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Social Media & Alumni Affairs

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

What do we mean when we say we want to “engage our alumni”? It depends on the institution and where you sit within the institution. If you’re operating your social channels from a Public Affairs or a campaign perspective, you may be trying to get university messaging about campaign priorities in front of alumni. If you’re doing it from an Annual Fund perspective, you could be taking baby steps towards actual solicitation via social channels, or you could be conveying stewardship messaging. If you’re doing it from an Alumni Affairs perspective, you might be trying to generate a critical mass of audience around a particular affinity or help promote an upcoming reunion. The point being, of course, that each of these units has goals that contribute toward broader institutional priorities. And unless you’re using the social platforms to advance these goals, you’re always going to have a hard time answering questions about ROI. It’s very easy to get distracted by new tools that are bright and shiny and treat them as ends in-and-of themselves, but as Andy Shaindlin has observed, your ultimate focus needs to be the behavior you want to cultivate, not the technology.

…Despite the current court battle that’s trying to quantify the value of a follower on Twitter, I don’t think we’re ever going to get anywhere trying to persuade people that there’s an innate value to a “like” on a fan page or a follower on Pinterest. If we’re being strategic, we need to ask the follow-up question of “Great. So how does that follower help you advance your unit’s goals?” From my team’s vantage point in Alumni Affairs and Development, we’ve concluded that we need to focus on using our suite of tools to enhance the footprint and amplify the impact of things that our organization is already doing well. For instance, we’ve spent lots of time and energy over the past year figuring out how to livestream live events to our Facebook audience. These are events that are already aligned with strategic priorities – if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be happening to start with. With just a modest, incremental investment of effort, we can take that event and make it available to an audience that is much broader than the live audience. The content that is already important enough to warrant an event is now accessible in real time around the globe.

Being able to report that we increased the size of the audience for an event by 175% and had viewers in 24 different countries lines up with existing metrics and goals in a way that saying that we increased our number of followers on Twitter by 8% simply does not. Sure, the two are related – the larger the audience on the social channels, the larger the audience for livestreams in that space – but one deals with priorities around which there is already consensus and one does not.

Via Social Media Today and Tomorrow

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Social Technologies & Value Creation

Social technologies “may become the most powerful tools yet developed to raise the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers — the kind of workers who help drive innovation and growth, and who are going to be in increasingly short supply.

This is one of the surprising takeaways from our recent research on the economic impact of social technologies. The business world knows (or thinks it knows) a lot about how social technologies are changing the world. With consumers spending gobs of time in online communities (more than 1.5 billion consumers around the globe have an account on a social networking site and almost one in five online hours is spent on social networks), marketing departments have increasingly shifted their attention to social media. They’re not only advertising and creating their own social sites, they’re engaging with consumers, listening in on unfiltered conversations, and soaking up huge amounts of data on consumer behavior — all of which is producing nifty new insights for fine-tuning product requirements and marketing messages.

It’s powerful stuff that will continue to evolve and change the way that companies market to consumers and B2B customers. But, it turns out that there’s something even more powerful at play: the potential for value creation when social technologies are used to improve collaboration and communication within and across enterprises is twice as big as the value that can be created through all other uses across the value chain.

Via Social Media’s Productivity Payoff

Sourcing from Social Media

In their Digital Journalism Study, Oriella surveyed 600 journalists and discovered that more than half (55 percent) used social channels such as Twitter and Facebook to find stories from known sources, and 43 percent verified existing stories using these tools.

26 percent of respondents said that they used social media to find stories from sources they did not know, and almost one in five (19 percent) verified work in progress from sources unknown to them.

The figures are even higher in the UK, with 75 percent of journalists using social media to research news from known sources.

Via 55% Of Journalists Worldwide Use Twitter, Facebook To Source News Stories

What Else Would You Like to Talk about?

It’s as if your clients or customers had called you on the phone to tell you how awesome they thought you were, and you said, “Hey thanks!” and then hung up.

In social media, your audience can’t see that you’re actually still standing there waiting for the next engagement volley. “Thanks!” pretty much says, “We’re done here,” so they move on. In order to get them to stick around, it’s up to you to add cues or prompts to your initial answer to keep the conversation moving forward (now, or in the future).

For example these are door opening comments …

Thanks for your comment! What’s the link to the post you wrote on this topic?
LOL! Next time you’re in town, let me know. I’d love to buy you coffee.
That’s a great suggestion. What else can we do to improve our site?
Too true. You have such great insights on this. Ever consider guest blogging?
You can find that info on our website. Are there any questions I could answer for you right now?

Via The Art of Opening Social Conversations

The Platonic Version of the News Tweet

Steadiness — compelling news expressed in straightforward, not hyperbolic, language — is actually a component of maximally shareable content, the algorithm suggests. And this particular tweet is also sent from a credible source, The New York Times, which makes it extra-spreadable. It’s about technology, the most popular, shareable category of news story. It’s engaging without being insistent. And it stars a company — Apple — with high name recognition.

The algorithm comes courtesy of a fascinating paper [pdf] from UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs. The researchers Roja Bandari, Sitram Asur, and Bernardo Huberman teamed up to try to predict the popularity — which is to say, the spreadability — of news articles in the social space…

To develop their algorithm, the researchers hypothesized that four factors would determine an article’s social success:

    • The news source that creates and publishes the article
    • The category of news the article belongs to (technology, health, sports)
    • Whether the language in the article was emotional or objective
    • Whether celebrities, famous brands, or other notable institutions are mentioned

Via Why the World’s Most Perfect News Tweet Is Kind of Boring

Facebook’s Future?

After Facebook fails

The amazing thing here is that business keeps trying to improve advertising — and always by making it more personal — as if that’s the only way we can get to Michael’s “sweeping, basic, transformative, and simple way to connect buyer to seller and then get out of the way.” Three problems here:

  1. By its nature advertising — especially “brand” advertising — is not personal.
  2. Making advertising personal changes it into something else that is often less welcome.
  3. There are better ways to get to achieve Michael’s objective — ways that start on the buyer’s side, rather than the seller’s.

…In , which Chris Locke, David Weinberger, Rick Levine and I wrote in 1999, we laid into business — and marketing in particular — for failing to grok the fact that in networked markets, which the Internet gave us, individuals should lead, rather than just follow. So, since business failed to get Cluetrain’s message, I started in mid-2006 at Harvard’s Berkman Center. The idea was to foster development of tools that make customers both independent of vendors, and better able to engage with vendors. That is, for demand to drive supply, personally. (VRM stands for .)

Imagine being able to:

  • name your own terms of service
  • define for yourself what loyalty is, what stores you are loyal to, and how
  • be able to gather and examine your own data
  • advertise (or “intentcast”) your own needs in an anonymous and secure way
  • manage your own relationships with all the vendors and other organizations you deal with
  • … and to do all that either on your own or with the help of that work for you rather than for sellers (as most third parties do)

Signal

5 secrets to building your LinkedIn presence

Use LinkedIn Signal for prospecting.

Signal is a feature on LinkedIn that is rarely talked about, but it is powerful. You can access it by selecting “Updates” in the master search menu or by selecting “Signal” in the drop down menu on the “News” tab.

Basically, Signal is an aggregated feed of all the status updates, groups posts, and any other content posted on LinkedIn.

Why is this powerful? Because you can essentially see every status update from every person on LinkedIn. Not just your connections, or those within a couple degrees of you, but every person on LinkedIn.

You can then use a targeted keyword search to sort through the statuses to find people talking about topics with which you want to engage. You can even sort the results by company, location, and many other parameters.

I just learned about Signal & I’m going to explore it.