Social Media Roundup/Telling a Story with Social Media

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This week's edition of the Social Media Roundup examines how to effectively tell a story using social media. Now that social media is becoming the norm, a big news event is no longer limited to the front page of a newspaper. Now, a news story can appear on Facebook, we can live-tweet the event on Twitter, we can post photos on Flickr and load video to YouTube. There are dozens of platforms designed to spread news of an event faster than ever before. But with that speed can come chaos, so this Social Media Roundup will take a look at how a social media team can appropriately harness the power of these platforms and create an effective social media strategy.

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Communicate for Effect: Content Management for Public Army Web sites

Social Media Roundup

Telling a story with Social MediaPlanning, posting, measuring

1

Social Media Roundup

Agenda

In this weeks Social Media Roundup, well take a look atwhat it takes to produce an effective social media strategy.

IntroductionPlanningPre-executionExecutionRespondingMeasuring

Social Media Roundup

News and information in a social media world

Today, people get their news from social media. Not all their news of course, but a great deal of it.In this social media culture, people no longer look for the news, the news finds them through news feeds, RSS feeds, twitter feeds, etc.In order to reach the largest audience possible, news outlets, government organizations and thought leaders are turning to social media platforms to spread their message.

Social Media Roundup

The Army uses social media to provide supporting coverage of an event. By synchronizing multiple platforms, a story can be told through video, photos and links.

Social Media Roundup

Creating a successful social media campaign

There are several social media platforms available to help tell a story and cover an event, but they are just tools. The trick is learning how to use these tools effectively.A successful social media campaign goes beyond just posting links and photos, its a process, and it requires planning.To create a successful social media campaign, its important to plan, execute, respond and measure.In this Social Media Roundup, we will use the recent Medal of Honor ceremony for SSG Salvatore A. Giunta as an example illustrating how to organize a social media campaign.

Social Media Roundup

PlanningDeveloping a social media strategy

Social Media Roundup

Developing a strategy

Developing a social media strategy requires research and preparation.To create a successful campaign, it is important to prepare.Identify goals of the strategyIdentify target audiences Identify the social media platforms that will be used in strategyDraft posts ahead of time Identify links ahead of time Determine how each post will be measured for effectiveness One way to plan all of this in advance is to create a social media strategy document. A template of social media strategy document can be viewed on the right or downloaded from the Armys Slideshare site: http://slidesha.re/dQgiVa

Social Media Roundup

Developing a strategy

Careful planning is crucial when preparing for a social media campaign. It is important to check all the links and draft all the posts in advance.Drafting the posts in advance and including them in the strategy document gives everyone visibility of the plan. Once the document is created and approved, anyone can pick up the strategy document and execute the plan.

Planning Strategy

Execution

Social Media Roundup

Pre-executionBuilding awareness and generating interest

Social Media Roundup

Pre-execution steps

There are several courses of action a social media team should take leading up to an event to make sure the public and the media is interested and aware of a news event.Build awareness beforehand by linking to official external sites, or posting trivia information to your social media platforms.If Twitter is part of the social media strategy, make sure a hashtag is in place, then advertise the hashtag so people are using it before the event. By putting it out there in advance, it will make it easier to track the reach of tweets later on.Email potential bloggers and media early with educational and promotional products. Reach out to other social media teams and provide information and graphics so they can post to their sites as well.

Social Media Roundup

ExecutionLinking, cross promoting and updating

Social Media Roundup

Executing a strategy

On the day of the event, social media managers can simply cut and paste their way through the day. In some cases a social media team may only have one person. If thats the case, sites like HootSuite can schedule posts and tweets to go out at certain times so users dont have to post manually. However, if events change, pre-scheduling can potentially cause problems.Its important to be prepared to change the strategy if necessary. Occasionally, a ceremony time may change, or a link may go down, so social media managers need to be prepared to deviate from the plan.

Social Media Roundup

Executing a strategy

On the day of the event, its important to continue posting and continue updating. Occasionally, a live stream link will become available, or new photographs will surface. Its also good to link to other Facebook sites because it shows how other sites are adding to the conversation.Keep in mind that while links, photos and information are great, it is possible to over saturate the platforms with event information. Make sure to pick the right links and avoid over posting.

To link to another Facebook site, first like their page. Then, when writing the post type an @ in front of the name of the unit and Facebook will take care of the rest.

This is an example of using a link in a post. Facebook will recognize this and include the link and sometimes a graphic with the post.

Social Media Roundup

RespondingReacting to bumps along the road

Social Media Roundup

Responding to potential problems

From time to time, a social media-related problem may arise during an event, like a fake twitter account, or a series of negative wall posts. Make sure there is a plan in place specific to the unit or organization to respond to potential problems.For example, during SSG Giuntas Medal of Honor ceremony, a fake Twitter account surfaced. The Online and Social Media Division took a series of steps to identify the page as an impersonation of SSG Giunta, including a Tweet from the U.S. Armys verified page and a direct message to the user updating the page. The owner of the site eventually changed his info box to indicate it was a fan twitter account.Every situation is different; thats why its important to have an organization-specific crisis plan in place.

Social Media Roundup

MeasuringDetermining the reach and success of your message

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Measuring success

Posting is one thing, but measuring the success of a post is something entirely different.Its important to track metrics across all platforms. On Facebook, social media managers can track comments, likes and impressions. On Twitter, its good to track retweets and mentions. Retweets and mentions can both be tracked by clicking on the message or by using TweetReach, an application that shows how far your tweets go.On YouTube and Flickr, the most important numbers are measured through views.

Social Media Roundup

Measuring success

Once the numbers are recorded, those numbers can be included after each post on the social media strategy document. This allows senior leaders to see the before and after effects of a social media strategy.Its also advised to create a slide including numbers and screenshots to visually demonstrate the success of a social media campaign.

Planning Strategy

Measurement in Planning Strategy

Social Media Roundup

Summary

Developing a successful social media campaign requires more than just posting links. To be effective, a social media strategy requires research, planning, pre-execution, execution and measuring.

Creating a social media strategy not only helps with planning, it also makes it possible for those not associated with the planning to execute the strategy.

Its important to plan for the worst. Make sure there is a plan in place to deal with social media-related issues, like imposter Twitter sites, negative wall posts or social media site malfunctions.

Measure the success of a campaign. Its easy to post information and forget it, but a social media team cant truly evaluate their success if they fail to measure how their messages resonate on the platforms they use.

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Email:Ocpa.osmd@us.army.mil

Contact information

Have questions? Please feel free to reach out to us at the Online and Social Media Division

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSPENTAGON

12/1/2010