Entries in social media (18)


Becoming a PLPeep as social media strategist for Powerful Learning Practice

I've been working in social media for more than six years now, but I'm getting to take my skills to a whole new level with Powerful Learning Practice (PLP). PLP offers professional development to help educators incorporate social media and new technology in their classrooms. Since October, I've been serving as PLP's social networking strategist, managing Facebook, Twitter and the PLP Network Blog. I also get the opportunity to connect with PLP's learning communities online.

PLP offers a long-term, job-embedded professional development program to help educators better understand 21st Century learning environments. PLP's model enables thousands of educators around the country to experience the transformative power of the social Web: Face-to-face in their own schools, exchanging ideas through a community of inquiry and in re-envisioning their own personal learning practice.

So with PLP, I'm not just marketing with social media, I'm participating with social media. I'm directly connecting with educators who are learning to develop their own Personal Learning Networks through social media. I'm very excited to approach social media from this new perspective, and it's opened my eyes even more to the power of social media. I've used social media for learning and connecting with others for many years, and it's truly been priceless for my own personal learning and professional development. It's very rewarding to help educators do the same.

Two of my colleagues at PLP, co-founder Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall, recently published The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age, a book to help educators create a learning community through social media and take advantage of technology to improve their own learning and ultimately the learning of their students. This would be an excellent gift to share with any teachers in your life.

PLP also offers e-learning courses. There's a free Web 2.0 Tools eCourse that anyone (not just educators) can check out. Sign up and you’ll receive an email every day for two weeks with a Web 2.0 tool activity. At the end of the eCourse, you’ll be well on your way to being a Web 2.0 tools master and developing your personal learning network.

To learn more about Reina Communications' role at Powerful Learning Practice, check out my interview on the PLP blog.


Analysis of a #SocialGood campaign: how can we better use social media for social good?

Yesterday was (RED) and Mashable's Social Good Day, a day when social media enthusiasts around the world are encouraged to collaborate and come up with ideas on using social media to promote social good. As a blogger and social media consultant, I gave it my best to come up with and share a creative idea for using social media for social good. What I came up with was to post about Social Good Day on my Greater Good Life blog and offer to donate $1 to the Global Fund (up to $100 total) for everytime the blog entry recieved a comment or a post on Twitter or Facebook. The goal of the campaign was to spread the word out about (Red) and Social Good Day.


Every good social media campaign should end with evaluation research: What were the measurable results? Did the campaign acheive its goal? What are the key learnings from the campaign that would improve future campaigns?

Measurable results 

For larger campaigns, I would tally the results using a service like Radian 6, but I'm approaching this small scale campaign the way my small business clients would, manually counting comments, mentions and posts. By 10:30pm on Social Good Day, 12 hours after the campaign started, my blog post received:   

  • 20 tweets with @replies
  • 5 shared facebook posts (probably more, but this was harder to track)
  • 89 likes and 56 comments on the (RED) facebook page (showing their support, they posted about my campaign). 

The social good blog post received about 100 more unique visitors than a typical blog post would in the first 12 hours as well. The post received 56 referrals from Facebook in addition to 30 referrals directly from (RED)'s facebook page.

That's what I could quickly hand count, I'm sure I missed a few posts. Comments and referrals are still coming in, but it's safe to say I'll be donating $100 to the Global Fund!


Was the campaign's goal achieved?

The goal of the campaign was to spread the word about (Red) and Social Good Day. While the $100 donation affords a lot of HIV/AIDs medication for patients in Africa, I could have donated that on my own without a campaign. The important result was that there were at least 100 posts about (Red) in the social media sphere because of my blog post. A hundred social media users shared information about (Red) and Social Good Day with their thousands of friends and followers! I consider the goal acheived!

What can be learned from this campaign about using social media for social good? 

Bloggers should be personally engaged by an organization. I've been busy with clients the past few weeks and hadn't kept up with my Mashable or (RED) news feed. I found out about Social Good Day this morning and had to react fast. How did I find out about Social Good Day? I recieved a tweeted direct message from (RED) asking for my support. The tweet was personal in that it mentioned my support from the year before and linked to a blog post that reference my campaign last year. 

This wasn't the first time (RED) had engaged with personally. The first Social Good Day last year, the organization retweeted and @replied me, making a point to show appreciation for my effort. This morning, I was not at all prepared to do a blog post about Social Good Day, but the personal engagment inspired me to make it happen. Had I not had a personal engagement with (RED), I wouldn't have gone to that kind of trouble.

Every blogger has an influence. Don't limit engagement to the blog stars. My Greater Good Life blog has nothing on the Huffington Post or Care2, but (RED) didn't overlook me! Often times, social good campaigns are quick to point out that even the smallest donation can make a big difference, yet they don't abide by their own "every little bit counts" philosophy when it comes to engagement. As a blogger, I've never been pitched by a nonprofit (other than (RED)) to write a post about their efforts, though I'd be happy to do it! If my local SPCA did a simple blog search on Google, I'm sure they would see I've posted about dogs. If my local food pantry did the same, they'd see I've posted about world hunger. If these organizations that have causes relevant to my blog invite me to their organization for a tour or suggest a good story, I'd be happy to support their cause. Organizations just have to ask in a way that is not a pitch, but a collaboration. 

An organization should use social media to show they care about their supporters as much as their cause. I've given money to a lot of organizations that resulted in repeated, tree-killing impersonal direct mail being stuffed into my mailbox. These organizations care a great deal about their causes, but they don't seem to care about me as a supporter. I'm a number, a dollar figure to them, not a person. Social media allows organizations to truly interact with supporters and build a relationship with them. Supporters can offer an organization much more than money, they can offer word-of-mouth and inspiration to others. 

There is a lot of distraction in the social media space, so consistency is key. Facebook's major redesign dominated the discussion online today, on both Facebook and Twitter. As much as we posted about social good, this added some clutter to our message. My campaign blog post did not get the same attention from my Facebook friends as it normally would. I think this was because so many of my friends were complaining about and trying to figure out the new Facebook changes launched today. This kind of distraction is uncontrollable in social media. We have to take into account that whatever our message, there are countless other equally important messages floating around in the space. The best way to counter this is through consistency of the message. Use of a hashtag and very simple descriptions with links keeps a message clearly communicated amongst the clutter. 

Keep the conversation going. The goal of spreading the word does not end with starting a conversation. The conversation should be continued through additional interaction. I did with my campaign so far by replying to any tweets and posts that came my way. When I have time over the next several days, I'll go back and follow and subscribe to the people I interacted with on Twitter and Facebook and send those who left comments on my blog an e-mail thanking them. (RED) does a stellar job of this. (RED) kept in touch with me after last year's campaign, and I hear from the organization personally via social media throughout the year. I maintain an interest in (RED)'s cause, even with all the distractions in the social media space, because (RED) continues to engage me.

How could the next campaign be better?

Next time, I'd spend more time. I wasn't prepared for Social Good Day, so the campaign could have been better planned and executed with a little more time. Maybe I could have found sponsors and partnered with other bloggers. Also, 12-24 hours is not long period to run a campaign. Perhaps a campaign like this should have been launched on Social Good Day and continued throughout the week.

Next time, I'd love to join forces with a large group of bloggers. I could envision a social good campaign where 50 or more bloggers join forces to make a bigger impact. A call to bloggers could be placed on the campaign's website. Bloggers can sign up and pledge to post and donate a specific amount. There could be a page that showcases all of the participating bloggers. There is a lot of potential to experiment with here. I hope this campaign offers a stepping stone for others to take this idea and run with it.

Next time, it would be great to include a photo or video component. Words are only one dimension of social media. Photos and videos would make this campaign more three-dimentional. An organization wishing to expand on this campaign could set up a Flickr photo pool, a YouTube channel or a Tumblr or Posterous blog to collect multimedia entries. Even with my small scaled campaign, if I had planned a little more, I would have loved creating a video for Social Good Day. I'm sure other bloggers and social media users would do the same.

So that's my analysis of a #SocialGood campaign. I'm always happy to share my ideas with worthwhile organizations that need help brainstorming strategic efforts. Please contact me if you decide to run a campaign like this one and would like more thoughts. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go donate $100.



How to keep technology from complicating our lives

The pressure was on for me last week. As Google+ entered the social media sphere, I jumped on Twitter, Facebook and technology blogs to find an invite so I could check it out. As a social media consultant, it's my job to stay on top of the latest and greatest in social media, explore what's out there and get learning. Now, I'm faced with the dilemma of splitting my time with an additional social medium. Considering I'm checking at least 8 social networks daily and regularly reading countless RSS feeds and blogging, I started questioning how I was going make time for Google+ in my already technology-time-warped life of e-mails, text messages and all things Apple.

Technology is supposed to make everything easier, yet it often just complicates our lives. I realize this when I find myself interrupting a nice meal at a restaurant or a relaxing day at the beach by checking my iPhone incessantly.

Thankfully, I found an article about 10 Karmic Laws for technology, and it inspired me to get a grip on what's important and to keep it simple so that technology actually works for me (not the other way around!). Here are some highlights from the article:

Not all tweets are created equal

Tweeting or updating your Facebook status is pretty much like getting up on a stage in front of 100+ of your friends and acquaintances and saying something into a sure to think twice about your intention and be respectful of your audience. A simple tip: don't over post -- not every thought that comes into your head needs to be shared.

Post in the past tense

Live your life, then share it. Here is an example: "I'm talking to the most amazing person in the elevator." Really? How can you be doing that when you're preoccupied tweeting about it? Instead, just enjoy the conversation. Forget there is a phone in your pocket or purse. Give yourself to that conversation. Then 10 minutes later, share the past tense variation "I just had the most amazing conversation with a women in the elevator!"

Give it a rest

Create a technology Sabbath! Choose a day of the week where you will not allow any electronic devices or media into your daily routine (outside of mandatory situations, like work).

When it comes down to it, much of the networking we're doing online is just taking time out of our lives to clutter the lives of our friends. Just because we have the ability to share every mundane thought of the moment doesn't mean there is a reason to. By limiting our time with and access to technology, we're forcing ourselves to value its use more and make better use of our limited time spent using it. So the answer is not in finding more time for technology, but in making sure each text, e-mail and post we create enhances our own lives or the lives of those we're connecting with.

If I live by these Karmic Laws, I'm pretty sure I'll reduce about half of the clutter I consume and produce using technology. And that makes time for me to take advantage of Google+ and anything else new that comes my way.


The case of the stolen necklace: what Urban Outfitters should have done in a crisis

My good friend and social media consulting colleague, Amber Karnes, was checking her Facebook feeds yesterday morning when she came across a Tumblr post by an independent jewelry artist who claimed Urban Outfitters stole her designs. The artist, Stevie Keorner, made a very compelling case. Outraged, Amber simply tweeted a link to the blog post:

Her tweet instantly received hundreds of retweets. Hours later, blogs like the Huffington Post and Boing Boing were reporting the news and celebrities like Miley Cyrus were bashing Urban Outfitters on Twitter. Urban Outfitters became an international trending topic on Twitter, and Amber's tweet was the top tweet about the topic! Amber wrote about how the entire sequence of events unfolded and how this story went viral, including her own PR perspective. It's definitely worth the read to see how someone with only about 1,000 twitter followers can create quite a stir for a large corporation: Anatomy of a trending topic: How Twitter & the crafting community put the smackdown on Urban Outfitters. 

Working in PR, the interesting part in all of this is that Urban Outfitters has done nothing substantial to respond. Within hours of Twitter breaking the news, the company sent one tweet relevant to the topic:

Beyond that, there has been no public response to this crisis. It appears Urban Outfitters removed the product from its stores (online and offline), but the company has not made any public announcements. This lack of response when their brand is virally getting slammed by people supporting a boycott is baffling. If I were consulting Urban Outfitters, here are some recommendations I would have given them:

1. Engage the influencers. There are several people, such as Amber, who were directly involved in spreading this story to the masses. These influencers should have been contacted immediately--via Twitter, via e-mail, via phone--to assure them their voices are important to the company and that Urban Outfitters cares and is looking into the matter.

2. Apologize. When a company does wrong, it's crucial to apologize and take responsibility. In the age of social media, this has to happen FAST. Every organization should have a playbook for handling crisis responses so it can react with timeliness to a crisis erupting virally online. Granted there are probably legal implications to be considered when announcing an apology, but the legal department should not keep the PR department from doing what's right. Urban Outfitters should publicly apologize for the gaff and explain the company has taken the products off the shelf while it continues to look further into the allegations. Using the company's website, Facebook, Twitter and blogger relations, Urban Outfitters should explain this gaff and explain how they are making it right.

3. Make it right. First off, you have to attack this problem at the source. That means looking internally at the organization and determining, "how did this happen?" What in Urban Outfitter's corporate culture allowed for this kind of bad corporate behavior? Urban Outfitters should be putting the appropriate measures in place internally to ensure this practice of stealing ideas from independent artists discontinues immediately. Perhaps even, heads should hit the chopping block.

Externally, a lot more goes into making it right publicly. Sometimes, you have to pay the Pied Piper. Urban Outfitters should come to an agreement with the designer they ripped off and should be investigating other instances within the company where this has happened (this is not the only allegation). Settling with these designers may involve the legal process, but it's PR's responsibility to get the message out that Urban Outfitters is committed to supporting independent designers and is actively working to resolve this problem.

4. Create goodwill. Urban Outfitters has outraged its customers, who value indie design and artistic expression. It's going to take a lot of work to repair that reputation damage. Urban Outfitters needs to launch a campaign celebrating independent designers. Perhaps they need a new product line where the designers are showcased and receive credit (similar to how Tiffany celebrates their designers, such as Paloma Picasso and Elsa Peretti). Beyond that, Urban Outfitters needs a longterm strategy for engaging the crafters and designers online who launched this attack on its brand. The damage is repairable if Urban Outfitters is willing to do the right thing.

While the delayed response to this crisis has already occurred, I still think Urban Outfitters could make this right. I hope they do because I used to love shopping there. 

What do you think? Was one tweet from Urban Outfitters enough to weather the social media storm? What would you have recommended if you were on their PR team? And if you, too, support this boycott, did the company do enough to win you back? What would have to happen to make you shop at Urban Outfitters again?


How do you handle facebook privacy work-life balance?

Over the past few years that I've been speaking on social media, the question always arises: how do you handle mixing your business and personal lives on facebook? How much personal information can you share without having it interfere with your work life? My answer has always been that when you post something online, even if marked private on facebook, you have published it online and there's no going back. So, the simplest solution is to not post anything online you wouldn't want your mom or grandmother to see.  Yes, I agree, this definitely tames your Facebook social life.

In the early days of facebook, I kept my profile strictly personal, not allowing work colleagues (or my mom!) access. If a colleague sent me a friend request, I simply replied that I am better at staying in touch on LinkedIn and would link to them there. But as Facebook slowly began taking over our world, I kept getting more and more friend requests from colleagues (mom kept resending friend requests too!). Maybe the answer was to create lists so that only certain groups could see certain postings?

While I was giving that some thought, facebook had a few privacy mishaps. Learning from that lesson, I began deleting any photos and content I didn't wish for my work colleagues (or mom) to see. Sure I could have set up groups, limiting what people in the "colleagues" group would see, but I felt it was just safer to not post anything online that I wouldn't want everyone to see.

Of course, that's hard when you want to post your photos from a party or vacation. Or even yet, when someone else tags a picture of you having a good time. But if you keep it somewhat classy, I think there is more of an understanding these days that outside of work we all have social lives.

On that leap of faith, I actually made my facebook profile and posts visible to everyone a few weeks ago. Guess what, the world didn't end (no stalkers yet, thankfully)! I figured since I'm mindful about what I post, there's no need to keep everyone from viewing it. Some people might find my profile edgy, but I'm perfectly happy with my facebook privacy work-life balance. No one seems offended by my posts yet anyways.

How do you handle facebook privacy work-life balance? Have you had any problems or concerns mixing business with pleasure on facebook? If you are hiring, what would you have to see on someone's facebook profile to disqualify them? I'd love to see some comments on the topic.