional mistake.” -Scott Kleinberg, Chicago Tribune
    25. 25. ResourcesUsing Lists Settings Feature Promotion Guidelines Agency resources Media Cheat Sheet Media News, Tips and Tricks