Five Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013


[This is an article I wrote for my book, Face2Face – I thought it would make a great post here, too – enjoy! DLK]

Social media has been around for over ten years. My guess is that by now, your organization is probably involved in some way with social media. Maybe you have created a Twitter or Facebook account. Maybe you even have some friends and fans on those accounts, and you share things with them when you have time.

Let’s rework this in 2013. Social media is now mainstream, and your customers are using it to connect. They connect easily to each other, and since the tool is the same, they’ll find it easy to connect to your organization, too… if you make a few easy-to-do adjustments in your approach to business-facing social media.

Here are five simple adjustments you can make to kick-start your organization’s social media efforts in 2013:

1. Focus on Conversations

First off, let’s focus on conversations. Many organizations and businesses have been using social media status updates as a broadcasting tool. They send out notices of events, sales, or coupons. Possibly, they have used social media as an easy outlet to send out press releases and important corporate announcements.

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer ConnectionsGuess what? If your organization focuses primarily on sending out corporate communications, your customers will tune out your organization and unfriend you in a heartbeat. In 2013, instead of using social media as a one-way broadcast tool, work on starting and continuing conversations with your customers.

This will require your organization to do three important things: 1. Listen before you speak. Set up some listening tools (Google alerts and Twitter search alerts are good places to start) to see what your customers are saying about you; 2. Respond, using colloquial, conversational language. This will feel weird if you’re used to more formal marketing-speak. Make it feel like you’re talking to a work colleague at the water cooler – do this, and people will start talking to you. And 3 – figure out what types of conversations YOU want to start. Do some brainstorming on the conversations your organization needs to hear in 2013, and start those conversations.

2. Focus on the Visual

For the most part, many businesses and organizations have been posting text-heavy status updates in their social media accounts. That makes sense in text-based Twitter, but not so much in Facebook. In fact, Facebook best practices show that when you do one simple thing – add a photo or a video to your post – engagement increases by 100% or more.

So get those cameras out of your pockets (yes, that iPhone or Android smartphone makes a great point-and-shoot camera), and start taking photos around the office, the warehouse, or the store. Maybe think about the three most important things that your customers should know about your organization, take photos of that, then share those photos with customers.

3. Focus on Video

That smartphone I just mentioned in #2 is also HD quality video recorder, and we can put it to good use! There’s a reason YouTube is so popular right now – people love watching short videos. Studies show that people engage more with video posts than with text-only posts.

Here’s my guess – most likely, you haven’t made many videos for your organization. If you have created some videos, it probably resembled a TV commercial. That’s not what your customers want to watch. Instead, get to the point immediately – YouTube suggests that the first 15 seconds are critical to connect with viewers. So don’t waste those seconds with titles, fade-ins, and credits.

Just start sharing your main points. Then post that video to two places – YouTube and Facebook. Use YouTube to share in most places, and use the Facebook upload to share with your Facebook page fans. Facebook’s algorithm favors videos uploaded to Facebook, so those will get seen more than a shared YouTube video.

4. Focus on Next Steps

Many times organizations post information to their social media accounts, but don’t include anything for customers to do. They don’t include a next step. Let’s change that in 2013. Make sure that everything you do includes some type of “ask.” That ask can be as simple as asking customers to “friend or fan” a Facebook Page, or the ask might be to click a link that takes them to a new product or a buy-it-now page.

More people will click if you actually ask them to click. Because of this, make sure to provide customers with some next steps, and actually invite them to take that next step. Do that, and your organization will be one step closer to continued engagement with customers.

5. Focus on your Customers!

Finally, most businesses and organizations, believe it or not, don’t actually focus on their customers! Instead, they focus on their stuff, on their showroom floor, or on their sales staff. In 2013, let’s focus on our customers. Engage them in conversation. Ask them if they like what they’re seeing. Ask them to take next steps, and invite them into your organization.

Follow these five simple reshaping steps, and you will be well on your way to having a great 2013 with social media, and with some really engaged customers, too.

pic by Tintin44

Kick Starting IT Collaborations – Internet Librarian 2012

Title: Kick Starting IT Collaborations
Speakers – Michael Porter, Helene Blowers, and Carson Block

Michael Porter:

It isn’t about the departments, it’s about the library. Our mission. Our patrons.

We sometimes hyper focus on the things we know…

When we see a baby crying, we have empathy.

Sometimes librarians, directors, IT departments … are just fussy.

Emotional intelligence
– The ability to accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others
– Use emotions to facilitate thinking
– Understand emotional meanings and manage emotions

Thinking about & incorporating emotional intelligence helps staff succeed.

So … Ask, listen, understand, empathize, chill, process, and keep perspective. Focus on these things with staff, and focus on our unique missions as libraries. This can help trump people differences and interpersonal struggles.

*****

Helene Blowers

Helene doesn’t have an IT or a librarian background. It’s in organizational communications” that has really helped her in her career.

Strategies – you have to deal with the culture. Organizational culture.

Tie your IT strategies to the library’s mission.

Make it believable!

Tailor to your audience.
– Have to change the message to communicate with higher-ups sometimes.

Create alliances.
– Engage staff at all levels
– Have IT user groups, emerging tech committees, transition teams – let non-IT staff help collaborate on these ideas

Communicate the plan.
– Meek a usual roadmap of IT, web, technology plans and share that with staff.
-It shows staff and leadership teams that you really do have a plan

Be a collaborative leader.

It’s not about showing your knowledge or your expertise. Instead, keep that communication open and be a team player.

******

Carson Block

Collaborations r us
– Libraries are all bout collaboration, so it’s weird when libraries and their IT departments don’t collaborate.

Why is this?

The server room – completely controlled by IT, neat and tidy, etc. In the other IT closets, they are messier.

Often, the library and the IT is separate. This should not be!

Some questions:
– Do you understand your library’s real mission in the community?
– Is your language inclusive or exclusive?
– Do you have trust?
– In your library, is the IT department considered an IT store (just something that other departments pull from)or a strategic partner?

Q&A time:

iPads at the Airport

Like iPads, and think they could work in a public space? Check this video out! I recently saw a bunch of iPads at the Delta terminal at LaGuardia airport in New York, and took a short video of them. Here’s a link to some photos, too.

Basically, here’s what I saw – hundreds of iPads in the airport terminal gates, secured to tables with a cable. Each iPad had airport info, news, games, a restaurant menu, and web access apps installed. You could order items from the restaurant via a credit card swiper beside the iPad. No signup, no waiting list – just find an empty iPad and start using it. Here’s a couple of news articles written about this experiment.

The only real problem I saw was one of sorta gross smudges on the iPads. Thankfully, I also saw someone walking around, cleaning the screens.

iPads in the airportI think this type of setup could easily work in a library setting! Here are some starter thoughts on potential uses:

  • catalog-only computers
  • computer “overflow” – get out the iPads!
  • Simple browsing stations. Who needs PCs?
  • Complete mobile technology in the library – no PCs needed (with those handy self-service tablet checkout machines that were being shown in the exhibit hall at ALA Annual). Just check out an iPad, then take it wherever you want to in the library.
  • Out-of-the-building events
  • For staff, they could work nicely as roving reference tools.

Question – how does your library use iPads or mobile tablet technology? I’ll start: so far, we have some iPads that staff can check out for a learning opportunity, we have experimented with them for roving reference, and we teach a class on using an iPad. How about you?

Web Design Trends for 2012

I’ve been working on some large writing projects this year, and in the process, came across some great lists of web design trends for 2012 that I thought I’d share. Let me know if you are incorporating any of these into your websites!

Web design trends for 2012

Web Design Trends in 2012

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Fixed-Position Navigation
  • Circles
  • Big Vector Art
  • Multi-Column Menus
  • jQuery/CSS3/HTML5 Animation
  • Ribbons & Banner Graphics
  • Custom Font Faces
  • Infographics
  • Focus on Simplicity

15 Web Design Trends to Watch Out For in 2012

  • Responsive Interface Design
  • Touchscreen Mobile Devices
  • Tons of Freebies!
  • HTML5 & CSS3 Standards
  • Ribbons and Banners
  • Premium WordPress Themes
  • Online Magazines
  • Easy Drop Shadows
  • Dynamic Typography
  • Image Gallery Slideshows
  • Modal Popup Boxes
  • Inspirational Lists
  • Generated Image Thumbnails
  • Oversized Icons
  • Exaggerated Hyperlinks

Web Design Trends for 2012

  • Oversized Logos/Headers
  • Sketch/Hand-drawn Design
  • Slab Typefaces
  • Typography
  • One Page Layouts
  • Huge Images
  • Change of Perspective
  • Interactive/Intuitive Design
  • Modal Boxes
  • Minimalism
  • Oversized Footer
  • Retro
  • Intro Boxes
  • Magazine Layouts

Top Website Design Trends for 2012

  • HTML5, CSS3 and JQUERY
  • Mobile Compatibility and Responsive Layouts
  • Typographic Layouts
  • The Grid
  • Large Background Images
  • Perceived Affordance and Metaphoric Design
  • Social Media Integration
  • Illustration
  • Single Page Websites
  • Parallax
  • Elegant Modal Boxes

15 Top Web Design and Development Trends for 2012

  • Progressive enhancement
  • Responsive design
  • Flash will survive
  • Native support for plug-in features
  • Appification takes hold
  • Web app fragmentation
  • Mobile gets bigger
  • A device explosion
  • Respect beyond aesthetics
  • social battles heat up
  • Growth of the two-screen model
  • Distributed workforces
  • Stronger customer service
  • Better value, not lower prices
  • Pushing the boundaries

The State of Web Design Trends: 2012 Annual Edition

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Grid Systems
  • Typography
  • Technology Pushing Art
  • Scrolling, Vertical Narratives
  • Like it’s 1983
  • Modular Interfaces

So – get busy and start designing like it’s 2012!

image by Mike Licht

Five P’s of Preparation

I’m reading The Secrets of Facilitation: The S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Getting Results with Groups by Michael Wilkinson (all us managers at the library are reading it right now).

I just read about the 5 P’s of Preparation – talking about planning for a meeting (on page 53). But I realized as I was reading the 5 P’s that they also work pretty well for planning and discussing a technology project.

So – here are my modified 5 P’s of Techie Project Planning:

  1. Purpose – what are the key objectives, why are we building/redesigning this?
  2. Product – what’s the goal? What’s the end result? How will we know we were successful?
  3. Participants – who needs to be involved? Who are we building this for?
  4. Probable issues – are there any concerns? Any roadblocks or challenges in our way? How can we prevent those?
  5. Process – What steps do we need to take to meet our goals?

What steps do you use when planning a technology or web project? Do they look similar to this? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Bigstock