Tying Social Media to Your Communications Strategy


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This presentation provides an overview of the social media arena for a higher education audience (news focus), and uses my work with Twitter and York University\'s Research website to illustrate some of the ways social media can be tied to strategic communications.

I made the presentation to Huddle 2010 at the University of Toronto on July 22, 2010.

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  • Mark A. Greenfield introduced me to this succinct graph in his presentation to PSEWeb 2010. Check him out. http://www.markgr.com/
  • Courtesy Mark A. Greenfield
  • If I was a musician making most of my money through tours, I would be also looking for interesting ways to encourage my fans’ enthusiasm over the live concert experience.
  • This is York’s Research website, which I administer.
  • These are the stats for the old research website. I looked for a screen shot to show you how dated it was, but even the Way-Back Internet machine refused to go there. Most alarming were our traffic sources, which were too reliant on direct traffic. These folks had navigated the labyrinth, bookmarked the hell out of what they needed, and never cruised the site again. More power to them.
  • When we launched, the traffic volume and sources improved almost immediately, but I had work to do on the bounce rate.
  • Looking at our content numbers told me the Support section was very popular (not surprising that researchers would want to know how to support their work) and that we had way too many errors. Google Webmaster helped me fix that by identifying redirects as one of the big problems.
  • Search engine traffic is now the highest incoming source to the site. Our traffic has improved even though these stats were captured during the summer term (typically the slowest of the three for university sites since the campus is quieter and most of the students are gone). And the bounce rate is coming down thanks to lower 404 errors and better content on key pages. We have some work to do, but it’s progress.
  • This is a screen grab of the backend of WordPress, which I use to post news content on the site. This particular page shows incoming links.
  • This is Topsy.com, a search engine powered by tweets. My pages were showing up here, courtesy of . . .
  • . . . Twitter, where people were blithely tweeting about my content.
  • This is a screen grab of www.twitter.com/YUresearch, the account I run to promote York University’s research.
  • The last tweet was posted during a NASA mission earlier this year.
  • This is my account on bit.ly, which I use to shorten my links. It also lets me track when others have retweeted them, so I know . . .
  • . . . when @sickkids, who has 16 times the followers I do, picks up a tweet about a joint project between our institutions. They also decided I was worth following, which was great.
  • Looking at bit.ly data over time helps me identify popular stories, so I can be more focused in how I use my time.
  • Tying Social Media to Your Communications Strategy

    1. 1. Tying Social Media to Your Communications Strategy Elizabeth Monier-Williams Research Communications York University Huddle 2010, University of Toronto July 22, 2010
    2. 2. <ul><ul><ul><li>As communicators, everything about the way we work, how we work and the product of that work is changing. </li></ul></ul></ul>The Water Cooler View
    3. 3. The Technology has Changed… . Courtesy Mark A. Greenfield
    4. 4. The Devices are Converging . . . Courtesy Mark A. Greenfield
    5. 5. And Social Media is Exploding
    6. 6. <ul><ul><ul><li>You are likely familiar with these popular social media platforms . . . </li></ul></ul></ul>As University Communicators
    7. 13. Some Drop Faster than Others <ul><li>Friendster </li></ul><ul><li>MySpace </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul><ul><li>While the rules for best practices with others change daily. </li></ul>
    8. 14. Isaiah Mustafa must be really tired. He filmed hundreds of commercials in 48 hours as part of Old Spice’s campaign to relaunch their brand through Internet domination. They’re also well written, which is impressive considering how quickly they were made in response to tweets by celebrity and regular tweeters.
    9. 15. Bon Jovi in Toronto on Tuesday, July 20
    10. 16. used youtube fan footage of people singing Livin’ on a Prayer
    11. 17. as the ultimate shout-out moment. Look at the equal visual weighting given to the fans and band. Note the customization for the local audience. How would you feel if you were one of those women and present at this show?
    12. 18. BJ’s Social Media Lessons <ul><li>We want to connect with our user group on their terms. </li></ul><ul><li>We pay attention to what they’re doing online. </li></ul><ul><li>We value what they’re doing. </li></ul><ul><li>We publicly reward their contributions in a cool way. </li></ul><ul><li>Our fans are awesome. Together, we are doing exciting things. </li></ul>
    13. 19. <ul><li>In the era of social media, people use technology to get what they need from each other, not traditional institutions. </li></ul>But Web 2.0 Also Means -- Groundswell , Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff
    14. 20. Yet . . . <ul><li>We’re still using social media to do the things we’ve always done: </li></ul><ul><li>Talk, gossip and keep in touch </li></ul><ul><li>Learn and share </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange ideas and data </li></ul><ul><li>Broker new relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Make transactions </li></ul>
    15. 21. Back to the Bread and Butter
    16. 22. Launched November 2009 <ul><li>Users wanted: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research news, announcements and multimedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding and award information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Searchable researcher database </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficient and intuitive content reach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Social Media) </li></ul></ul>
    17. 23. Team’s Approach <ul><li>Strategy: Modify a previous focus on individual researchers to focus more on the research itself, the outcomes and the successes in the community. </li></ul><ul><li>SEO-optimized </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Logical and coherent </li></ul><ul><li>Decent looking </li></ul>
    18. 24. Benchmarking
    19. 25. Benchmarking II
    20. 26. Content Assessment
    21. 27. Here We Go a Bug-Hunting . . .
    22. 28. Then I Noticed Something
    23. 29. And It was Coming from Here
    24. 30. Which Was in Turn, Coming from Here
    25. 31. So I Had the “Duh” Moment <ul><li>If my content is showing up on Twitter without me doing anything, </li></ul><ul><li>maybe I should be doing something with Twitter. </li></ul>
    26. 32. /YUResearch <ul><li><screen grab> </li></ul>
    27. 33. Social Media Goals <ul><li>Establish a legitimate presence for York Research on Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Push content to receptive ears </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other campus units </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Partners and collaborators </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research funders </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Joe and Jane public </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Contribute to global discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Shake things up </li></ul><ul><li>Be the change </li></ul>
    28. 34. 21 Rules for Social Media Engagement <ul><li>10. Don’t speak at audiences through canned messages. Introduce value, insight and direction with each engagement. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: http://mashable.com/2010/05/18/rules-social-media-engagment/ </li></ul>
    29. 35. Social Media Writing <ul><li>Social media pages must read like social media pages. </li></ul><ul><li>What do people gain from hanging out with you online? </li></ul><ul><li>Take part in global discussions. (e.g., Twitter) </li></ul>
    30. 36. Neat Stuff Happened
    31. 37. More Recently . . .
    32. 39. Measurement Matters <ul><li>How do your users come to you? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they leave with what they wanted? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There’s no point to making changes if you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>aren’t measuring their impact on your </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>user-group and adjusting as you go. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    33. 40. Measurement Matters 2.0 <ul><li>What value do social media channels add to your communications strategy? </li></ul><ul><li>Which platforms fit with your vision? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you synching social media content to your web content through logical channels? </li></ul><ul><li>Do users leave with what they wanted? </li></ul>
    34. 42. What Would BJ Do? <ul><li>Consider what your social media activity (or complete lack of presence) tells your audience about: </li></ul><ul><li>Your institution </li></ul><ul><li>How you function </li></ul><ul><li>What you value </li></ul><ul><li>Where they fit </li></ul><ul><li>How you’re moving forward </li></ul>
    35. 43. Consider Social Media Resources on Your Campus <ul><li>Libraries? </li></ul><ul><li>WordPress blog = syndicated content with minimal effort </li></ul><ul><li>What’s your recruitment office up to? (Probably more and with more people) </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni networks </li></ul><ul><li>Other channels for social and public profile specific to your school </li></ul>Leverage the hell out of your campus relationships. You are far more powerful working together than you are alone.
    36. 44. The Caveat <ul><li>Don’t Get Too Comfortable </li></ul>
    37. 45. <ul><li>If you’re a university or college, not all the emerging social media platforms are as simple to start as getting a Facebook or Twitter profile. </li></ul><ul><li>Or as easy to influence (infiltrate) . </li></ul>Popular Forums are Shifting
    38. 46. <ul><li>TED </li></ul>
    39. 49. Bonus Round (in which Metaphors Go a Little Crazy) <ul><li>Social Media is a step </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t confuse it with the music (technology) </li></ul><ul><li>Or the dance (people being people) </li></ul>
    40. 50. Social Media is a Bit Like Surfing: The Next Wave is Always Coming <ul><ul><li>SEO, Google’s rankings and social influence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geo-locating tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three-dimensional and immersive space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long-anticipated explosion of mobile use/browsing in Canada </li></ul></ul>
    41. 51. <ul><li>“ Mobile is as different from the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>as TV is from radio” </li></ul>Your Moment of Zen -- Tomi Ahonen Courtesy Mark A. Greenfield
    42. 52. Feedback is Always Welcome <ul><li>Elizabeth Monier-Williams </li></ul><ul><li>At York University </li></ul><ul><li>www.twitter.com/yuresearch or [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Otherwise </li></ul><ul><li>http://ca.linkedin.com/in/elizabethmonierwilliams </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Thank you