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social media education Archives - Jaggers Communications

Digital Citizenship: Best Practices for Navigating Social Media as a Student

By | Social Media | No Comments

At Jaggers Communications, we’re all pretty big fans of education. It doesn’t hurt that we’re all parents, a few of us with teenagers (and older — oh my!). We’re committed to excellent education for our kids and in our community. We support it in a variety of ways, through contributions to scholarship foundations and in our work. We’ve supported communications efforts for educational programs, tools and schools at all levels from preschools to graduate schools!

Today we launched a pilot program, courtesy of friend of the firm Coy Barefoot. Coy was teaching a class on leadership to area high school students and invited me to speak. I have been working on a program for students on digital citizenship and thought this would be the best place to roll it out with a good test audience.

The program doesn’t dwell on all the safety and guidance parents and schools have offered to kids using social media (although some of that is reiterated as a reminder). Rather, this program helps by providing guidance to students as they begin to transition from solely personal use of social media, to professional use as college students, graduates and employees.

We spent a lot of time talking about managing your personal online reputation and what that means for people getting ready to go off to college, applying to schools or for jobs. General awareness of the tools that exist (besides Facebook; teenagers know a lot about Facebook) and how they could and should be using them, is important.

You’d have to attend a Digital Citizen workshop to get the full gist of what was taught and the conversation that takes place in class, but the students were interested in access to the full presentation, and I thought the rest of you might be curious, as well.

 

Good Community is a Timeless Social Media Value

By | Communications, Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | One Comment

We were at a client meeting last week presenting social media strategy, and Marijean was kind enough to mention my past history as founder of a company called Rowdy.com. Rowdy was known as a “social network” and was focused on NASCAR racing. We built a platform to blog, share photos, video, comments, and observations on racing. Facebook wasn’t out yet, so we had to build it ourselves.

We produced award-winning podcasts, video, and content on our own to get the conversation started, but our primary goal was to create a place where real fans could get to know each other and get closer to their favorite sport and those involved in it. Rowdy grew very quickly primarily because we gave the fans something they could not get on their own–a singular voice that was about the real sport, not corporate spin. Our tagline was “Rowdy: Tell It Like It Is” and that’s exactly what we did. It was truly cutting edge and and was one the best examples of online community available, regardless of the topic.

One of the participants at our meeting remembered the site and was truly complimentary. I think it enhanced our reputation and credibility just a little and I was flattered to have had a positive impact on a race fan through that effort.

Cool, you say. So what? That stuff is old hat now! The takeaway is that even though that site was shut down earlier this year (after a two-year stint as a property of The Sporting News), folks still remember the quality of the content and the friendships they had there. Many fans are still offline friends–one couple who met there are actually getting married! Fans remember fondly meeting IRL at the races after friending one another at Rowdy. It was a true bonding experience because it was real people, useful and engaging content and a friendly, open forum for sharing and celebrating a passion.

So…are you creating that environment for your customers? Are you providing an open, engaging resource full of good content, friendly people, and social connective tissue? Are you using the tools currently available to maximize connection and interaction? If not, why not? Quit acting like this doesn’t matter. It does.

Five Ways to Beware the Social Media Scammer

By | Corporate Strategy, Media, Social Media | 2 Comments

There was an interesting study released last year by Booz & Co. in partnership with Buddy Media on social media and marketing and its impact on job growth. Some highlights:

  • Virtually every company (96%) has plans to spend more on social media; 40 percent plan to spend “substantially more.”
  • As companies are building up their social media, much of their investment is focused on hiring in-house staff. Partners also will play a key role in supporting companies as they use social more widely.
  • The money spent on social media will primarily be shifted from other forms of digital advertising, so new expertise will be required.

Great, we’ve gone mainstream!

But I gotta say, I’ve been really bothered lately by these so-called “social media experts” and “social media marketing firms” that are cropping up everywhere. “We have a decade of experience with Facebook marketing,” they say. Really?? It’s only five years old. Trust reduced. “View our case studies,” they invite. Really? OK, it says here your team worked with the client to develop a Facebook and Twitter marketing strategy. Cool. But what did that strategy actually include? What insights did you gather that make it worth sharing and using as a promo? Are you just spamming our news feeds with promos, or are you actually engaging? Why should I believe you without evidence?

Um, I don’t. Trust further reduced.

My point here is that there are a LOT of people out there capitalizing on the ignorance and fear of those who don’t understand how to tap into the amazing potential of engaged, strategic, social media use. They need real help, and so might you. So here are some guidelines to help weed out the opportunists from those folks that can actually get your social media projects off the ground.

  1. Make sure they create and deliver a strategy, not just tactics. Social media without a plan is worthless. You need to determine what your business goals are, how social tools fit into those, how content fits into that and who will do what. There also needs to be legit measurement against actual business goals, not just a laundry list of “likes” and “retweets.” If your potential vendor glazes over when you ask about those, run away.
  2. Check references. Did they actually accomplish anything of value for others? Not just what their web site claims, but real accomplishments that map to what you’re hoping to do as well. Can’t find those? Run away.
  3. Does what they claim sound reasonable? Anyone claiming to have more years of experience with a platform than it has actually existed would be a example of a suspect vendor.
  4. Run away from specific promises. “We’ll get you page one on Google, guaranteed!” would be an example. Another would be “get thousands of Twitter followers right away!” These things are theoretically possible, but without strategy and patience it will either be fleeting, damaging to your brand, or both.
  5. Focus on the conversation, engagement, and long-term relationships. These are the hallmarks of all the best social media campaigns. A legit social media strategist will embrace these ideas. Scammers, not so much.

Lock your doors, set the alarm, hide the kids!  Or call someone who can really help.

Have you ever been the victim of one of these scammers?

The Culture of Social Media without the Platforms; Mind = Blown

By | Communications, Public Relations, Social Media | 2 Comments

It’s a very busy time for my business and yesterday included a marathon of meetings right in a row (six!). Right in the middle, we met with a prospective client.

Now, Jaggers Communications offers the full suite of communications services from public relations to brand positioning to social media strategy, but often client conversations begin with learning about social media (it is a specialty of our firm). One of the people we met with shared his complete lack of use and knowledge of social media. He’s not engaged in any way online and hasn’t had an interest in doing so personally, even though he understands it’s important for his business to begin to seriously look at digital communications and how they should be used.

Then, he went on about his business philosophy, about how he prefers to serve clients, to interact with partners, to collaborate and nurture a culture of transparency within his organization.

And then my brain exploded.

Everything he said is exactly the culture that social media has established and worked to grow. It’s precisely where bloggers hoped business would evolve when it became impossible to hide behind a curtain of complacency. But it wasn’t the culture online that drove this man’s business values; it’s how his company has done business since the 1970s, long before blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

It was so refreshing, and so very exciting for me to meet with someone who “got it” before the technical aspects were even brought into the discussion. In fact, the words we use to talk about the tactics of social media are almost irrelevant. They’re tools to get us to the goals we make. The framework and quality are there; the genuine stories and rich culture exist; we have the honor of helping the business share them online.

Sometimes my work makes me giddy.

The One-Time Only Plan Development Workshop

By | Communications | No Comments

That’s right – I mean it – I’m only offering the Digital Communications Plan Development workshop once.

Why?

It’s my way of giving back to the Charlottesville community that has been so good to me in the five years since I moved here. To celebrate that, and help area businesses and nonprofits I’m offering this affordable three-hour boot camp to jump start your social media efforts in 2011.

You will:

  • Learn how you can be using social networking and social media to benefit your career and your business
  • Walk away with the infrastructure of a 2011 integrated communications plan for your business
  • Have focused attention and access to the most experienced communicator and social media expert in Central Virginia

The workshop will be January 13, 2011 at 9am at OpenSpace – more details.

I’m limiting participants to just 10 (3 seats left at this writing) to devote enough attention to each of you.

Sign up today or forward on to someone who you know will benefit from this workshop.

Register Now!

I hope to see you at OpenSpace on January 13!

Updated 1/12/2011: This workshop has SOLD OUT. Please stay in touch for future training opportunities.