Reflections on the semester
Today I met my neighbor for coffee, after she asked if I could share my thoughts on how she was using social media for her business, which offers customer service training.
She actively posts her articles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter using Hootsuite, but she wasn’t seeing any benefit. When she placed Facebook ads it didn’t attract the audience she was looking for.
What, she wanted to know, was she doing wrong with social media?
I thought about her business and her goals before we talked, and many themes of this semester came to mind. Specifically, my advice was to start with her desired outcome (get paying clients) and then adapt her strategy to that end (by investing in SEO and growing her email list).
After that, she was off and running. That’s her text message to me a few hours later.
The above strategy seems so straightforward, but it’s not how we think about our online presence. We want a website that looks flashy, lots of Likes on Facebook and more Twitter followers.
Those aren’t bad means to an end, but if we use them as starting points we can forget that they aren’t ends in themselves.
Her business was similar to Derrick in that she has a huge email list of people she hopes to convert to hire her for speaking, training or webinars. So I suggested she follow Halpern’s Facebook strategy. Instead of hoping for likes, buy promoted posts and get even more of her target audience to sign up for her email list.
She also offers a service that people will likely be searching for. So I asked what phrases people are likely to Google for her services, and incorporate that into a single landing page on her site, complete with actionable steps to contact and hire her. Thanks, Shannon.
This underscores the point that everyone can use the web differently, depending on their goals. There is no one size fits all, and sometimes old school tools complement or can be even more powerful than more modern options. It can be posting photos of bacon around lunch time or emailing customers about an upcoming chocolate tour on Tuesdays when it’s sunny.
I feel like I knew this coming into the class, but the case studies and examples help solidify my belief that you need to explore all your options when you’re trying to meet your goals. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see, hear and learn from the creative ways businesses are doing just that.
Where do I sign up?
This morning I shaved with a lotion I paid entirely too much for. I also used soap and wore an undershirt, underwear and socks that I probably overpaid for.
Why did I do this? Because I subscribed to them from Manpacks.
Manpacks makes it easy to buy certain things that I would otherwise go to the store for again and again. This makes my life easier and I’m willing to pay a little bit more for the service.
The other component is these start-ups tend to have an active social media presence. I’ve even talked about shoulder injury treatments over Twitter with the founder of Manpacks. That makes me more likely to buy from them again.
Right now it seems like online retailers are taking advantage of the subscription model while physical retailers are lagging behind. I’ve also used DollarShaveClub.com for blades and Amazon.com’s Prime for regular shipments of diapers and toilet paper.
There is no reason why retail stores can’t do this. Target or Wal-Mart, for example, could put a bar code on the shelves next to certain products that allow customers to sign up for regular weekly or monthly shipments. It offers instant gratification, but also combats the showroom effects by saving customers time and effort in the long term.
This would offer physical retailers a steady stream of income even after their customers walk out the door, and would help ensure customer loyalty after they’ve tested out the product in-store. It’s a win win. Where do I sign up?
When we were in college, our careers didn’t exist yet. During your time as digital communication leaders, you’ve managed through unimaginable change - from fragmentation and browser wars of the ’90s, the rise of online video, the fall of video rental behemoths like Blockbuster. You’ve seen social media radically shift how people connect and overturn the balance of power between brands and consumers, people and governments. And now we’re doing it all on mobile.
How do you manage for change and innovation?
Daria Kempka’s question on the Insight Summit Series panel with Tom Pionek from Marquette and Jamey Shiels from Aurora
Tom’s response? Make small bets on a lot of things and see what works and what doesn’t.
Jamey’s response? You make us sound like super heroes.
If you liked the music in our new video, check out the full song by Jones Street Station: http://go.mu.edu/theunderstanding
The band includes Marquette alumni Danny Erker and the video features acting from Marquette Theatre alumni Danny Pudi and Monica West.
See how Marquette social media wins in 90 seconds.
Yep, pretty proud of this video.
How to create the anti-viral video
In my math class we recently learned about exponential decay, which is defined as follows:
“A quantity is subject to exponential decay if it decreases at a rate proportional to its value.”
I’m still trying to figure out what that means in terms of logarithms, but I feel like it might explain the half life of viral videos and why the Harlem Shake is already over.
Viral videos aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they can be short-sighted and they’re not the end-all, be-all of YouTube as people seemed to believe a few years ago.
But there is an alternative to simply trying to maximize page views in the shortest amount of time before decay sets in.
“Viral doesn’t have to mean 10 million views,” Tracy Mueller wrote in an excellent recap of a viral video panel at South by Southwest. “It’s people responding to a clip and feeling compelled to share it.
To accomplish this, brands can focus on a lasting message that resonates — and bypass the exponential bust. Here are some ways to create an anti-viral video, or a video that stands the test of time.
How-to and descriptive videos can keep getting hits over the years because people find ongoing value from them. Marquette’ Danny Pudi video is closing in on 100,00 views not just because it’s funny and features a prominent alum, but because it shows his tour of campus and provides useful commentary. After nearly three years, the growth graph continues to move upward in a linear fashion.
A funny clip can get forgotten as soon as it’s viewed, but a story can stick with you forever. I think that’s one of the secrets behind the popular Ted Talks series. These videos take complicated and often esoteric concepts, and make them relatable and compel people to share them through personalized storytelling.
Create a sense of wonder
This was my favorite takeaway from the aforementioned SXSW session. Matt did it with his world-wide dancing. OK Go does it with their elaborately orchestrated music videos. People are more likely to share videos with positive emotions. How can you create that for your audience?
How I use social media for the classroom
Today I’m giving a presentation to Marquette’s Center for Teaching and Learning on how I use social media in the classroom, so I thought it would be only appropriate to explain with a blog I can share in social media.
A more accurate title may be how I use social media outside the classroom, because technology breaks down the construct that teaching and learning are reserved for the confines of the physical classroom. Using social media outside the classroom for assignments and follow-ups also frees up our limited classroom time for discussions, case studies and guest speakers.
Students are spending much of their time on Facebook, so I decided to go to them and take the path of least resistance. I set up a private Facebook group (it can be done in minutes) where I post before and after class to clarify assignments, answer questions and add notes about lessons. Facebook also shows me who in the group has seen my posts and lets me tag people so I can answer individual questions or highlight a student’s good work. There’s also Facebook groups dedicated to students, but I’ve found those aren’t much different than regular Facebook groups.
Last semester I used a physical textbook and this semester I’m using an online text, but I still find I want to add my own observations and lessons. For this I use the blog http://muwrites.tumblr.com. I also house links, a class calendar and the syllabus here for easy reference. The Tumblr blog format not only lets me write my own timely lessons, it lets me easily share (or reblog, in Tumblr-speak) work from others if it’s relevant to the class. In the same way, students set up their own blogs to post their writing assignments. I want them to get used to the idea that homework (just like real work) shouldn’t be something quietly handed in to a professor and forgotten about until it comes back with a grade. I prefer this part of my class to be public, so we can all interact with and get feedback from the rest of the world.
Google’s live video chat allows me to bring in guest speakers who aren’t in Milwaukee, like a recent tutorial we did with Sprout Social. Because multiple people can join a hangout, students were able to join and watch on their own devices. Google Hangouts also provide the option of streaming and saving on YouTube if students want to refer back to the lessons later.
I use a class hashtag (#muwrites) to aggregate relevant articles when I come across them on Twitter. That way, they all show up in one place when you click the hashtag. These aren’t assigned readings, but are extra nuggets I can provide for highly motivated and engaged students. It can also be used to introduce guest speakers and ask them questions ahead of time. I also follow hashtags #EdChat and #EdTech to see what other teachers are sharing so I can learn from them.
Facebook and Twitter lists
Social media can be a noisy and overwhelming place, but lists can help by curating people or brands just like hashtags curate topics. I use Twitter lists and Facebook’s interest lists to organize guest speakers and students’ clients in one spot.
These ideas are by no means original or unique to me. I simply borrowed from what other teachers were already doing and modified for my own needs. These tools won’t work for everyone, which is why it’s important to find what fits your classroom.
What works best for you? I set up a Google Plus thread where I hope you will share. Click here to contribute.
Backpacker wants me back
Years ago I subscribed to Backpacker magazine, and now I routinely get emails and letters to renew my subscription, promising increasingly elaborate offers. I lost track of all the free gifts I’ve given up over the years by not taking them up on it.
But for this assignment, I decided to give them another shot.
The first thing I noticed was that their subscription site and shopping cart appears to be outsourced to a company called The Internet Transaction Processing System. It looks like they haven’t updated their web design since 1997.
I’m immediately hit with a barrage of details from trial offers to three free gifts to payment options. I’m not sure where my eye should go or what I should pay attention to. It also uses a liberal amount of orange, one of nature’s warning colors. It sort of stressed me out.
After entering my credit card info, I thought better of it and closed the window. I immediately got a pop-up asking me if I didn’t want to subscribe now, I could be billed later.
I have to admit, that removed the immediate barrier to signing up. It may have worked, if I hadn’t already been through this process once before. And I didn’t want to do it again in a few months.
Raw audio of a panel on social media with Herbert Lowe from the Diederich College of Communication, Lori Federich from the College of Education and Sean Berthold from Residence Life. Moderated by Tim Cigelske, Director of Social Media. For more on social media at Marquette visit http://marquette.edu/social