Posts Tagged: social media
Today's report from the Pew Center indicates that 65% of adults use some kind of social networking site. The core audience for social sites remains young, but the growth continues to come from older users.
But measuring the effectiveness of social media continues to be a hot topic. This thoughtful article on social media measurement myths crossed my desk last week. Among the myths are one that echos my last post - "Likes do not equal engagement."
Mix in Google's strong foray into social search. Add the near constant refrain that Facebook is dead, or at least on the ropes. Sprinkle with Facebook's overwhelming user numbers, and you have recipe for consternation.
What is the savvy communicator to do? The reality is that the landscape is changing faster than most institutions can react. My mantra remains - know your audience. Know where they are. Use every arrow in your quiver, but aim carefully, and know why you're using each and every one.
[Via: Single Grain]
A lot of us are using social media tools to communicate, but questions about how to measure the effectiveness of these new tools linger. CASE has published the findings of their most recent survey on institutional use of social media and finds that while 96% of those surveyed are using social media tools, many are struggling with the staffing, resources, and expertise needed to maintain the effort (sound familiar?).
And while many institutions are using social media for outreach, few are measuring effectiveness. According to Michael Stoner, president of mStoner a marketing consulting firm associated with the study, "Institutions are looking at the number of ‘friends' and ‘likes' and the level of participation, but they're still trying to figure out how to measure the impact of social media on behavior. There are very few institutions measuring the impact of their social media initiatives on institutional goals, such as recruiting students or alumni participation."
Yesterday, Facebook announced changes to how "pages" look and work.
Generally when Facebook announces it is changing how things work — whether layout, privacy or other functions — users are reminded how much control Facebook actually has over the content they are providing. And usually, that reminder is met with grumbles.
But the changes to Facebook pages announced yesterday, so far seem to be met with open arms by many users.
If you already have a Facebook page: When you login to your Facebook page, you'll see the option to preview the changes. The preview includes a tour — and at the end, you are offered the ability to "switch back." You can play with your options for now, but Facebook will automatically switch your page on March 10, if you haven't already.
If you don't already have a Facebook page: Some businesses and organizations use a personal account on Facebook, instead of a page, because they prefered how the personal profile worked. Some of yesterday's changes address the most common complaints about how pages work.
One of the most important changes allows page administrators to "Use Facebook as Page."
This means you, acting as your page, can now:
- comment on your page's wall and on posts from other pages that like your page
- receive notifications when fans like, comment or post to your wall
- view a news feed from the pages that your page likes
Basically, a page gets to act a little bit more like a person in Facebook when interacting with other pages.
Other changes to Facebook pages make the page's photos more prominent and change the filter options on the page's wall. Mashable has a helpful article today about "What the New Facebook Pages Mean For Users & Owners."
Now is a great time to reconsider how you use (or don't use) Facebook for your program or organization. From my perspective, it looks like these changes encourage pages to interact with each other more, to interact with their fans more and to upload more photos. How can your program make better use of Facebook's tools?
Related WCTOW post: Do I need a Facebook page?
UC ANR page, BEFORE the changes
San Joaquin Valley Viticulture page, AFTER the changes
It didn't start out this way: The first time I heard about a fellow UC communicator using Twitter, I told her that it was a waste of time. I explained my "expert" reasoning: I had read a magazine article that said Twitter was an overpromoted fad.
It wasn't long before I realized that I should probably back up my words with actual experience. But when I tried to learn about Twitter by looking at it from the outside, nothing made sense. So I signed up for an account — it's free, afterall.
>> Fast forward to today, and I juggle two Twitter accounts, am training a co-worker on how to use Twitter, and give social media presentations to small-scale farmers and others (tomorrow at the PlacerGROWN Conference, next month at California Small Farm Conference).
Why should you care?
Because if you want to find out about Twitter, you can debate and read about it all you want. But the most pivotal piece of advice will still be:
Sign up for an account and actually try it.
You really are going to have to try it to truly understand how it all works. Jumping in with both feet helps, but even just dipping your toes in the water will do. Here's where you sign up for an account.
The "actually try it" part will involve:
- Finding people you want to "follow" so you can listen to what they have to tweet, AND
- Tweeting things you think your desired audience might be interested in.
Once you have followed some accounts and tweeted something, the people you are following can better decide whether they want to follow you back. Frequently in Twitter, you first follow someone you think might also be interested in following you. In this way, Twitter is a way to exchange information between people with similar interests.
Co-workers and people you know in the real world are one way to start finding Twitter accounts to follow. ANR has this list of ANR twitter accounts, and I maintain this (unofficial) list of twitter UC agriculture-related accounts.
Next try branching out to: Go to search.twitter.com and put in a keyword related to your expertise. Find a tweet you think sounds interesting, and then check out the tweeter. Follow him if you want to keep hearing what he has to say — or if you think he might be interested in what you have to say. Look up leaders in your field, writers you enjoy reading in the paper, local organizations, current event topics, etc.
Then what? Once you have a better idea how Twitter works, you're going to have to ask yourself what every good communicator asks periodically:
- What do I want to say?
- Who is my audience?
Let seeking out your audience (by following them) and the information you have to share (by tweeting) guide the rest of your Twitter experience.
(Already using Twitter? Better luck with next week's WCTOW. Still confused? I'm happy to answer questions in the comments below. Still think Twitter is stupid? It might not be for you, but I like a challenge. Got something else to say? Comment below!)
The Pew Internet and American Life Project has taken it's first exclusive look at Twitter.
In a nutshell:
- 8% of online Americans use Twitter
- Those 18 - 29 are more likely to use Twitter than older adults
- African-Americans and Latinos are more than twice as likely to use Twitter than whites
- Urbanites are twice as likely to use Twitter as rural dwellers
- Women and and the college educated are also slightly more likely to use the service.
You can read and overview and download the full report at the Pew Internet site