Monday, February 18, 2013

My four social media pillars

Hey there,

So I thought I'd share what have become the four pillars supporting my social media philosophy. And by no means are these necessarily original. As any other good college graduate, this is a synthesis of ideas that have made sense and been useful to me. All combined and distilled, these are the four things which form the support of my social media philosophy, regarding its professional use and how I apply me time and energy, when assisting and managing social media with the organizations I'm involved with.

Coordination - "the harmonious functioning of parts for effective results"

So while this might not be as much of an issue with small organizations (with a staff of one or so) or large ones, I think that this might actually be one of the biggest challenges for mid-size organizations. Coordination with social media is referring to coordination on all levels, with content, with programming, with existing messaging, etc.

It speaks to social media not happening in a vacuum, like some red-headed step child of a company. It means that at least those in leadership knows what is happening with social media, and that whoever is managing social media, is working in conjunction with other departments. One great way to start, which I will actually be doing as part of my work on a newly formed Communications & Media committee with SpeakeasyDC, is share an editorial calendar with the Social Media person, or start one that is at least shared by all department heads.

Finally, I like the last part of the definition, about "effective results". It's one thing to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. It's another to not just analyze what sticks to do more of it, but to tie in stuff that works with the goals of other departments, more donations with development, ticket sales production, brand recognition with marketing, etc, and what measurements will inform them about successful efforts.

Integration - "the act of combining or adding parts to make a unified whole"

Yes, some of you might be saying that integration and coordination are sometimes used synonymously, but for the purpose of these pillars, I'm focusing on the definitions that are different enough to address separate aspects.

Where coordination might speak to the actual management of social media and how it connects with the rest of the organization, integration speaks to it holistically, in terms of something that needs to be a part of every aspect of a company. Not only that, it needs to be consistent with branding guidelines, so that regardless of what channel you reach your audience, to them it aesthetically feels like it's coming from the same place, in look, in tone, etc. Actually about to go through a rebranding process with an organization I'm involved with, and you can be sure I will be reminding them about the implications and usability for our social media presence.

It's also not a matter of if social media is useful for any particular aspect of an organization's work on any level, from day-to-day office busywork to the occasional board meeting, but can social media be integrated into a process to open a window to the world, whether it be telling a behind the scenes story, providing a space for conversation where there wasn't any before, or simply for the purpose of transparency in what makes art happen.

Translation - "a change to a different substance, form, or appearance"

When consulting on social media, one of my main takeaways I hope to leave people with is that, as much as possible, this should not be significantly more work than what you're doing already, like if you have a communications or marketing plan in place. My caveat is that using social media well is so much more than about marketing or communications, but more on that next time.

One example, we recently had an e-blast go out at my work at Class Acts Arts, for Black History Month, highlighting all of the artists on our roster with relevant programming. I "translated" that e-blast, into a series of shares one day, highlighting each of the artists we mentioned in the email, over the course of the afternoon.

Another example would be a show I just saw with another organization I'm involved with, and there were chapter/scene titles throughout the concert to help provide a loose narrative. Those prompts could have easily been used as conversation starters on social media leading up to the performance.

So it's taking copy/text and images you might already have and be using through other, more traditional media platforms, and figuring out how you might share it on Facebook, tweet it, etc.

Re-appropriation - "to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use, again"

So this is somewhat related to translation, but this speaks more to new opportunities, rather than existing ones. An example that comes to mind is another one with SpeakeasyDC and the wealth of videos from performances which we have up on our Vimeo channel.

A project I've taken upon is going through them and cataloging them according to various meta data, date(s) the stories took place, location, organizations mentioned, cultural references, etc., so that we might re-share them at appropriate moments. We had an LGBT pride-show, which speaks to those videos being reshared each pride month. If we have stories that relate to holidays, we can post them again leading up to those holidays.

So re-appropriating speaks to seeing how content you've created and have on hand, whether marketing, archival, whatever, can still be used in the future.

That's it!!

Let me know what you think in the comments,

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