Archive for the ‘Online’ Category

Not feeling the social media love? When to change course (or even abandon ship)

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Unplugging an electrical cordRob was at the Inbound conference last week in Boston, joining thousands of communications professionals sharing experiences and ideas on using content to engage audiences.

When do you pull the plug on a social media channel?

That’s the question that faced Copyblogger, a service that’s all about communicating through social media. Yet they decided to leave Facebook — the single biggest gorilla in the social menagerie.

Graph in front of Facebook logoIt was actually a simple decision. Copyblogger was getting likes and shares, but very little engagement. Or, as their Chief Content Officer Sonia Simone told a packed room for her session The Intersection of Content and Social Media, “We didn’t love Facebook.” And great content, she added, is about love.

Copyblogger wanted a thriving community on Facebook, not just a presence. And if they were only participating reluctantly, that lack of enthusiasm would probably be picked up by their followers, and damage engagement.

They turned comments off on their blog for similar reasons.

English: Comment iconMany of the comments were low-value “Good post!”-style responses… along with a ton of the usual spam. And while they were also getting longer, more engaged comments, Copyblogger decided that — consistent with the company’s mission of promoting great written content — those conversations would be more powerful happening on the commenters’ own blogs.

Both decisions allowed them to focus their resources where they’d have the most impact, and engender the most productive engagement. Because the often-overlooked truth is that even “free” platforms like Facebook and Twitter have a cost to them: the time and attention they require you to spend to keep them fed with content, take part in conversations and uproot whatever weeds poke their heads out.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you should ditch Facebook; you almost certainly shouldn’t.

But it’s worthwhile to give every platform a hard look now and then, and ask yourself: What do we intend to accomplish here? How are we measuring it? And how are we doing? And based on the answers, lay in a few course adjustments.

Those probably won’t be as drastic as shutting off blog comments or bailing on Facebook. But they can help ensure you’re making progress instead of spinning your wheels.

Your Facebook Page probably got less popular. Here’s why you don’t need to panic.

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Facebook logo with a downward-trending graph

Obsessing over metrics like the number of “Likes” your organization’s Facebook Page has received is a fool’s game.

It’s also damn near irresistible, which is why a few cheers went up at NOW headquarters recently when we passed a minor milestone on that front. No bottles of anything were uncorked, mind you—we’re not that numbers-crazed.

And besides, we all took a hit on March 12. (more…)

Why “crushing defeat” may be the key to email victory

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

email trophyIf you’re communicating with your members, supporters or the general public by email, you probably think at least a little about subject lines: which ones will get people to open your message, and which will consign it to unread oblivion?

And you’ve probably heard you want something short and eye-catching, and provocative enough to prompt a click (or, these days, a tap).

How short and provocative? (more…)

A little accountability for your Facebook Page

Friday, February 28th, 2014

A screen capture of a really bad Facebook postOne big challenge when you have a team managing a social media presence is accountability. Someone accidentally posted a photo of yesterday’s lunch to your Facebook Page. One of the people with the keys to your Twitter account just responded to an innocent question with an offensive tirade. But how do you know who?

If you’re paying for team collaboration features with a tool like HootSuite, you may well be able to answer those questions. But otherwise, unless someone owns up, you won’t be able to have the conversations that can prevent future misfires. (And conversely, you won’t be able to give the real author of a great post the recognition they’re due.)


Not just numbers, but the RIGHT numbers

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Upworthy logo with a graph superimposedIn digital communications, measurement can seem easy. We have this many Twitter followers, this many Facebook likes, this number of unique visitors. Our influence is clearly growing because our Klout score went from that to this.

But chasing numbers can be a fool’s errand if you aren’t chasing the right numbers, and asking the right questions about them. (more…)

Closed-captioning for YouTube: easy and powerful

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Closed Captioning logoOf all the YouTube features that communicators overlook, one of the most valuable is closed captioning.

We’ve been doing it for broadcast TV ads for years, but it’s remarkably easy and powerful on YouTube. By uploading a simple text file, you can have complete control over when closed captions appear, and what they say. That can help you reach hearing-impaired audience members, as well as viewers who’d rather keep their devices muted to avoid disturbing their cubicle-mates.

But closed captioning will even help you reach the folks who crank the subwoofers to 11. That’s because the text in those captions gets read by Google – making closed captioning an essential part of your search engine strategy.

You could just rely on YouTube’s speech recognition technology to transcribe it automatically. But that’s a risky proposition.


Have you thanked a community manager lately?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Computer mouse in the shape of a heartThis Monday is the fourth annual Community Manager Appreciation Day. Officially, it’s a chance to recognize the folks who help keep the online conversation flowing smoothly, and the virtual bowls of Cheesies and beer cooler well-stocked.

But it’s a lot more than just 21-thumbs-up salutes and parades in cities across the world. (Note to self: confirm parades are happening before building that float.) It’s a chance to learn from each other, and share our experiences in community management. (more…)

When tragedy strikes, take stock – and hit the social media pause button

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Photo of a thumb pressing the pause button on a remoteWhen the news broke of last Friday’s attack on a Newtown, Connecticut school, many people turned to social networks: some looking for news, others for comfort, and still others a forum to express themselves.

But amidst the flood of messages of concern, sympathy and anguish on Twitter, you could also see businesses blithely tweeting about deep discounts and holiday sales, and organizations asking their followers to retweet cute photos of cats. And they reaped a whirlwind of online anger over their callousness and insensitivity.

In most cases, though, callousness wasn’t the problem. Automation was. (more…)

BC Teachers’ Federation back-to-school campaign

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

We were really excited to work with the BC Teachers’ Federation on this fall’s campaign. Strong public education is an issue we’re all passionate about. And the scope of the project provided an interesting creative opportunity and challenge.

This campaign spanned a substantial range of media formats, and launched over the short course of about a month. Each piece needed to stand alone and communicate the teachers’ message in a warm, friendly and fun way…but they also needed to connect across mediums to strengthen and support the overall positioning.