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