“Sign I’m getting old: An invite to the local ‘swingers’ group now means taking my kids to the neighborhood playground.”
I saw that on Facebook this morning—made me feel that my time wasn’t wasted for checking, although other than that quote, it really was. Are pet videos in again or was this just a special week? Really people, though I guess these are my “friends.”
Social media can be simultaneously amazing and silly. Jeremy Phillips, COO of StrategyEye in London, told me a funny story about his 11 year-old daughter this morning, how she and her friends have become photo curators on Instagram. The parallel is that, like him, they combine original and non-original content—photos in this case—to build a coherent stream and attractive overall collection—and then they wait for the likes. Phillips said they get “plunged into despair” if they don’t get them, but usually do. They like that Instagram rewards what you do rather than who you are. “They’re becoming really keen editors,” he said.
Hard to give advice on a platform that 11 year-olds may be better at than we are, but that’s the world we live in. Here are tips I’ve read recently. The first four are from a good article by Lauren Jonas on the Association Media & Publishing site.
1. “Storify things like live events, milestones and Twitter chats.” Jonas gives an example here from the American Public Health Association that looks very engaging.
2. “Create photo/video contests — could be as simple as awarding a Starbucks gift card to the tweet-of-the-day at your conferences and events.” That’s a really good idea to get more people tweeting.
3. “Create a meme or series of infograms—two simple tools are piktochart.com and canva.com.”
4. Jonas calls connecting current events to your company “newsjacking.” How can you connect with the World Cup? Perhaps it’s financially, or the global nature, or the terminology. (I had to red-card my colleague today.) Audiences like topical and current.
5. Jonas also recommends Facebook as a news aggregator (along with Twitter). Barry Judge, CMO of LivingSocial, is now “grabbing the products that we think will sell well off our site and then typically we’ll use Facebook to get people interested. His example was Dotzila Bluetooth Shower Speakers. “Essentially what we do is we figure out from our own users who’s buying, then we find similar audiences on Facebook and sell it to them.”
6. Awe will get reactions in your social media postings. Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, studied 7,000 New York Times articles to see which made the most emailed list. “Awe gets our hearts racing and our blood pumping,” Berger said. “This increases our desire for emotional connection and drives us to share.”
7. Amy Maclean, editor of CableFax Daily, says they have a daily social media and planning meeting for editorial and marketing. She joked that if only marketing read their publication they might not be necessary, but said that meetings involve “more than not just getting enough comprehension. We do it informally every day at 10:30 a.m and keep it to 15 minutes. It’s really just to let people know what you’re doing that day.” Maybe editorial has some time to help marketing with a blast or tweet. “We reluctantly started it but now it’s a highlight.”
8. Jonas also is very high on blogs. I think most people are. Carl Landau of Niche Media, an event company, says they are pivotal for building an event’s audience. He may start a specific blog for each of his events. One thing to remember is that blog posts can be short, they can link to a video or story, they can be a photo, etc.
One of my favorite art bloggers posted just this the other day: “A hidden portrait has been unearthed beneath Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece ‘The Blue Room.’” He gave a link, and it was an interesting story. Something simple like that keeps me checking his blog every day. So don’t fret about having to always do a 600- or 700-word post. You just want to be engaging and consistent.
Those 11 year-olds shouldn’t have all the fun.
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 .