It’s so social.

Over the course of this semester I have learned all that social media has to offer, from learning how to network professionally to how to set up a successful social media campaign.  I feel I have done it all, and yet I haven’t even scratched the surface.  Social media is one of those vast subjects that we will never stop exploring.  New tactics, innovations and sites are being created every day.   So what have I really learned and what can I apply to my every day and professional life?

1. It is important to have a personal brand.  Know what makes you, you.  I came up with a sentence that I feel describes me:  “She keeps a smile on her face to motivate people to make the most of their day as she makes the most of hers.”  Now I don’t mean to say that everyone should have a light hearted sentence about themselves; rather you must know how to present yourself the way you want others to see you, this includes social media.

2. I now have so much more respect for social media professionals.  Social media never sleeps.  For an organization to have a successful social media following, one where their followers are involved, they must respond to any and all comments in a timely manner.

I bet this guy is a social media professional.

3. When promoting an idea or campaign keep it simple.  What makes social media so popular is that it gives users information they want on the go.

4. Before this class I had never used Twitter, needless to say this semester I have Tweeted more than I ever have. (Sorry to all my followers who had to put up with my boring social media related Tweets).  I love that I can get healthy eating tips, news, celebrity gossip and find out what’s new in the public relations field all within just a few seconds.

Overall the most valuable lesson I learned this semester is that SOCIAL MEDIA IS SOCIAL!  We must remember that social media needs to be interactive, it needs to be engaging and if you want your message to be noticed you must be creative in the way you present your idea to your target audience.

News is all around us

News is all around us, so shouldn’t our access to it also be? At least that is how it is turning out to be with the many advanced technological devices we have today.

More and more people are getting news where they want it, how they want it, when they want it.  America is a nation that is on the go and rarely do we have time to sit down with a cup of coffee to read the actual print newspaper.

Whether you like it or not, it is not going to change.  Technology is only improving and people are finding new and innovative ways of getting their news.

So what does all this mean for those who work in the news industry?  What will happen to the print newspaper say 50 to 100 years from now?  I see a wave of purely online newspapers coming.  Most all major newspapers have a website that has the same content and many time more than what is in the print addition, heck now there are newspapers that are purely online newspapers.

Being a student I am always on the go.  Unfortunately, I do not keep up with the news as much as I would like, but when I have the time I love to sit down with a print newspaper in the morning (this happens only twice a month or so, not very often).  Otherwise I look to Twitter as my one-stop-shop for news.  I think Twitter is an awesome place to get news because almost all major newspapers have a Twitter account and post articles throughout the day versus a print newspaper that may come out only once or twice a day.

Our on the go lifestyles and ever improving technology changes how and what people have access to, it is a new form of communication, a new way to grab the reader’s attention.  New technological devices like tablets and smartphones make getting the news interactive, something that is appealing to people of all ages.

As professionals we need to prepare, accept and adapt to the new ways that people access information.  We need to come up with creative ways to integrate technology into everything we do from advertising to public relations and everything in between.  Technology is here to stay and it will only continue to improve.

Humane Social Media

Social media is so versatile, constantly being used as a way to communicate with others, even if it is to find a homeless animal a home.

Today I visited the Nebraska Humane Society, no I did not adopt an animal, but I did learn some great social media tips.  Elizabeth, the Nebraska Human Society social media guru, told us how she uses social media.  I quickly realized this is not a job for the weak because social media never sleeps.  Elizabeth quickly realized this herself after taking on the managment of the organization’s two Twitter pages, their Facebook page, website and fundraising efforts.  She is fully dedicated and has implemented personal goals to make sure her social media efforts stay social.  In doing this she makes sure to showcase at least one dog and one cat a day and does her best to answer all comments/questions within the hour.

Social media tips I took from today:

-Not all types of social media work for every type of organization. Some may argue that Facebook is slowly dying out and Twitter is becoming the new face of social media.  This is not the case for the Nebraska Humane Society who has almost 20,000 likes and continues to see their efforts grow.

-The new Facebook timeline is not conducive for community interaction. Comments are housed next to the photo or post rather than below it.  This makes it harder to follow the conversation.

– Social media is trial and error.  Building a successful site takes time, but the reward can be great.

-It is not about how many people like your page or how many people follow you, it is about what they do with those likes.  How people interact with your sight, spread your message and donate to your cause is what is most imporant.

-You HAVE to be creative.  Always remember that social media is social.  Elizabeth has come up with creative ways to not only get animals adopted, but also to raise a considerable amount of money for the organization.  One clever tactic that she came up with was involving a cat that had been at the shelter for almost 100 days.  She posted a picture of him on the Facebook page and said she wanted to get 100 people to donate $10 before the cat reached 100 days at the shelter.  I am happy to report the cat was adopted that week.

-You have to know your audience.  Though the timeline is harder to follow, it is beneficial in that it tells you the stats of your site.  The largest demographic using the Nebraska Humane Society Facebook page are those in their mid-20s to mid-30s.  This demographic is the least likely to donate money, that was until Elizabeth came up with the Tales and Ales fundraiser.  The event was held this summer at Barrett’s.  The event allowed people to pay $30 for unlimited beer and entertainment.  Elizabeth advertised the event only on their Facebook, Twitter and website.  The event ended up bringing in about $2,000, once again showing the power of social media.

Fun (not related to social media) facts I learned today:

-Internet users are more cat people than dog people.

-Omaha residents are more dog people.

-The most popular breed of dog in Omaha is a Lab.

-The breed that is recorded to bite the most is a Lab.  Chihuahuas hold the number three spot.

The Cheap Way Out

It has been a common occurrence lately for people to be receiving honorary degrees, many of which are celebrities. A few months ago Sex in the City actress Kim Cattrall recently received an honorary degree from John Moores University in Liverpool, Canada.

An honorary degree is defined as an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements such as studying and passing exams.  The degree is usually that of a doctorate or master’s degree.  In many cases the individual has no prior connection with the academic institution. Rather, the degree is awarded as a way of honoring an individual to a specific field.

Many times all they have to do is make a speech of acceptance to the other graduates and faculty of the university at the commencement ceremony.

When I heard that Cattrall was receiving such an award you could say I was confused.  It is to my knowledge that most of her career has been devoted to portraying a character who promotes independence of single women by being promiscuous.  Therefore, I have a hard time believing why celebrities, such as Cattrall should receive such prestigious honors.  Yes, celebrities such as Cattrall donate and support great causes with their great fortunes, but shouldn’t everyone who has copious amounts of money do so?  Why should just these “public figures” be so distinguished?

What about those who quietly devote their lives to research or use their knowledge and experience to improve the lives of those who need their help?  Why don’t universities just stop awarding honorary degrees altogether?

Shouldn’t university faculty be setting an example to their students to work hard and be held to a high level of standards, after all careers after receiving such prestigious degrees are usually filled with great success due to diligence and making a difference.

Isn’t awarding honorary degrees degrading the title of doctor?  In my opinion the only people that should receive such a title are those that complete the work by going to class, studying, passing exams and writing and presenting an impressive dissertation.  Only those people should be able to receive a diploma on graduation day and hear the words “congratulations doctor.”

Simple Campaign=Success

What is the power of social media?  I can tell you it was a lot more powerful than what I thought, especially after hearing the story of Kony 2012, a 30-minute documentary about Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.  The video went viral with more than 100 million views in six days making it the most viral video in history.

The power of what Invisible Children did with social media can’t be denied.  So what made this campaign so powerful and effective?  Simple, it was simple. The campaign was simple.

The call to action was simple- raise awareness so that Kony will be arrested in 2012.  The reaction the campaign was looking for was simple- get everyone, everywhere talking about Joseph Kony. Success was simple.

There is no such thing as too simple, simple gets people involved, simple gets people to understand, simple gets things done.

The campaign’s key to success was that they had a dedicated and organizing group of supporters who were able to dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to support their campaign.  The campaign had both online and offline components, which allowed for them to see real impact of their efforts rather than just numbers on a computer screen.

Their campaign was also successful because it took more than one approach.  One of the unique approaches included creating a video.  In my opinion this was one of the smartest decisions they could have made because it creates an element of showing people rather than telling them.

They were also unique in their efforts to participate in “attention philanthropy.”   This involves targeting a number of influential celebrities to support their cause in the hopes that they too will influence the public to support Kony2012.

Spread the word; arrest Kony in 2012 so that children in Africa can once again feel safe in their own homes.

Just a dream away

Everyone has a dream job, for me it is event planning.  You know the huge elaborate events that just ooze class and sophistication or the weddings that cost thousands of dollars? I want to plan them all.

Now don’t think that I don’t know the time, detail and stress that goes into planning every event.  The job is not always so glamorous.  I have planned events before and at one point or another during each event I have found myself asking why I ever volunteered to do this in the first place, will I be able to pull it off in time, etc.  But somehow, someway, the events always seem to come out better than I imagined and the best feeling in the world is when a guest tells you what a wonderful job you have done.

In my determination to do this as a career I figured I needed some sort of formal training or experience first.  I Googled event planning and stumbled upon QC Event School, a school just for event planning.  Is this for real?  The classes look fun, interactive and interesting.  I wanted to sign up right away.

The course offers a variety of things that are extremely helpful, yet I would have never thought about before.  The online wedding planning courses educates you in things such as how to deal with different types of religious weddings, how to deal with difficult family members/brides, etc.  They also offer courses that help you start up and grow your event planning business.

It is also a good idea to follow people on Twitter, blogs and other social media websites to keep up on the latest event planning trends.

Tips: Search the hashtag  #weddingwednesday. It is very popular among wedding and event planners so look it up and follow people who tweet the hashtag, I did!  I also found a great blog by Allison Sargent, she is also on Pinterest.  She puts on all types of great events, but her specialty is weddings.

4 good you say?

Today I attended an amazing social media seminar called Social Media 4 Good.  The seminar had representatives from the Nebraska Humane Society, Silicon Prairie and Creighton University’s Arts and Sciences department.  Each represented brought insight about what they have learned by effectively using social media every day, where they think social media is going and how to keep up with it.

Here are some tips and trick I learned from today:

-There are sites like TweetDeck and Hoot Suite , which help you quickly and easily track all your social media accounts.

-Get your audience hyped up for your event using social media.  For example when you go to check out the venue post pictures of the venue, post videos of past performances by the entertainer you are going to have at the event, etc.

-If possible contact your attendees via Facebook, Twitter, etc. to let them know that you are excited about them coming to the event.

-Tweet the highlights of the event as they are happening.  This allows for attendees to go back and look at the main points of the event.  It also allows for those that were not able to attend the event to still get a little insight as to what is going on.

-Pick a unique and short hashtag (#) for the event so attendees can tweet about the event.  Remember tweets can only be 140 characters long!

-Social media is not a 9-5 job.  New trends and events are developing right before our eyes.  You want to be the first to get the news out to your audience!

-The best time of the day to send out social media information is between the hours of 11a.m. and 2p.m.

I completely underestimated the impact and reach of social media.  It is one of the most effective promotional and communication tools today.  We must remember that social media is SOCIAL!  There are no rigid rules, make it your own, connect with YOUR audience.  You never know, you may just succeed 😉