Presentation: Social Media for Educational Institutions

Today I was invited to present at the BADA Spring Retreat in Los Altos, CA. My daughter attends one of the schools who is involved with the organization and I had helped them set up and understand how to best use social media for their small private school.

Below is the slideshow I presented to a room of admissions directors from private schools in the Bay Area. After the slideshow I have included more detailed notes.  

I'd love to answer any questions or hear your comments; please feel free to post them below.

My notes from the presentation:

  1. When I was kid, my social network was called "outside".

  2. WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA? AOL is the true precursor to today’s social media sites. In 2002, social networking hit its stride with Friendster. A year later, in 2003, LinkedIn and Myspace joined the fray. Facebook launched in 2004 as a Harvard-only exercise and remained so for 2 years before opening up to the general public in 2006. Now Facebook boasts more than 1.3 billion active users worldwide. Over the course of the past 3 years, “Fourth screen” technology — smartphones, tablets, etc. — has changed social networking and the way we communicate with one another entirely. Mobile computing and smartphones now allow anyone to be a photographer, videographer, reporter, observer, activist, friend on an array of visual platforms. What’s next? Augmented reality; it applies digital interactions to the real world. 

  3. TOP 10 SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: Here are the top 10 Most Popular Social Networking Sites as derived from eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website's Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast. Updated as of May 1, 2015.

  4. CURRENT SOCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE:  52% of online adults use multiple social media sites. Facebook acts as “home base” — it remains the most popular site for those who only use one, and has significant overlap with other platforms. Facebook and Instagram exhibit especially high levels of user engagement: a majority of users on these sites check in to them on a daily basis. 92% of parents regularly use a smartphone; mobile interactions are vital. Social media is the preferred communications channel for people today – it’s how they communicate, it’s how they learn, it’s how they get their news, it’s a major part of everyone’s life.

  5. WHY SOCIAL MEDIA MATTERS? Social media is an integral part of everyone’s daily life. Well, it’s equally important for brands and businesses – because that’s where everyone is! It’s a terrific way to engage directly with the audiences that matter to them. 74% of marketers saw an increase in traffic when they spent just 6 hours per week on social media. 78% of Americans say social media impacts their purchasing decisions.

  6. PRIMARY SOCIAL MEDIA FUNCTIONS: Social = networks + virtual communities. Virtual communities are on a mission. They look for expertise and they want to engage with each otherIn order to engage with our social visitors: 1.Understand their mission, 2.ID hot topics of interest to them, 3.Filter & focus. People want clarity and expert guidance.

  7. WHAT THE EDUCATION SOCIAL MEDIA LANDSCAPE LOOKS LIKE AT THIS MOMENT… "Educational institutions understand the value of social media in a globally connected world, but not all have implemented strategy across the necessary channels. The quantity of new platforms, communities, and opportunities to connect can overwhelm and deter entry and experimentation." 

  8. WHAT NEXT? 


  10. SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN/STRATEGY Everyone you want to reach has only 1440  minutes in a day & most of that time is used up doing the essentials: eating, sleeping, working, spending time with people you care about. There is ferocious competition for people’s precious time!

  11. WHAT IS MAGNETIC CONTENT? If content then is everything, how do you make it magnetic, attracting and lifting audiences as you'll see on the left, content must be story driven, useful, findable, current, engaging, flexible, and sharable. And the biggest word there is story we think in stories, we react in stories, whether it's data or any other kind of content, what's the story? And then as listed on the right it also needs to be available in the most appropriate formats and channels that matter most not to you but to the audience. Yes, content is king IF it is strategic and tells a story that’s valued by the audience.

  12. CONTENT STRATEGY: Content strategy is by itself prioritized and important. But if you really want it to have impact, if you want to engage your audience with it and you will create experiences whether you want to or not, so plan them. Understand your audience, create an experience which makes them want more and makes them want to come back. And if you do that, then you'll have great content and an experience. And the audience will give you more time and come back more often. They are the permanent challenges to creating effective content: 1)There is a rapidly rising tidal wave of information and it will continue to rise forever. 2)Everyone you want to reach has 1440 minutes in their day; not one minute more, and most of that time is already used up with essentials such as eating, sleeping, working spending time with people you care about, etc. That means that there is ferocious competition for people’s precious, limited time. 3)The world is becoming ever more complicated, but people will give you their time and attention if you give them more of what they want.

  13. AUDIENCES: No more mass audiences. Day parting: morning, afternoon v. night. Messages are different. Segmenting based on psychographic information (values and motivations) as well as demographic information (age and location) will give you a more complete picture of the cohorts that make up your audience. Narrative storytelling can illuminate topics for your audience, but make sure to tell your important stories in the ways that your audience wants to successfully build a relationship with them. Personas: interview people, follow them, learn from stakeholders & research. Spend time w/ people in target market.

  14. BRANDING: Your brand: -A clear central idea – a concept -Makes it clear what the people should believe about any service or product and why this is believable. -Distinguishes the product or service from other competitive possibilities. The best tool for creating the concept of your brand is to write a positioning statement that specifies who the target segment is, what the core concept of the brand is, and how this is different from your competitors. 

  15. BRANDING: Positioning statements are essential to content strategy! Example: For younger men who dream of a brighter future, the Shenshi brand of trendy but affordable fashion makes men feel and appear more successful to others than they are.

  16. EXPERIENCES & VOICE: Implementation Tips: ·The process for creating experiences starts with understanding your audience. (what do people WANT to feel?) ·Experiences begin with a concept: ‘What is our best idea of what the content should mean to its readers or viewers?’ ·Experiences are applied at three levels: message, distribution and strategic.  - Message means driving audience experiences at the story level.  - Distribution means creating the entire publication, website, podcast or video to drive the experiences you have selected. - Strategic is the level at which you work to ensure that every audience contact maximizes the experiences you are trying to create.

  17. EXPERIENCES & VOICE: Implementation Tips: Be yourself. Be direct. Be specific. · Start with: what is the best media window in your reader’s day to engage with your content? · Is your idea best delivered as one type of media content, or should you think about a portfolio strategy?

  18. SOCIAL/MOBILE MEDIA: Differentiate content: 1.We respond differently to different messages. 2.Create short, test messages. 3.Publish it everywhere and track it using – tracks how many clicks, geographic data, link history and the sources who have referred this link. 66% of total sharing is done on the Facebook mobile app!

  19. SOCIAL MEDIA TO DO’S: Defining a social media calendar will not only help you to consistently publish more compelling social posts, but it will also make it easier for your to provide measurable ROI. Find digital influencers by searching for communities talking about your expert topics. 

  20. TIPS FOR SUCCESS: Every platform should be treated differently! Success in social is developing timely, relevant content. Be sure to test different messages in the various social channels and keep track of the results. In the U.S. content users are more likely to share is humorous. Sharing photos is the most popular activity on Facebook and Google+. Twitter people like to share comments on daily life. Facebook's service is constantly updating. Twitter: One of the main uses for social networking websites is to enable people to post their thoughts instantly. No other social networking sites take full advantage of speed and immediacy more than Twitter. Twitter provides the best way to get a quick fix of celebrity gossip, friend updates and important news stories. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that focuses on growing your professional network. The search function is where it’s at. Use it to connect with industry professionals, parents, potential board members, donors, etc. Make sure your school has a page and it is updated. Instagram allows you to easily use pictures and videos to tell and share your school story. It’s more popular among students than any other social media channel these days, and it’s a great way to build your school community around something just about everyone regardless of their age likes to do – and that’s look at pictures.

  21. OPTIMAL TIMES FOR SOCIAL POSTING: Facebook: engagement is 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.  Tweets get higher click-through rate on the weekends. 


  23. RESOURCES: Social mention: Real-time social media search and analysis on any topic, competitor, etc. Alltop: who is talking about it now. Wefollow: find experts; look for key bloggers


Green Child Magazine: The More You Know Eco: Connecting With Nature

Earth Day is April 22 and it is a day marked to celebrate the earth and identify ways to protect the environment. One way we can extend our Earth Day activities is to take a vow to spend more time in nature. It’s one easy step that has many lasting benefits for both the environment and people.

According to Janice Swaisgood, Children & Nature Network’s National Coordinator of Nature Clubs for Families, here are some easy ways to connect with nature this Earth Day (and beyond):

  1. Explore nature in your yard or nearest nature area: turn over pots, snap pictures of living creatures and allow unstructured time to romp and connect.
  2. Attend a community Earth Day fair and learn about ways to protect the nature areas around your community.
  3. Gather a group of friends to play and learn in nature at a local trail or park.
  4. Pledge to join or start a nature club of your own. Check out this helpful nature club tool kit from Children & Nature Network.

To read more of this article, please visit Green Child Magazine's Summer 2014 issue found here.


Green Child Magazine: How to Help Your School Have a Greener Classroom

After a summer of outdoor fun and quality time spent in the fresh air, it’s time to send children back into the classroom. It is a known fact that indoor air quality is at its all time lowest when classrooms are cleaned with traditional, chemical-laden, cleaning products. The bleach fumes and chemicals used to sanitize and clean schools are definitely not what you want your children to be breathing in. So what’s a parent to do?

Here are some ideas of ways to get greener cleaners into your child’s school and classroom:

  • Run a green cleaner drive and/or collection.
  • Ask teachers if they can put natural or green cleaners on their supply list.
  • Contact PTA or your school’s Green Team to get the word out about toxic cleaners and better alternatives. No, Green Team in your child’s school? Create one!
  • Talk to your school’s custodial team about green cleaners and different viable solutions for your school. This may take you supplying different green cleaners for them to test out.

To read the rest of this article, please visit Green Child Magazine's Fall 2013 issue found here.


Green Child Magazine: The More You Know Eco- World Oceans Day

As the days begin to warm and our thoughts drift to summer, many of us are planning our yearly vacations to the beach. The ocean seems to beckon us no matter how far we live from it. Yet, as we all know, the ocean has endured its share of horror stories: from oil spills to rising water temperatures to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. As a society we need to get better at reusing what we buy if we’re going to continue to enjoy our beaches and oceans.

Five years ago, the United Nations decided to designate a day each year in order to focus attention on the earth’s body of water that serves to connect us all. This day is called World Oceans Day and is celebrated annually on June 8. The goal of World Oceans Day to encourage everyone to get involved with ocean conservation in their personal lives, communities, and globally.

I spoke with Marieta Francis, executive director of Algalita Marine Research Institute, about her mission to protect the world’s oceans and her thoughts on World Oceans Day. Marieta and Algalita work tirelessly to protect the marine environment and its watersheds. Aligalita was founded by Captain Charles Moore who brought the world’s attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch after discovering it on a voyage in 1997.

To read the rest of this article from Green Child Magazine, please go here.

Mommybites Green Parenting: Using Essential Oils On Children

After the first time I used essential oils, I began to see them crop up more and more when it came to finding natural remedies for my girls and what was ailing them: cough, upset stomach, bath care and beauty products. What slowly started as a preventative purchase, has now morphed into a daily care practice. We use essential oils a variety of ways and have found them to be the best non-toxic and easy to use all-purpose products in our home.

I was browsing on Pinterest (you know – the best time-suck on the internet) and saw this great poster of the 10 Must-Have Essentials Oils for Children from Easy Homesteading. While I already use several of these, I am interested in learning more about rose otto oil, sandalwood oil and chamomile oil.

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Mommybites Green Parenting: Is Chewing Gum the Most Poisonous Thing in Your Purse?

Chewing gum is one of the biggest thrills my four year old can think of when it comes time to check out of the grocery store. The brightly lined shelves around the cash register call out to her and taunt her with their cartoonish writing and yummy smells. She pleads with me to buy her some, but after flipping the packages over and reading the ingredient list, I put it back down, much to her disappointment. I try to tell her that it’s made of bad stuff that will harm her and I have to protect her from all that I can while giving her the healthy stuff to make her body strong. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I think she is starting to get it.

Tired of just saying these ingredients are bad, I decided to do a little in-depth research on just what is in gum and what are those ingredients’ side effects. Here is a list of the most common ingredients in the most popular chewing gum products on the market (1):

  • Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Maltitol
  • Gum Base
  • Glycerol
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Starch
  • Aspartame –Acesulfame
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Colors (titanium oxide, blue 2 lake, red 40)
  • BHT
  • Malic Acid, Citric Acid

Let’s break each of these items down:

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Mommybites Green Parenting: What is Kickstarter?

Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of requests from friends to fund their Kickstarter projects. Leery as I always am when it comes to anyone asking me for donations online, I have mainly ignored them. But last week a person I admire was jubilant when their Kickstarter campaign got fully funded and she was able to complete work on an important eco-project.

Curious as to what Kickstarter was and who is using it to do what with, I began to ask around and here is what I found and why I’m convinced this is an amazing way to raise funds for all sorts of endeavors.

To read more of this blog post, please visit here:

Mommybites Green Parenting: A Bit of Eco Inspiration

I have the good fortune of being a part of a women’s eco-warrier group that includes 127 of the nation’s most inspiring, dedicated and active eco-conscious women. Our main goal of the group is to “believe in the movement and want to add to the conversation about green living and green activism.” I love this group not only for its inspiration but for the brilliant women that are a part of it who are working daily to make the world a greener place.

One of the eco-warriors that inspires and leads by example is Beth Terry. Beth runs a blog and has written a book both called My Plastic-Free Life. At first, it just seems impossible for anyone to be able to have a plastic-free life. Within arm’s reach of where I sit, there are at least 10 different items that have plastic in them and I have used all of them within the past hour. (Including this computer I am typing on!)

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Letting people see another way to be…we have the power to change the menu…and the world.

 Beth Terry

Mommybites Green Parenting: Composting: Pollution Prevention and Fertilizer, Too

Last week I was off to California with my family for a little adventure when I spotted a curious site. A noodle shop I ate at with my girls didn’t have a garbage can; it had a compost bin and a recycling bin. Isn’t that amazing and baffling at the same time?!


Now, I know a bit about composting but don’t actively compost myself. It’s on my life list but right now it’s just not doable. One of the reasons I am not composting at home is because I really haven’t found out that much about it and beyond it being great fertilizer for my garden, I’m not too sure of the benefits and how it helps the Earth for me to compost.

So off I went to investigate.

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Here in This House: Until We Meet Again

Dear Readers,

We write this post with a bit of sad news: we have decided to stop publishing Here in This House. After three great years of design news, tips, interviews, showhouses, trade shows, products, home improvement projects and more, we are both happy to say we wrote about the best and loved every minute of it. Your support has been invaluable and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for reading, sharing and commenting. It made it all worth it to think we had over 10,000 pages viewed each month. So thank you for following along.

So what’s next?

To read the rest of this post, please go here:

Mommybites Green Parenting: The Case Against Bleach

I’m not one to call out products usually but I am about to make an exception. Bleach, your days are numbered. Why so tough on bleach? I mean we’ve all been told how it is a must to keep our home germ free, right? Especially now with all of these nasty flus and viruses running rampant through our homes, schools and play spaces.

To read more, please go to original post at Mommybites:

Mommybites Green Parenting: Eco-Movies You Should Watch Now

It’s cold outside where I live and there’s not much motivating me to get out and do. So I’ve been indoors, keeping a lower profile all while reading and doing home improvement projects (so cliche, I know). One thing that has come across my radar lately are the release of several new eco-movies that I really wanted to see.

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Here in This House: Design 101: Is there a right way to decorate a room?

Welcome to our next installment of the DESIGN 101 Q&A series answered by the talented designer, Alla Akimova. Our “Design 101” column is where we ask our favorite designers, architects, stylists, builders, artists and more all the burning questions you have. Since our blog is focused on “where design meets reality,” we have a lot of you who are curious about the how's and why's of the design business but not enough time to find it out on your own. So we are going to help you in your journey and answer your list of questions too!

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Here in This House: The New York Design Center; A NYC Design Resource

Last week we revealed to you one of the trade secrets that interior designers use when coming up with inspiration and products for one of their projects: design centers. Design centers are located in major cities all across the world and many of them have services for non-trade professionals (like you and I). Touring these showrooms gives you many ideas and allows you to see different options available for all rooms of your home.

If you are lucky enough to live in the New York City area, there are three different design centers: the Decoration & Design Building, the New York Design Center and the Architects and Designers Building. Combined together, these centers have over 160 showrooms. A showroom is just like any other open-to-the-public “home” store you would see but it specifically carries only one manufacturer's product line(s). Think stores with only flooring or stores with only lights or stores with a variety of fabrics. Of course there are also showrooms that have entire rooms of furnishings and decor too.

To read more, please go to the original post:

Here in This House: Decoration & Design Building: A Design Resource for All

There are many design resources in the professional designer’s handbook. These resources may seem clandestine or out of reach to the regular, non-design-professional person but actually there are many that are accessible to anyone, if you know where to look. One such resource is the design buildings located in many major cities across the world. In Manhattan, there are three major design centers or buildings: the Decoration & Design Building, the New York Design Center and the Architects and Designers Building. All three of these buildings are open to the public as well as provide shopping and in-house design services to anyone who would like to use them.

Now, designers are not too keen on you knowing this and to be honest some of the showrooms in these buildings aren’t either. Why? Well, perhaps it is because they feel the value of their service is compromised if there isn’t some exclusivity about the business. Or perhaps they don’t feel regular, non-design-professionals aren’t qualified to know what to buy or how much to buy and need some guidance in the process in order to make it easier. Whatever the reason some designers have, there is a sentiment shared among the design centers in NYC that welcomes anyone who wishes to walk through the doors and browse and/or shop in the showrooms.

Today we are profiling the Decoration & Design Building located in midtown Manhattan (diagonally across from the Bloomingdales flagship store). It has 18 floors filled with 120 showrooms like Kravet,Holland & Sherry,  Fortuny , Ralph LaurenJerry PairNoblisDakota Jackson, the Silver Peacock,NiedermaierPierre FreySchumacherGracieAndrew MartinChristopher Hyland and Artistic Frame(many of whom we have featured before on this blog). The quality and selection are outstanding and it is a challenge to leave the building without tons of inspiration and a wish list a mile long!

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Here in This House: Moving Time

Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were.”
Barbra Streisand “Way We Were" lyrics


The way my house looked when I moved in five years ago. A lot has changed since then.

If you have been following me on my social media channels, you would know there is a change a coming in the Jones household. Our time in the Northeast is rapidly coming to a close and we shall be moving on to the West Coast; California to be exact. My feelings run the gamut of excited to nervous to sad.

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