Take The Lead Social Media Guide

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  • 1. Social Media Guide Take the Lead http://www.cdc.gov http://www.flu.gov 11-10-09
  • 2. Contents Introduction...............................................................................................................................................1 What Is Social Media?............................................................................................................................1 What Can You Do With Social Media?...................................................................................................1 How To Use This Guide..........................................................................................................................2 First: Learn and Plan................................................................................................................................4 Build a Strategy.......................................................................................................................................4 Form a Social Media Team.....................................................................................................................4 Make a Time Commitment......................................................................................................................4 Second: Set Up Social Media Tools..........................................................................................................5 Ning.com: Create Your Own Social Network.........................................................................................5 How To Create a Network...................................................................................................................6 Building Your Network.......................................................................................................................9 Member Features...............................................................................................................................10 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................12 Utilize Existing Social Networks...........................................................................................................13 Facebook...........................................................................................................................................13 MySpace...........................................................................................................................................14 LinkedIn............................................................................................................................................16 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................16 Third: Listen and Comment...................................................................................................................17 Social Media Monitoring.......................................................................................................................17 How to Create a Social Media Monitoring System...........................................................................17 How To Use Your Social Media Monitoring System........................................................................22 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................23 Fourth: Conduct Outreach and Promotion...........................................................................................24 Blogger Outreach..................................................................................................................................24 Why Engage in Blogger Outreach?...................................................................................................24 How To Reach Out to Bloggers........................................................................................................24 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................26 How To Blog.........................................................................................................................................26 STEP 1: Get Started..........................................................................................................................27 STEP 2: What To Blog About...........................................................................................................27 STEP 3: Jump In; Share Content.......................................................................................................27 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................27 Twitter...................................................................................................................................................29 STEP 1: Get Started With Twitter.....................................................................................................29 STEP 2: Select a User Name and Create Your Account....................................................................30 STEP 3: Create Your Twitter Profile.................................................................................................30 Social Media Guide • Take the Lead ii
  • 3. STEP 4: Find Friends and Start Connecting......................................................................................30 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................31 Other Tools for Sharing Content Online................................................................................................31 Additional Resources........................................................................................................................32 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Flu Outbreak Tools...................................32 Social Media Guide • Take the Lead iii
  • 4. Introduction This guide provides suggestions for and instruction on using social media to promote community discussions and activities around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Take the Lead campaign and about flu outbreak preparedness and response, including for 2009 H1N1 flu. It is meant for community leaders and partners with an interest in raising public awareness about the importance of flu outbreak preparedness and response, engaging citizens to take actions towards preparedness and response, and organizing activities locally. What Is Social Media? Social media is a term to describe use of the Internet to instantly collaborate, share information, and have conversations about ideas and causes people care about. Facebook, MySpace, blogs, and Twitter are all examples of popular social media technologies. Some ideas to keep in mind about social media are as follows: Social media is accessible to anyone online. Most social media tools are free, but there is a cost: time. Conversations and two-way communications are expected. What Can You Do With Social Media? Social media can play a critical role in boosting local networking and organizing efforts, enabling online and offline conversations in a community, and organizing events and groups. The barriers to entry are low, and it is inexpensive to participate. The potential uses of social media in your community include the following: Making connections and collaborations with other partners and community members Organizing and promoting flu preparedness activities and events offline and online Sharing information, successes, and lessons learned Spreading the word about the importance of preparedness for flu outbreaks Motivating individuals to take action by providing them with tools and support Social media may be particularly helpful in promoting local flu outbreak preparedness, especially for 2009 H1N1 flu and the Take the Lead campaign. Because the situation in your community may be evolving rapidly, social media can provide your organization with an efficient way to get new, community-specific information out quickly to large numbers of people. In addition, since some of the highest rates of infection with 2009 H1N1 have occurred in children and young adults (who also tend to be the heaviest users of social media), social media may be the ideal tool to reach some major target audiences. Also, if your community does experience a widespread outbreak of H1N1 flu and schools are dismissed, people are sick and staying home, and/or social gatherings are cancelled, social media provides an opportunity to “meet” and exchange information from home. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 1
  • 5. Just over one-third (35%) of American adult Internet users have created a profile on an online social network, four times as many as 3 years ago. Journalists use social media for story ideas. More than 29% report regularly reading five or more blogs to research desired topics and more than 75% of journalists say they use social media to research stories, compared with about 67% last year. Two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit social networking or blogging sites, accounting for almost 10% of all Internet time and overtaking e-mail as a form of communication. How To Use This Guide If you are new to social media, read through the entire guide first to learn the basic concepts. You will find this guide is organized into several different sections. We recommend you follow the sections in order; however, this guide can be used in any way that you find useful. 1) Learn and plan. The key to success is planning before you start. Developing a strategy will determine which tactics work best for you. Forming a team and making a time commitment will ensure that it all gets done. 2) Set up social media tools. In this section, you will find instructions on how to get started with various social media tools, including setting up profiles to help you build a framework for your partner and flu preparedness network. 3) Listen and comment. Learn how to conduct social media monitoring to find online conversations about flu preparedness in your community, an essential first step before active social media outreach. 4) Conduct outreach and promotion. Once you have built social profiles and monitored social media conversations, you are ready for the next level of active social media outreach and promotion. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 2
  • 6. Four Steps for Social Media Success Learn and Plan Build a Strategy Form a Social Media Team Make a Time Commitment Set Up Social Media Tools Ning.com: Create Your Own Social Network Utilize existing social networks: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn Listen and Comment Social Media Monitoring Conduct Outreach and Promotion Blogger Outreach How to Blog Twitter Other Tools for Sharing Content Online Social Media Do’s Social Media Don’ts Be transparent and authentic Speak in “press release” verbiage Share Talk at your audience (one-way communication) Be relevant Blast mass messages Engage in two-way conversations Broadcast one-way messages Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 3
  • 7. First: Learn and Plan Build a Strategy Before you leap into using the tools outlined in the rest of this guide, you should think about your strategy. You should determine the following: Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do? What tools are your target audiences already using? What does your audience need? Goals? What are you trying to accomplish? How much time are you able to commit to implementing your strategy? Which tactics will best help you reach your goals? Examples of ways that you could social media to promote flu outbreak preparedness and mobilize your community include the following: Building your partner network Creating virtual preparedness teams Organizing activities to store medical supplies Sharing ideas for making a family plan Organizing regular meetings to prepare your neighborhood Providing regular updates on the progress of the “Take the Lead” campaign in your community Sending out daily or weekly “tips” for how to prepare for flu outbreaks quickly and inexpensively Finding and mobilizing members of the community already interested in flu preparedness Form a Social Media Team Ideally, social media activities will be coordinated with other partners working on flu outbreak preparedness activities. If multiple partners are using social media, you may want to form a social media team and designate who will be doing what. Important questions include the following: Who is leading your effort? Who is helping? What roles are you taking on? How will you coordinate roles and tasks with partners using social media? Make a Time Commitment Part of deciding what you want from social media will depend on time. Developing and implementing social media strategies take time: time to build up, time to maintain, and time to grow. Some strategies are Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 4
  • 8. more time-consuming than others. As your strategy develops, you may wonder how to decide which tools to use to accomplish your goals. The following sample chart can help you decide based on your objectives and, in the final column, time commitment. Contact and Organize Coordinate converse campaign Get Recruit Raise partner with other meetings people to local awareness/ Time Tool Page activities partners and events your event volunteers outreach commitment Ning: Do-It-Yourself 5 X X X X Moderate Social Network Facebook 12 X X X X X Moderate MySpace 14 X X X X X Moderate LinkedIn 15 X X Moderate Social Media Monitoring & 16 X X Lowest Commenting Blogger Outreach 24 X X X Moderate Blogging 26 X X X Highest Twitter 29 X X X X Moderate User-Generated 32 X X Moderate Content Second: Set Up Social Media Tools Ning.com: Create Your Own Social Network Ning is a do-it-yourself social network that allows you to create and discover social networks for specific interests. A focused social network can help you connect with others in your community working to prepare for a future flu outbreak. Note: Each community only needs one niche preparedness network. If you are not building your community’s network and if your community already has a flu outbreak preparedness Ning social network, please skip to Member Features, page 9. Why create a flu outbreak social network? Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 5
  • 9. It’s easy and free for anyone to create a network and invite others to join. A simple wizard guides you through steps to customize your network. Out-of-the-box features include forums, blogs, e-mailing, event, and video- and photo-sharing applications to facilitate organizing and outreach. You can use it to organize offline activities, as a virtual meeting place, for coalition building, to e-mail all of your network members, and much more. How To Create a Network STEP 1: Set Up a Ning.com Account Visit http://www.ning.com. Sign up for an account, or sign in if you already have an account. Enter your name, e-mail address, chosen password, and birthday. Create a simple profile by uploading a photo. Describe your interests in a few sentences. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 6
  • 10. STEP 2: Create Your Flu Outbreak Preparedness Network Once you are signed in, you can create a network. Name your network. Your community will see this when they log in. Then choose a Web address; this will be the direct URL. STEP 3: Customize Your Network Social Network Keywords Select customize your network. Choose the following: Keyword suggestions: Flu outbreak preparedness – Public (recommended) or private H1N1 virus – A tagline (appears under the network name) Preparedness city name – A description (one paragraph flu city name appearing on your site and on e-mails “Take the Lead” you send from the network) – Keywords (this helps other Ning users find your network) Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 7
  • 11. Add features. You can drag and drop any page elements to suit your needs. Edit the appearance. Choose how you want your page to look; select next. Recommended Features Blogs Forums Events Video- and Photo- sharing Capabilities Text Box Get Badges Groups Choose user profile questions for your members. People who join your network will need to answer these questions. Try to keep them as simple as possible, such as their organization, job, or interests. The answers to these questions will be available on their profiles for everyone else to see. You are now ready to launch! You can go back and edit any of your original choices later from the Manage tab. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 8
  • 12. Control Panel Add and remove features, such as events and blogs Change site appearance and privacy settings Send a “broadcast message” to every member of your network Import photos from a Flickr account Manage front page of network Access site statistics to track visitors and trends TIP! Use “Features” to add a text box to your page to add any text and links you want. You can use the text box to introduce your network to newcomers and offer links to your most important pages. Building Your Network Using Your Network STEP 1: Add Content Plan events and meetings, one-time and ongoing Add events Post regular discussion topics, ask questions Write a blog post to elicit responses Post discussion topics Share information, the latest news, documents, and lessons learned STEP 2: Invite Members To Join Send weekly or urgent updates to all Invite members by e-mail address members at once or contacts from your imported address book STEP 3: Communicate Regularly With Members Create new content weekly Ask questions to stir conversations Message members with updates Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 9
  • 13. Member Features Social Networking Functions Members can create a simple profile. Each member can Invite friends, Set privacy settings, and Manage a message center. Photo and Video Sharing Upload photos and video from your computer, mobile phone, Flickr account, or any online video sharing service. Discussion Forums Conversations and social interaction tends to center on discussion boards. Try to post relevant topics to your network and participate in other discussions. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 10
  • 14. User Blogs Keep members engaged with blog posts. Create posts including photos Moderate comments and manage existing blog posts See “Tips for Managing Your Own Blog” on page 24 Events Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 11
  • 15. How To Promote Your Network Add a link to your network in your e-mail signature Feature your network in every e-newsletter you send Add badges to other social networking sites Include a link to your network when you comment on blogs Recruit members from the other social networks discussed in this guide Additional Resources Getting Started on Ning—Ning.com Ning Network FAQs—Ning.com Guide to creating your own social network on Ning—Master New Media Nonprofits and Ning—Beth Kanter Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 12
  • 16. Utilize Existing Social Networks Social networking sites are Internet communities where members create profiles, connect to others, and share multimedia and information on the network, such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn.1 If you and most of your audience or local community are already active on an existing social network such as Facebook, you may want to use that network to organize activities and share information. With any social network, if you choose to participate, you should be ready to commit to communicating regularly in the network about your topic or event. See the following chart to find pros and cons of and features from three social networks—Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn—that can help you plan, organize, and communicate with your audience. Social network Audience Pros Cons Facebook Varied across population Extremely user-friendly Amount of applications can segments; more than 60 million Easy to form groups and be overwhelming active (logged on in past 3 days) communicate w/ a wide Full customization requires U.S. users; over-30 audience is network knowledge of HTML growing Popularity is increasing Ability to create a community Default page setup MySpace A younger audience compared to Your audience may be Decreasing popularity Facebook and LinkedIn, primarily more active on Usually difficult to recruit between 18 and 34 MySpace, especially large community network high school students More “obvious” Users expect less frequent advertisements updates; more static Search engine limited for pages finding community LinkedIn Primarily a business audience Information sharing Limited audience among professionals Established flu preparedness groups to learn from Facebook Facebook (http://www.facebook.com) is a highly popular social network with more than 60 million active (as of March 2009). It is community-oriented—members get information quickly from their friends’ activity in the Facebook News Feed and can see what others with similar interests are doing. If you already have an individual Facebook account, you can use many of the networks’ built-in features to share information and organize events. You must be logged in to your Facebook account to access these features. 1 Pew Internet and American Life Project (2007, January 3). Pew internet net project data memo: re: social networking websites and teens: an overview. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 13
  • 17. Facebook features Feature Uses Find it Share Share links, photos, videos, and status updates with your Facebook home page friends. What’s on Your Mind? Box Groups Create groups for your flu outbreak preparedness community Settings Menu or events. Make announcements, join discussion groups, or Select Application Settings share pictures. Select Groups Create a New Group Search Facebook to find and participate in existing groups. Causes Create social movements for a cause and raise money. Search Facebook for “Causes” Select Causes and Add this Application Under Find Causes, select Start a Cause Events Create events, add pictures, and invite your contacts to join. Settings Menu You can post details of events in your profile so people can Select Application Settings RSVP. Click on Events Select Create Event For Organizations: Organizations can update community members through the In bottom right-hand navigation bar, Public profiles News Feed. Spread the word to others outside of your select Advertising organization about upcoming events, important Select Pages tab announcements, or fundraising efforts, including calls to Select Create a Page action, recent news, or upcoming events Organizations: Spotlight on Public Profiles Public profiles for organizations are similar to personal Facebook profiles. Members become fans of the page and can choose to receive updates in their News Feed. Facebook offers a complete guide for organizations on setting up a public profile: http://www.facebook.com/advertising/?pages Public Profile Tips: Facebook public profile pages act more like regular user profiles; they’re integrated with fans’ News Feeds. Publisher and Wall: Use the Publisher on the Wall tab to update your Status with calls to action, recent news, or upcoming conference information. You can also use this to create photo albums or videos or post links to interesting content. Share, Like, and Commenting: Remind your “fans” to participate on your public profile. The more people share, like, or comment on your content the wider distribution you will receive through the News Feed. Try to post engaging, relevant content at a pace that is steady without being overwhelming to the people connected to you. Targeted updates: In addition to News Feed distribution, you can send targeted updates to your supporters and followers about upcoming events, important announcements, or fundraising efforts within specific geographical areas. Keep updates flowing. MySpace MySpace (http://www.myspace.com) is another large social network with more than 200 million registered profiles (as of March 2009) that you can use to gain supporters and encourage supporters to Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 14
  • 18. take action. If you have a MySpace account, the following features can help you get the word out about your flu outbreak preparedness activities. Feature Uses Find it Bulletins Notify your friends all at once about events and news. Under Friends Menu Bulletins, Post Bulletin Impact Helps nonprofit organizations and builds partnerships Visit http://www.myspace.com/aplaceforimpact for social causes, including a category for health and Select Impact Signup safety. Profile 2.0 Create a cleaner, more organized profile that is easier Under Profile tab, select Edit Profile to modify without html. Select Profile 2.0 Blogs Update your friends regularly with blog entries. You Under Profile tab, select My Blog can summarize past events and let people know about future campaigns. Events One more way to notify people about upcoming online Under More tab, select Events and offline events and how to participate. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 15
  • 19. LinkedIn LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) is a professional social network geared toward those who are interested in keeping up with their business contacts and connecting with others in their fields of interest. If you already have a LinkedIn account, you may find the following features useful for information sharing, discussion, and planning. You must be signed in to LinkedIn to access the features. Feature Uses Find it Groups You can create and join groups related to flu Visit http://www.linkedin.com/home?myGroups preparedness and post messages for Select Create a Group discussion. When someone joins a group, Search groups to find existing related groups to recruit they display a graphic badge on their profile members that shows they are a member. Question and You can post flu-preparedness-related In the main top navigation menu, select Answers Answer questions such as “What has your business Search for H1N1 and participate or post a new topic done to prepare for flu outbreaks?” in question-and-answer forums. Social Networking Tips Keep the conversations going. Update your statuses and post notes to your network with relevant information on a regular basis. Ask for action. On your social networking home page, ask your network to take specific actions such as linking to your Web site, joining your campaign, or subscribing to your newsletter. Be sure to post engaging, relevant content at a pace that is steady without being overwhelming to the people connected to you. Additional Resources Tool Box Social Networks—We Are Media Social Networking in Plain English—Common Craft Social Networks and Government—Webcontent.gov Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 16
  • 20. Third: Listen and Comment Social Media Monitoring Social media monitoring is a way of listening to what people are saying online that is relevant to your flu outbreak preparedness activities. This information may be found in blog posts, social networks, Twitter, and other Web sites of interest. You can find out as soon as something new is posted online related to flu outbreaks, disaster preparedness, your community, and your organization or campaign. Many free tools are available online to help you monitor for the keywords of your choice. Why Use Social Media Marketing? You can know what people in your community and elsewhere are saying about flu outbreaks and your preparedness activities to give you an idea of their knowledge and attitudes. You will find opportunities to respond to questions, engage in conversations, correct misperceptions, and otherwise reach out to assist people with flu outbreak preparedness. The feedback can help direct your strategy and activities in the most effective ways. You can find the people in your community who would be most interested in being part of your online and in-person flu outbreak preparedness network. You will stay on top of the latest news related to flu outbreaks so you will be better able to knowledgeably engage your community in preparedness activities. How to Create a Social Media Monitoring System STEP 1: Set-Up an RSS Feed Reader RSS feeds allow you to easily subscribe to content from all over the Web and view it in one place. You do this using an RSS feed reader like Google Reader, Bloglines, or Netvibes. Because most people already have a Google account, we will demonstrate how to do this with Google Reader, but any feed reader you prefer is fine. Go to http://www.google.com/reader. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 17
  • 21. If you already have a Google account, go ahead and log in. Otherwise, sign up for a free account. This just requires an e-mail address and password. Now you are ready to start finding content to add to your reader. To make it easier to add a feed that you come across on a news site, blog, or other Web page, set up the Subscribe button in your browser toolbar. First click on Settings in the upper right, next to your e-mail address. Then click on Goodies. Under the Subscribe as You Surf heading, drag the Subscribe button to your bookmarks toolbar. This way, whenever you find a Web page with a feed that you want to subscribe to, you can click on this button and easily add the feed to Google Reader. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed by clicking on the orange RSS logo on the page or in your browser’s address bar. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 18
  • 22. STEP 2: Set Up Google Alerts Google Alerts are an easy way to receive notification via RSS feed (or you can set them up to come via e-mail) whenever your keywords of interest appear on a blog, in the news, on a Web page, or other locations online. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts. Enter the search terms you would like to track. You will need to set up a separate alert for each word or phrase. Select Comprehensive as the type if you would like to track news, Web, and blogs together, or you can also track each separately, as well as videos or Google Groups. If you are receiving the alerts via your RSS feed, you will want them on an “as-it-happens” delivery schedule. If you choose to receive them via e-mail, you can decide, based on the volume, whether an as- it-happens, once-a-day, or once-a-week schedule is best for you. Same-day alerts let you respond in a timely manner if necessary. STEP 3: Set Up a Twitter Search Feed Choosing Keywords To Track The keywords you track will be related to the topic of flu outbreak preparedness, particularly in the context of your own community. For all words to be included, you do not need quotation marks. If you would like a specific phrase, use quotation marks around it. Some suggestions include the following: Flu preparedness Flu vaccines 2009 H1N1 flu Preparedness city name flu city name “Take the Lead” Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 19
  • 23. Go to http://search.twitter.com. Enter the terms you would like to search on Twitter. You will need to create a feed for each word or phrase separately. When you have the search results, click on the link on the upper right that says “Feed for this query.” This will generate an RSS feed that you can subscribe to with your feed reader. STEP 4: Subscribe to Relevant News/Blog Feeds In addition to searches for specific keywords, it is also a good idea to scan relevant blogs or news sources to stay informed and catch items that might have been missed by your keywords. The specific feeds that you select may be a combination of blogs and news sources related to flu outbreak preparedness and those about your specific community. Go to http://www.technorati.com. Enter your keywords in the search box. You can narrow down the results in different ways: – By blog posts that contain those keywords – By blogs on that subject – By photos or videos – By the tags that people have used to describe the posts/blogs – By the “authority” of the blog (number of other pages that link to it) – By language You can click on any of the results for more information about each blog to determine whether it is valuable to add to your feed reader. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 20
  • 24. When you click through to the blog and decide to subscribe, either click on a link on the sidebar that says something like “Subscribe to this Blog,” click on the orange RSS symbol, or click on the Subscribe button in your browser toolbar and it will be added to your feed reader. You can also explore a blog’s sidebar (the column[s] to the side with more information about the blog) to find other recommended blogs on the topic. Google Blog Search is another good resource for looking for relevant blogs. In addition to blogs, you can also add news feeds from your local newspaper or news stations. Though they do not offer RSS feeds, you can also search message boards (Boardreader.com) and wikis (wiki.com or Qwika.com) manually for your keywords. Finding Bloggers and Twitterers in Your Community The best way to find local bloggers is by searching Technorati or Google Blog. Search for your city or community name, and then check the sidebars of those blogs for others who are also writing about local issues. Several resources exist for finding local people and those interested in particular topics on Twitter: WeFollow—http://wefollow.com/ Twellow—http://www.twellow.com/ Twitterpacks—http://twitterpacks.pbwiki.com/ Twitterlocal—http://www.twitterlocal.net/ LocalTweeps—http://www.localtweeps.com/ TwitterGrader—http://twitter.grader.com/search/ Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 21
  • 25. How To Use Your Social Media Monitoring System STEP 1: Check Your RSS Feed Reader Daily or Several Times During the Day When you log in to Google Reader, you will see the feeds you are subscribed to on the left. The bold entries indicate unread new content. When you click on one of the feeds, you will see the new items in the main window on the right. If you would like the new posts to become unbolded when you scroll past them (rather than having them remain in your feed reader), you can adjust this setting. Go to Settings on the top right (next to your e- mail address). In the Preferences tab, go to Scroll Tracking and check the box next to “In expanded view, mark items as read when you scroll past them.” As you read the posts in each feed, you have the option to mark them with a star to save in your Starred Items folder. You can also share items with others through your account or e-mail them. If you would like to categorize and organize posts of interest, add keywords with the Add Tags feature. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 22
  • 26. STEP 2: Decide How You Will Respond to Each Item A large number of the items caught in your social media monitoring net will not be of relevance or interest to you and can be ignored. Many of the others can be considered “information only,” and once you have seen them you do not need to take any action on them (or you can share them with your team members). When you find people talking online about topics like flu outbreaks and community preparedness, you will need to decide whether it is a good opportunity to respond. Some reasons to respond to online posts or comments include the following: – To let people who might be interested know about your local network – To praise or thank people who are getting the word out about preparedness – To answer questions that are asked about flu outbreak preparedness – To correct misperceptions that are stated as facts – To address criticisms of your network or activities STEP 3: Respond to Selected Items Ideally, you would respond to each item on the same social media site on which it was posted. So, for a blog post, you would respond in the comments section for that post. For Twitter “tweets,” you should have a Twitter account from which you can respond (see Twitter section for more details). Sometimes it will make more sense to respond with an e-mail privately. Some bloggers do not enable their comments and are only reachable via e-mail. They may decide to post your response as an update on their blog themselves. Or you may wish to have a private conversation with a blogger or Web site manager before making a public response. For news items that come from more traditional journalism sources online, such as newspapers or wire services, you can write a letter to the editor or fill out a feedback form on their Web sites with your response. STEP 4: Continue the Conversation If you do leave blog comments, reply on Twitter, or send a letter, make sure you follow up to see if the original poster or other readers respond to your comments. Continuing the conversation is important and should not be limited to a one-shot response. Several online services exist that can help you keep track of the comments you leave on blogs or news posts, and show when new comments arrive. These include Commentful (http://commentful.blogflux.com/) and coComment (http://www.cocomment.com/). On Twitter, you can create a RSS feed for replies to your tweets. Just use Twitter Search to search for “@username” and click the option to create a feed. Additional Resources Social Media Listening Literacy for Nonprofits—Beth Kanter Got Your Listening Ears On? How to Listen to Your Audience Using Social Media—Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer Module 1: Listening—We Are Media Wiki Wrangling your RSS Feeds—Amy Sample Ward Top Ten Free Monitoring Tools—Dan Schawbel Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 23
  • 27. American Red Cross Case Study—Wendy Harmon Fourth: Conduct Outreach and Promotion Blogger Outreach When you have information you want to get out to your community about flu outbreak preparedness, your campaign, or events, bloggers can be a valuable resource. Reaching out to bloggers to get them interested in the issue can result in blog posts that are seen by thousands of readers, comments and conversations with your audience, and links from other blogs or news outlets to the story. Because bloggers are usually not journalists, and are writing about what they feel passionate about, it is often easier to achieve positive results in the form of blog posts than to get coverage in the traditional news outlets. Why Engage in Blogger Outreach? Many people in your community read blogs on topics of personal and professional interest. Blog posts can reach a high position in search engine results because of the links they get from other blogs and Web sites, so your audience will be able to find your information when they are searching online. Bloggers are often looking for new and different topics to cover that will be of interest to their readers. As a social media tool, blogs provide opportunities for people to engage around a topic through responding in comments, posting about it on their own blogs, or sharing the information via their social networks. Well-known bloggers in a particular professional field or community may have a substantial amount of influence in persuading readers to engage in preparedness activities. How To Reach Out to Bloggers STEP 1: Compile a List of Bloggers That Cover Topics Related to Flu Outbreak Preparedness and/or Your Community. Using the methods outlined in the Social Media Monitoring section, identify the blogs that are most relevant to flu preparedness or community issues. For each blog, read over at least the last 5 to 10 posts to make sure that the information you are pitching them is relevant to what they write about. Find the blogger’s e-mail address and note whether they provide guidelines about how they prefer to be contacted. STEP 2: Introduce Yourself to Those on Your Blogger List. The key to getting blog coverage is developing an ongoing relationship with bloggers. One of the best ways to start that relationship is by commenting on their blog. Find a post that you especially enjoyed or learned from and leave a substantive comment with your thoughts (more than just “great post!”). If you can find a flu outbreak preparedness angle that ties in with that post, include that in your comments as well. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 24
  • 28. Over time, until you have something specific that you are proposing the blogger write about, continue to read the blog on a regular basis and leave comments as appropriate. STEP 3: When You Have Something to Promote, Contact the Bloggers via E-Mail. Blogger Outreach Dos and Don’ts Do: Send the bloggers on your list a personalized e- mail that includes information on the issue in Read the blogs before you contact the which you think they’d be interested and why it bloggers. is appropriate for their specific blog or audience. Personalize your e-mails to the bloggers. Provide a URL they can link to that includes all Write like a person rather than a press release. the information they need to write their blog Offer the bloggers something of value to them post. If you have other multimedia resources and their readers. like video, photos, or audio, provide information on how to access them. Make it as easy as possible for them to write their post by providing the information and Let the bloggers know who to get in touch with links they need. if they have further questions or would like to Be respectful of their time and effort. Most interview someone within the project, and bloggers do not get paid for blogging and do provide direct contact information. it on top of a full-time job because they are If they do write about your topic, thank them passionate about the topic. and promote the link to their post on your Don’t: community’s preparedness Ning group, your Act like it’s the blogger’s job to write a post own blog, or Twitter account. about your topic. Monitor the comments on those posts Blast a generic press release to your list of and respond with your own comments bloggers. when appropriate. Assume that each blogger will easily see the STEP 4: Continue the Relationship on an relevance of your topic to their blog or Ongoing Basis. audience without your making it clear and personal. Over time, if you continue to read and Follow up a pitch with multiple e-mails urging comment on the blogs on your list, you them to write about your issue. One follow- will develop a relationship that makes it up e-mail is acceptable if you have an easier to informally share information established relationship with them. and ask them to post it on their blog. Send an e-mail asking whether they wrote a The bloggers may become interested in post about your topic. You need to use your being more involved in flu outbreak social media monitoring to catch it when it preparedness, and perhaps in being part comes out. of your online social network or coalition. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 25
  • 29. Additional Resources Blogger Relations Series: A Successful Blogger Relations Strategy—Toby Bloomberg Blogger Outreach—Beth Kanter Connecting With Bloggers (pdf)—Free Range Graphics Studio The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases—Brian Solis How To Blog Blogging is another way to show how you and your organization are up to date on flu outbreak preparedness and other issues. You can inform and communicate with your supporters and volunteers on their terms. Some reasons you might want to start blogging are as follows: Quickly shares information, ideas, and lessons learned about flu outbreak preparedness Involves other partners and volunteers with an opportunity to share Promotes your events and activities and report on them afterward Creates conversations with your audience Blogging software makes updating easy and fast You may not want to blog if You have few resources and time; it takes a lot of effort and time to produce regular engaging content for a blog You don’t have an audience in mind or have trouble defining your audience You don’t have someone who can write interesting and engaging content Blog features: Is frequently updated Usually maintained by one individual or entity Often includes personal commentary May include text, images, video, audio, links Can be open for public/subscriber reaction via comments Publishes content in RSS format Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 26
  • 30. STEP 1: Get Started Choosing a Blogging Tool Choose a blogging tool or platform. Google’s Blogger is the easiest, but least flexible. They include the following: Wordpress is most widely used. – Wordpress To get started – Blogger http://blogger.com – Typepad http://wordpress.com – Moveable Type http://typepad.com – Drupal – Ning How do you want people to access your blog? – On a Web page? Consider using your own Web host so you can customize the URL. – By e-mail subscription? FeedBlitz is a good service to deliver posts via e-mail. – In an RSS Reader? Feedburner offers the best ways of tracking RSS subscriptions. STEP 2: What To Blog About Determine a theme Why are you blogging? Is it for announcements? Helping readers navigate an abundance of flu outbreak preparedness information? Decide if it is an individual or organizational blog – Who will maintain the site—you or an organization with which you are affiliated? – Who will contribute? Will it be an individual or team effort? STEP 3: Jump In; Share Content Choose an appropriate tone for your audience Include your personality in your writing Cite or link to your sources Write in short paragraphs for easy scanning on the Web Additional Resources Tools - Blogs—AIDS.GOV New Media Toolkit A Nonprofit’s Guide to the Blogosphere—Techsoup Learning Center Blogs—Webcontent.gov Introduction to Blogging—Wordpress.org Parts of a Blog—About.com Weblog definitions Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 27
  • 31. Ten Tips for Managing Your Own Blog 1. Create a bio. To personalize your blog, upload of photo of yourself and include a short description of yourself and your blog to include in an “about me” section. 2. Commit. Maintaining your own blog takes regular effort. Dedicate time for at least weekly postings. Of course, there will be times you post more especially during emergency situations or special features. 3. Be yourself. Use a conversational, personal tone, and incorporate your personal experiences to engage with your readers. 4. Use images and other multimedia. Images liven up posts and offer another way of delivering information. Try to incorporate one image, graphic, or video into each post. 5. Consider length. About 200 to 400 words per post are usually enough in most cases. 6. Accuracy. Check your sources and offer links to other sites and resources related to your topic. Attribution of sources is an important part of blog etiquette. 7. Engage in conversation. Review comments on your posts and respond to them in the form of further comments. 8. Ask questions. Ask your readers what they think about your topic or post to elicit comments. 9. Moderate comments fairly. Some comments may be critical, but unless they use vulgar language or are threatening, you should permit them. Avoid quarreling or arguing. 10. For each post, consider the following questions: Why should the reader care about your post? What action can the reader take after your post? Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 28
  • 32. Twitter Twitter, a form of “microblogging,” is a fast- moving social networking tool composed entirely Twitter Terminology of 140-character answers to the question, “What Tweets are you doing?” Twitter allows its users to post updates—tweets—as well as read and respond to Tweets: 140-character posts on Twitter. others’ tweets. Updates are displayed on the Followers user’s profile page and delivered to other users Followers: Folks who have chosen to follow your who have signed up to receive updates (“follow”) posts. a specific user. In addition to using Twitter to send out flu outbreak preparedness information Following and tips, the site offers many opportunities to Following: Folks that you have chosen to follow. answer people’s questions and respond to their Retweet concerns related to your issue. Retweet, or RT: Copying and tweeting what Benefits of Twitter include the following: someone else has just posted. Can be a powerful tool for connecting with, TwitsTweetup staying in touch, and educating an audience Tweetup: A meet-up of Twitter friends. Can be an opportunity to increase visibility of Hashtags awareness campaigns and recruit people to events Hashtag or #keyword: A method of tagging content Local potential: Members often identify based on associated with a specific event, topic, or group of community and local interests people. STEP 1: Get Started With Twitter Visit http://www.twitter.com and select “Watch a video” to learn more about Twitter. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 29
  • 33. STEP 2: Select a User Name and Create Your Account Try to choose a user name that matches other social media accounts you use and uses your real name. That way, others will know who you are. STEP 3: Create Your Twitter Profile Photo: Upload a real photo of yourself. Background: You can select an alternate background design or create your own. Location: Include your location. This will help you connect with others in your community. Web site: Include a link to the main Web site for your campaign or your social networking home page. Bio: Include a short bio explaining your interests and how you plan to use Twitter. – A sample bio might be: On Twitter to connect and share ideas with others working to prepare [city name] for a flu outbreak. STEP 4: Find Friends and Start Connecting There are several ways to connect with others on Twitter. To get started, do the following: Have Twitter scan your e-mail address book to look for people you already know. See the chart titled “Finding Bloggers and Twitterers in Your Community” on page 21 for links that will lead you to potential Twitters to follow. Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 30
  • 34. Twitter Tips Use hashtags to track and promote interests. #H1N1 and #BPRE (Be Prepared) are two that are currently being used for this issue. See http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Hashtags for more. Ask questions to elicit responses from followers. Share success stories; ask for retweets. Don’t forget to listen to and respond to others’ tweets. Present a positive message. What you write on Twitter is permanent, so be careful what you say. Be authentic; put yourself into your tweets and avoid press release verbiage. Follow people back who follow you. Provide value to your followers with useful information. Share other news of interest, not just your own information. Additional Resources Tools—Twitter—AIDS.GOV New Media Toolkit Twitter in Plain English—Common Craft Microblogging—Webcontent.gov Twitter Wiki—Twitter Wiki Other Tools for Sharing Content Online If you have any online media to share, there are many tools to easily upload and share videos, photos, audio podcasts, and other multimedia. Maybe you have a video showing what you’ve done to prepare for a flu outbreak or photos of the most creative way of storing supplies. These additional tools can help you get creative in sharing multimedia content: Share photos—http://www.flickr.com Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 31
  • 35. Share videos—http://www.youtube.com Share presentations— http://www.slideshare.com Share events—http://www.meetup.com Additional Resources Tool Box Video Sharing—We Are Media Tool Box Photo Sharing—We Are Media Photo Sharing—AIDS.gov New Media Toolkit U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Flu Outbreak Tools Main page for H1N1 CDC social media tools: http://www.cdc.gov/socialmedia/h1n1/ Partners can add widgets and buttons to their Web sites, Ning network, or social networking Web sites: http://www.cdc.gov/widgets/ and http://www.cdc.gov/socialmedia/h1n1/buttons.html Join CDC’s Facebook and/or MySpace pages. They include information on H1N1 you can share with your network: http://www.facebook.com/CDC and http://www.myspace.com/cdc_ehealth Follow Twitter updates on H1N1: http://twitter.com/FluGov and http://twitter.com/CDCemergency H1N1 podcasts: http://www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/index.asp Automatic updates to your RSS feed or your desktop: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/rss/ Social Media Guide • Take the Lead 32