Is clean energy social? We think so.

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By Monica Andrews Have a Social Media Strategy

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In the kick-off session to the Spring 2015 semester, Lauren Glickman summarized trends and tenants of social media strategies, beginning by noting some of the unique features of the web.

These days, almost anyone can write anything on the internet and nearly everyone can look up information online, so the barriers to entry are quite low. Still, we all want our messages to go “viral.” Glickman contended that we should ban the word “viral”, since having your content go viral is almost entirely involuntary (much like an actual virus). Social media is like peanut butter – it’s something that you have to spread through timing, framing, content, careful testing and luck. Even through the most careful planning, your ability to go viral is still two-thirds sheer luck.

People share content to feel part of a group and to share common experiences and values (blue/white dress example). Glickman has found that there are specific types of themes of content that seem to get more shares than others: humor, parody, nostalgia (pictures of yourself as a child), controversy (Sochi and Lays Potato chips campaigns), and compelling stories. After summarizing some strategies for amplifying your social media impact, Glickman asked, “Can you just get lucky?” She discussed the example of the Potato Salad Kickstarter campaign, emphasizing the fact that while this seemed like a random luck, the owner of the campaign was actually an environmental activist with an earned media strategy.

How can we better use social media strategies to get our messages out? One principle of sharing is that you need to have content that people can talk about, can add content to, and can comment on. Content should allow people to have a conversation about it, allow people to pick a side, and give people the power to decide how they will share information. Glickman then offered a practical guide for social media, partnered with some entertaining examples of how social media can be shared.

Social Media 101

Social media is important because it helps individuals and organizations to meet their missions through a strategy with concrete goals. Social media can be incorporated into an organization’s SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. Having a social media account is like adopting a cute puppy. You don’t want to adopt a cute puppy and leave it stranded – it’s something that you’ll need to take care of and maintain throughout its life. Likewise, don’t create a blog or Twitter account and not maintain or update it.

Glickman covered social media strategies for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. While other social media channels, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine, are gaining traction, the clean energy community is primarily engaging people through these three main channels. Lauren’s primary takeaway was that you don’t need to be on every social media platform; you just need to pick a few and know how to use them to maximum effect. Here are a few tips for each channel that Glickman covered:

Twitter Where else can Drake and T. Boone Pickens interact with each other? Twitter has the ability to connect people from different universes. • Don’t be an egg, you have to hatch (or get a profile picture) • Pick a Twitter handle that is simple and easy to remember (but know that many handles have already been taken) • Follow people and listen to what they are saying • Use Twitter lists to follow people within your area of interest In terms of getting followers on Twitter, you can stumble into greatness (the guy that liveblogged the Osama raid), be born into greatness (Warren Buffett’s handle), or work to be great. Most of us will have to work to be great by: • Finding influencers who matter you and engage with them by “favoriting” their Tweets • Engaging with people on issues that are important to you • Being ready with Tweets in advance of events that you know are going to take place (e.g. getting an advance copy of the State of the Union Address and preparing Tweets)

Facebook Here are a few tips on using Facebook strategically: • Share pictures. People love pictures • Use active language if you want action • Comment on articles • Follow the rule that 80% of content that you share should be something someone else created • Use analytics tools such as Page Analyzer, CrowdTangle, and Interest Lists in Facebook • Brand your own content (a watermark seems to work well) • A-B Test your own Facebook posts by creating Interest Lists that are catered to different audiences, test them for a few hours, and then actually post the one that gets better metrics

LinkedIn • Make sure that your resume is current and include projects and awards that you have earned • Collect business cards and make sure to follow up in LinkedIn (you can use apps like Evernote that automatically integrates with LinkedIn • Brand your company page and publish blog entries on LinkedIn

It’s Social First One final piece of advice from Glickman: Don’t disappoint your mom. In other words, make sure that your content is something that your mom would want to reshare. For more information, visit Lauren Glickman’s website at www.windyglick.com and contact her at lglickman@distributedwind.org.

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