Category Archives: Social Media

23 Mobile Things – Thing 1: Blogging and Registering

I’m so excited about this! I participated in the first 23 Things (and beyond) and am looking forward to making my way through the 23 Mobile Things. I’m bummed though that this time I can’t be an official participant since I no longer work in a library.

The knowledge I gained from the previous Things helped me get my current position in the Marketing and Communications division of a college. Still an advocate of life-long learning!

Even though I can’t register my blog and won’t be able to win any cool prizes, I’m still going to make my way through the Things and see what I can learn. By the way, I absolutely love the 23 Things tote bag I got (and still use!) for finishing up the first round.

I started a new blog since then but merged everything to this one so, if you’re curious about what I did in the first 23 Things, and beyond – I got to Thing 56, you can read my blog posts about them in the “Things on a Stick” category.

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SMUG – Tip of the week: Adding links to Facebook

Sharing links on FacebookAfter you paste a link to a status update, Facebook will show you a preview of the it. Once the preview is there, you can delete the link text from the status update and the link will stay attached to the post. This keeps your status updates short and clean without having to show those long, ugly links.

If there is more than one graphic available on the webpage you are linking to, you will have a choice of thumbnails to use with the article. Click on the arrows on the top right of the thumbnail to see the selection. If you don’t like any that are offered or they just don’t fit the article, you have the option of uploading your own image instead.

You also have the option to change the headline and the text preview of the link. This is helpful if you want to highlight a specific part of the article. All you have to do is click on them and the text will become editable.

 

SMUG – First contact

There are over 50 facebook pages that represent the university I work at. When I started there wasn’t anyone paying attention to this kind of stuff. As Interactive Marketing Director, I took it upon myself to first try and find all the social media sites that represented the university, second, to try and find the managers of them and third, to create a method of communication with them. After months of research where I found virtual tons of social media sites, I decided to start a SMUG (Social Media User Group).

This is the first email I sent to all the managers that I could find:

You are all receiving this email because you are all managers on Facebook pages that represent the university in some way, shape or form.

I had quite a time finding you all and I’m sure I missed some. I attached a Google Spreadsheet of the pages, profiles and groups that I found. Please take some time to look it over and let me know if you can fill in any blanks, or add some pages that I missed.

The reason for all this is because I am starting an informal  Social Media Users Group (SMUG) and you are all invited.

The main goals I’m hoping to achieve with this group are:

  • An awareness of all the facebook pages (and other social media) that represent our university
  • Open up university-wide communication channels so we can help each other spread our messages to more audiences
  • Share and discuss tips and tricks to help us all keep our social media sites successful

If you know of someone who should be added to this list or if you would like to be removed from this list, please let me know.

PS. Other social media such as Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, photo sharing, etc. will be mentioned soon.

The Google Spreadsheet was very simple only having three columns: Page/Profile/Group Titles, Managers, and URLs. Afterwards I added pages to the spreadsheet that included the other types of social media: blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Photos, and Linked-In.

The responses I received from this email were positive and constructive.

  • I added a few more pages and managers to the list.
  • I helped some people delete their Facebook page that they forgot about a few years ago.
  • Some people, pleased with the support, requested I help them start new Pages.
  • I was notified that the word “Administrator” was spelled incorrectly on my spreadsheet.

All in all, I think the first contact was successful.

Social media plan for a big shindig

Gala ReceptionOn June 22, SMU celebrated the last big bash of their Centennial year.

I started working here in January, pretty much in the middle of all the planning and events that were happening all over the place. All of my co-workers were completely stressed and the phrase “after the Centennial” was frequently spoken. I realized early on that I would never find out what “normal” is here until “after the Centennial.”

My part of the Centennial was social media coverage. I started pushing out facebook posts for the All-School Reunion and Red Carpet Centennial Gala months before the weekend arrived. The posts consisted of historical photos of campus and faculty members (these were much loved – or liked, to use the Facebook term), links to the newsblog articles regarding the events and a bunch of other status updates that described different aspects of the events. I had a google spreadsheet that I used for planning the content that would go out to the various facebook pages, and twitter.

The facebook pages consisted of three accounts that I have admin rights to. The majority of the posts went out on what I like to call the main facebook page, smumn, which has the most followers. Some of the posts were shared on the SMU.SGPP and the smumnalumni pages. A student worker was in charge of  a weekly trivia game on the alumni page which seemed to be popular. Every tweet was tagged with #smumn100. Once Facebook enabled their hashtags, I tagged every post on Facebook as well.

About a week before the big weekend, I started directing our followers to the smumnalumni page. The goal was to turn the conversation over to that page since the weekend was really targeted towards our alumni audience. I reminded the other two pages’ audience that the weekend updates would all take place on the alumni page. From the time I started directing traffic to that page and throughout the weekend, the alumni page gained 44 followers which is more than it gained in the last three months added together.

During the entire weekend, I ran myself ragged going to as many events as I could to take a few photos and post them on the alumni facebook page and on twitter. I used my iPhone to do this with the Hootsuite and Pages applications. It would have been ideal to have a team and assign a few people to each event so it could have been covered better, but that didn’t happen. I planned on using Instagram for photos, but that didn’t happen either.

After it was all over I started experimenting with Storify, RebelMouse, Scoop.it, and Tagboard for getting the hashtag story out to our followers.

Storify seems to be the most popular – it was always at the top of the list when I did a google search for aggregators, hashtag compilers, etc. I didn’t love it. It had a hard time pulling facebook posts in which is where most of the conversation took place pre-event and I wanted to get the whole story out there.

RebelMouse was the easiest – it pulled in everything. That was a problem; it pulled in everything. When I attached it to the alumni facebook page, it didn’t stop at the #smumn100 hashtag, it pulled in a lot more than that, which I had to manually delete. And, as far as I could tell, you could only attach one facebook page to it so all the posts I made pre-event were again neglected.

Scoop.it would have been the best, had I used it from the beginning. It is really easy to manage what you want scooped and it looks great in the feed. I haven’t promoted the scoop.it feed to anyone but it had views. Strange. Anyway, the downside of this is going back in time – utterly impossible. I don’t see a way to date the posts on their original posting date – it appears in your feed on the day you “scooped it” which makes things out of order. I used Scoop.it in the past and was an avid user but I just didn’t think of it in time for this event. I will, for sure, use this for the next one though, from day one.

Tagboard has a great look to the feed, but again, I didn’t love it. The free version was a little limiting, you can’t edit what gets out there and we’re not interested in purchasing anything at this time.

My experience with this event has brought me to the following conclusions:

  • Get a team to cover everything better, not just one person trying to cover everything half-assed.
  • Start compiling the story from day one using scoop.it. Don’t wait until afterwards to try and find everything.
  • The content calendar worked great – keep using that.
  • The hashtag worked great too – in fact that was the key
  • Promote the hashtag as soon as you create it and frequently there-after – don’t wait until a few days before the event.
  • Carry an extra charger for the iPhone during the event and up your data plan for the month – unless of course you can use a company phone. I had to use my personal one – which is another reason I didn’t get Instagram set up in time for it.

>How I make and use QR codes

>In my last post, I described what QR codes are and how we’re using them for the library, but I didn’t explain the process of how I made them in the first place.

After I saw my first QR code and realized what it was, my brain started working overtime, planning how I was going to use them to promote the library. They are so versatile in the information that they can contain, the only limitation really is your imagination. At first I was hesitant to start using them thinking that they can only be used for people with smartphones and we have a lot of patrons who don’t yet have them. But then I thought, a lot of our patrons do have smartphones and why not take advantage of the technology and reach out to that audience. We’re not leaving anyone behind since we’re still printing out posters and newsletters, we’re just creating more options for people who do have the technology.  It’s the same principal behind our entire digital branch; not everyone has a facebook or twitter account, but they are there for people who do.

Convinced that QR codes were worth looking into and to start using, I did quite a bit of research on them first. I followed various Linked-in conversations about them, read blog posts, etc. until I was confident I knew exactly what they were and had a few ideas on what to do with them once I started making them. Of course part of my research was to download a number of code readers to my Droid to experiment with the QR codes that are already out there.  There are lots of highly rated scanners out there but the one I found that works best for me is i-nigma. This scanner seems to have the quickest response and it tells you what the link is before you actually go there. Some scanners will automatically send you without letting you know where you’re going. i-nigma also works on my iPad2 so I’m sure it would work on other iDevices that have cameras.

When it came time to start creating QR codes, again, I did some research to find out what kinds of generators are out there and to find out what the best practices are. I came up with the following:

  • The QR code generator I use is: Kaywa for no other reason than it works, and it was one of the highly recommended ones. Again, there are tons to choose from so use whichever works best for you.

  • I also learned that when you use a url shortener, such as bit.ly, that your codes are less dense and are easier for your smart phone to pick up. Bit.ly also allows you to track the usage of your links, which is great for when you have to make that ROI presentation to your supervisor.

  • I save all the QR codes I create just in case I have a need for the same link again. For instance, the code that’s on the Clues and Brews poster just takes you to the landing page where the events are listed so when the event changes, the link will not making the code reusable.

There is a lot of potential in the use of QR codes, we’ve just started with the basics but I hope to use them for more things in the near future. 

>What are QR codes?

>You may have noticed that we have started putting these strange square black and white thingies on some of our posters and other printed materials. They are called QR codes, or sometimes 2D codes. These codes are filled with digital information and are scannable with a smart phone. Once scanned, the smart phone will show you what’s in that digital information; it could be a web site, a phone number, a photo, a video, etc.
In order for your smart phone to scan these codes, you’ll need to download a code scanner app. There are many to choose from for all brands of smart phones and even iPads and iPods (with cameras) and most are free. After you get your app downloaded, all you need to do is activate the app and then point your device’s camera at the code and your phone will do the rest.
These codes give us the opportunity to link more information to a poster than previously allowed. For instance, I created posters for our upcoming fundraisers (Clues and Brews and the Ice Cream Social) and included a QR code that would take them to a webpage that described the event in a little more detail and also had a link for online registration.
Another example: our May newsletter featured a story that had a lot of photos. In the interest of space, we couldn’t put all the photos into the printed newsletter so I added them all to a blog post. Then I created a QR code that would show that blog post to people who scanned in the code.
Yet another example: I put this QR code on the back of my business card. RPL digital branch
For those of you who do not have a smart phone to scan it, this code goes to the Sqworrel page that contains all the links to our library’s digital branch.

>iPads are just really cool!

>I went to this iPad seminar this afternoon and am totally flabbergasted by how powerful it really is. Yeah, I knew you could use it to read books, play Angry Birds, take notes, watch netflix, keep your calendars, listen to music, watch YouTube, etc… I learned a lot in this seminar but am trying to figure out what would be best to take back to my work peeps. I’m supposed to present what I learned.

It was mostly about using iPads in education. How colleges and schools are using it in their classrooms now and how they believe this is going to change the way kids learn. Instead of forbidding the devices in the classroom, give them one and allow them to use it. A totally new concept. The speaker, Keith Mountin, had a graph that showed 52% of the kids who had iPads in class were actually using them to take notes. That was higher than the percent of kids who were playing games. (We were supposed to laugh here.)

The main point I think the library would be interested in was the accessibility features. Keith showed us how a college kid who was deaf used his iPad to communicate with people. There are apps that can translate spoken words into text and even an app for sign language. There are swipe features you can use to zoom in on the screen for people who are visual impaired. It really reminded me of our Adaptive Workstation except instead of it being so desktoppy huge, it was all in the iPad. I wonder how much difference in cost they are?

I can definitely see some great potential of using the iPad in the library setting. They can be used for research (there was an app that featured interactive textbooks, historical timelines, maps, art, etc), periodicals (there are apps that aggregate news feeds from various news sites), the adaptive workstation as I mentioned above, they could even be used for our computer classes (there were presentation apps that you could be roving around the room and use the iPad to show your presentation instead of being locked behind the laptop). I know we mentioned the prospect of having roving librarians. Armed with an iPad, this would be totally possible. They wouldn’t have to go to the nearest computer to look something up, or they wouldn’t have to carry around a heavy laptop.

Marketing could also be done by using the iPad using social media. It’s now easier than ever to take a quick photo (with the iPad2) and post it on facebook right away. No more running back to the computer every time to post something. It’s easier to type on the iPad than it is a smart phone, just because of the size of it. The portability, ease of use, and functionality really make the iPad a huge asset in anyone’s hands.