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Social Media Strategy

social networks statistics
With a growing number of sites and social networks, how do you decide what networks to join? What strategy should you use? What kind of time will it take? While all these questions are valid, the most useful question is: what will be most useful for me? What will keep me connected to others and others connected with me?

A few tips from a few blogs:

Duct Tape Marketing says:

I think the best way to look at social media is to view it as a way to open up access points. These points can then be leveraged to create content, connection, and community. Do that well, and they can also add to lead generation, nurturing and conversion.
I’ll talk more about this in a free webinar this Wednesday put on by the good folks at Jigsaw, but here are couple point to ponder.

Choose your social media tools with an ideal interaction in mind
– Is a blog a starting point or an ending point?
Choose your social media objectives with connection in mind
– Are you after traffic, primary and secondary links or access to communities that think and act alike?

Jeff Pulver writes about the role of an online “Community Developer”:

A company’s Facebook strategy is just a piece of the answer. It is not the complete answer. At best it is a tactic. And a company’s social media strategy isn’t something which can be entirely outsourced either. When implemented it requires a commitment from the company to support the efforts, not to just press play and walk away and hope for the best.

While I have actively used the term “community” since 1994, and hired a friend in 1999 and gave him a title of “Community Developer” it has taken a number of years for the world to catch on to some concepts I have been taking for granted for years.

It turns out when you decided to put your company “on the Internet”, like it or not, it would be a lifetime commitment to being subject to ongoing change and innovation. What at first was creating a gateway for company email and a website to establish an Internet presence has evolved into being able to leverage the best tools whenever possible when playing in an always-on world of pervasive broadband.

Chris Brogan writes a series of articles on social media. A few of his tips:

1. Social media isn’t that scary, but it is different than what you’ve been doing. For one thing, it’s far more messy, and requires a lot more hand-holding.
2. You have SO MUCH to gain from figuring out some of these tools and the way we’re using them.
3. Blogging isn’t the same as releasing marketing materials.
4. Putting up commercials on YouTube isn’t videoblogging.

I read this article by Britt Parrot some time ago and thought it good enough to repost here:

Social media is not about technology, nor about keeping up with the latest trend. The primary goal of using social media has to be communication, not technology and not viral marketing. A company has phones because it wants employees to be able to talk to other people, not because it wants to be at the “cutting edge of voice-activated, enterprise digital communication systems”—and not because it wants to call everyone in the phone book with a sales pitch! If the main goal for using social media is to be at the cutting edge of technology, or if your client’s eyes light up when they realize they can use social media to send a mass message to followers, it will fail. Social media is part of a long-term communication strategy to build relationships.

Ignite Social Media writes about the difference between a social media campaign and social media strategy:

Social media strategy: A social media strategy should always come before a social media campaign. Ideally, it should come at least six months before the social media campaign. In it, you re-evaluate your internal assets and begin to (a) analyze and (b) engage with the community, but you don’t “ask” for anything in return yet. We did this first for Ignite, and it pays huge dividends.

Social media campaign: A social media campaign derives from a social media strategy. The major difference here is that now you (a) understand the audience that cares about your subject and where they gather, (b) you’ve given quality information away and developed followers, and (c) you now have measurable goals. Now you’re activating people and trying to “get” something.

Effective Use of Webtools

This coming Thursday, the Queens Council for the Arts will be hosting a panel for artists. As one of the panelists, I’ve been asked to address the question, “How to effectively get your message out.”

Essentially – you’ve got a website, a social networking profile, or other online identities – now what?

This past May, I gave a presentation on this very issue.

You can see the presentation here.

And I know – the very challenge we all face is “Not enough time, money, or space.” (Hint: This challenge is not unique to artists). And we also have the inevitable question – do we have to do everything like setup a facebook, myspace account, and linkedIn account?

Simply said, if you’re going to actually use these tools to communicate, then of course – use them. They are popular sites because they are useful tools. But if you’re not going to use it, don’t set it up. It’s like having an email account you never check. Why bother?

My question for you then, the reader, revolves around content production :

  • TOOLS: How do you envision producing content for the web?
  • RESOURCES: What kind of resources do you already have that will enable you to produce this content?
  • MESSAGE: What will this content communicate?
  • ACTION: What response would you like to elicit from your online audiences?
  • PURPOSE: How will this serve your mission and connect to your work offline?

Answering these questions will benefit you much better than answering, what do I do with my MySpace account? If you can answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to developing your online presence and growing your audience – online and off.

Some Places to start:

1. Start working with a CMS (Content Management System)

If you want to be able to manage and update your website without a web programmer, invest in a content management systems.

I suggest you use one of the following:

  • WordPress (typically a blogging platform, but scalable for large sites) – easy, cheap setup
  • Drupal (open-source) – higher learning curve, large set of functionality
  • Joomla – most popular, though typically more expensive to develop
  • Plone – popular with environmental organizations
2. Create a production calendar, just like you would create for any other work you may have.
3. Start documenting your work online. We’re living in a green-conscious world. We should resuse all we can. Documenting your work online offers you a chance to reuse materials from your process.
This can mean:
  • posting your photos online (I recommend flickr)
  • writing about your process on a blog
  • posting a series of videos online
  • offering tutorials
  • revealing your process as its own art form
4. Offer your audience members a chance for feedback. Be prepared to listen and respond. By offering users + audiences a chance to submit their own content (user-generated content), you relieve yourself the responsibility of producing and uploading content. However, you still have the responsibility of making sure you respond, and participate in the community you are creating.
5. Create a place for experimentation. Your mission will not change from month-to-month. So your basic website should not change drastically from month-to-month, either. However, you do need places to try new things out. Setup a test blog on wordpress, or a personal account on flickr. Begin testing things out for yourself. See what works for you.
The most important thing in building your online presence is to remain open and responsive. With a positive and open attitude, you’ll create possibilities you haven’t even thought of yet!
RELATED LINKS:
For an interesting read, check out 11 Ways to Market your Site

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Networking

Artists on the Web | Learning to Love You More

 I was thinking about how artists translate their work online and came across this great article on Creative Capital.org.

The article looks at interesting web projects that artists put together as an extension of their work. I remember seeing (and loving) one of the projects, Learning to Love You More by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. The project asks user to complete “homework assignments” – and the results are often heartfelt, hysterical or both. The artists say, “We spend hours drifting through the site…reading your life stories, watching your videos, listening and looking. It is one of our favorite things to do, and we know that thousands of other people feel the same way.”

I wonder how this kind of project can be developed within the performing arts community. . . . What will it take?

Strategies for Online Outreach at The Field | Spring 2008

This month, I am leading a workshop at The Field called Strategies for Online Outreach.

In addition to looking at online marketing, I am hoping that the working artists in this workshop will begin developing interesting online projects. I was thinking about how artists translate their work online and came across this great article on Creative Capital.org.

The article looks at interesting web projects that artists put together as an extension of their work. I remember seeing (and loving) one of the projects, Learning to Love You More by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. The project asks user to complete “homework assignments” – and the results are often heartfelt, hysterical or both. The artists say, “We spend hours drifting through the site…reading your life stories, watching your videos, listening and looking. It is one of our favorite things to do, and we know that thousands of other people feel the same way.”

I wonder how this kind of project can be developed within the performing arts community. . . . What will it take?