Targeting Your Extension Audience Through Social Media


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A few tips and techniques are shared from Blogworld 2010.  

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  • Hi, my name is Andy Kleinschmidt and for the next 15 minutes I am going to share a few tips and techniques that I learned at Blogworld 2010.  Some of the messages are nothing new to the world of social media, and some of the messages are definitely new to me and should be of value to you.  This presentation will definitely be geared to Extension employees and the insight will be directed at how to connect with their audiences. The specific objectives of this slideset are to review social media best practices and look forward to a few advanced practices.
  • For all the latest work from me, feel free to follow me on twitter at @akleinschmidt. One final note before we begin. There are some products mentioned by brand name. Mention of products by name does not imply endorsement by The Ohio State University nor Ohio State University Extension. Product names are mentioned for educational purposes only.
  • There can be many rules to social media, or few rules, depending on who you ask  One rule that is generally agreed upon that a best practice (in the world of social media) is to have passion.  You must have passion if for no other reason that twitter/facebook/blogging do not follow an 8-5 schedule.  Social media is described as a new revolution by some, and by others it is described as just another way for people to have a conversation. Either way, social media is a continuous stream. You must be willing to have conversations with complete strangers, and at unusual hours and always being positive in doing so.  This requires passion.
  • Without a doubt, the most important thing you should do in social media is listen. This slide is filled with call to action items such as ‘let go’, ‘be genuine’, etc. But the most important call to action is to listen.  This is where you must automate your listening.  It is impossible and unreasonable to ask you to listen live to the entire conversation in the social sphere about your brand, product or deliverable.  But you should have the automated technology available do the listening for you and give you email prompts or other notification when a key word is mentioned. One of the easiest automated tools is google alerts. Go to and type in the search term you are interested in tracking, and let google handle the rest.  There are many more advanced techniques, but the key point is to start somewhere with automated listening.
  • Businesses do good job with managing phone calls, email and traditional correspondences. A gray area seems to lie in this concept of ownership of social media from an organizational perspective. So, who owns social media? The simple answer is that the community owns social media.  But the answer gets a bit trickier when dealing with a large company/organization. Everyone in the organization can be on the frontline of new media, but it is also important to recognize and realize that there are boundaries.
  • In this slide I’ll discuss social media boundaries and provide relevant examples. This diagram represents my interpretation of some boundaries that could exist in an Extension organization with regards to social media. New media moves at the speed of information, and I suggest a bit of diligence when approaching social media. I suggest diligence because it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a casual tweet or short blog post could easily end up on CNN.  I am speaking from experience, and for me this was a great experience and good exposure of the OSUE brand. But the opposite could happen. So, let me lay out some relevant examples of roles in social media: 1) Marketing and PR should clearly have the lead role in major change announcements, crises, official announcements that have organizational implications, 2) Extension Educators and Specialists are clearly subject matter experts, and should freely share information when appropriate, 3) All staff can have a role in listening and sharing, as well as being advocates for the organization, products, information, etc.  What you’ll notice in the diagram as that the roles overlap, and that’s great because ultimately the goal is to share.
  • Content is commodity, and what I mean by that is that anyone in the world can take your content (that you created) and use it to share with their audience. We want our great Extension work shared, but we’d also like to maintain connectivity with the end user.  So how do we do both? In social media there are many ways to achieve that connectivity with the end user.  The single most important factor is to build trust with your audience by being relevant, authentic and transparent.  But it takes a bit more than that to maintain a strong relationship with your end user client. The end user also requires consistent and constant communication from you, the trust agent.  It also means being a part of the conversation, injecting yourself into a conversation about the information you have shared. This means replying on twitter, commenting on blog posts, etc.
  • There is no better way (right now anyway) to maintain constant and consistent connections with your audience than email.  Even with the unprecedented explosion in social and new media (ala Facebook), email remains a major part of online activity. Many users rely on email is a nerve center for updates.  And for business, email remains a major vehicle for system-wide communications for internal and external clients.  Consider Groupon, the group buy company that offers deals on products in your locality. There are several ways to be notified of the ‘deal-of-the-day’, with email being a prominent vehicle.
  • More evidence that email is not dead. This data is complied by Nielsen and is very striking. Prognosticators indicate that email use will drop over time, but I suspect that email will still have some form of role in communication, particularly business communications.
  • So, to manage your email efforts to groups I recommend using an email marketing service. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are examples of email marketing and management services available. It is important to point out that these are NOT spam tools.  It is perfectly OK to use email marketing tools to manage your email. Case in point, if you are sharing your information with a group of clientele on a regular basis (monthly, weekly, etc) you want to do everything you can to make sure that your email is delivered to the end user and not lost in a spam filter, right?  Well, email marketing services employ many tools to give your email the best possible chance of being delivered to the end user.
  • The benefits of using an email marketing service are numerous and extend to several levels.  I wont read these benefits save the last one.  In Extension, the question that always comes up is ‘so what?’  Here’s an example: Team XYZ puts together a monthly email to X hundred recipients and at the end of the year we do a zoomerang that shows _____________ impact. But what about the in-between? What happens from the time you are sending your email to the time you survey your audience.  This is where email marketing services can provide continuous feedback and allow you to make improvements to your email message.
  • Moving beyond email, the tea leaves point very, very strongly to end users moving away from mobile browsers and using mobile apps to access content.  As a result, if you are a content creator, CMS manager, or blogger you must make your content available on a mobile app.  Consider that people are accessing news via apps, paying bills via apps and checking restaurants via apps.  If you have content, you need an app.  Apps are gaining in popularity because they offer numerous advantages over mobile browsers.  Apps are easier to navigate than mobile browsers, are very specific to the content and as a result they are a bit faster than a mobile browser. There are a couple of options you can choose to develop an app for your content.  You can hire an in-house/third party developer, or use a app builder. Cautionary note: if you use a builder make sure you own the name and not the builder owning your name. The app does not need to be complicated, a simple rss feed and contact forum is fine for a version 1.0 app.
  • The question that needs to be answered for the c-suite is ‘What is the Return on Investment for participating in social media?’  Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet program or website you can go to that gives you a dollars and cents answer.  The value of social media is harder to define, but make no mistake, there is value in new media.  Consider that brand equity and community equity have value. Also consider that ‘personal experience’ is rated near the top (or at the top) of reasons why clientele buy/use your brand/information.  There are some ways to capture metrics as I have outlined in the slide.  The first place to begin is to start with measurable objectives. For example, if you have recently launched an app, you would obviously want to capture not only how many times the app has been downloaded but you would want to know the amount of content accessed via the app. Finally, use an automated process to capture testimonials from your community. Testimonials from clients may indeed be the best ROI until something better comes along.
  • Let me conclude this presentation by stating that social media can and is playing an effort is building support, raising awareness, and maintaining loyalty of Extension.  Extension has long been a source of great and practical content for the end user clientele and social media allows not only a dissemination tool, but an engagement component.  Social media outreach does not require a large investment in technology, but social media does require a human resource component. The reality is that social media is not inexpensive, it is a different kind of expensive.
  • Targeting Your Extension Audience Through Social Media

    2. 2. Andy Kleinschmidt Ohio State University Extension @akleinschmidt Mention of product names does not imply endorsement
    4. 4. listen be genuine build community engage add value listen listen listen let go
    5. 5. WHO OWNS social media IN YOUR ORGANIZATION? It depends of course…
    7. 7. CONTENT IS A COMMODITY build trust constant communication consistent communication generate conversations how to stand out in a world filled with content?
    8. 8. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE. image attribution cambodia4kidsorg
    9. 9. image attribution bogenfreund If all U.S. mobile internet time were condensed to one hour… 25 minutes are spent on email the next closest activity is 7 minutes on portals such as google, yahoo, etc source nielsenwire
    11. 11. email marketing services (no, it is not spam) measureable results, analytics stay on the good side of ISPs manage email lists professional looking emails format checks deliverability integration with social sites answers the question, ‘so what?’
    12. 12. image attribution liquidx mobile APPS then now “ Check out this cool site” “ Check out this cool app” faster than browser simple navigation specific ubuildapp appmakr swebapps isites kanchoo yapper sachmanya appbreeder Developer or… App builders:
    13. 13. image attribution eschipul ROI start with measurable objectives quick and dirty examples website visits donations made apps downloaded referrals
    14. 14. CONCLUSION SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT INEXPENSIVE, IT IS A DIFFERENT EXPENSIVE Social Media = loyalty awareness support