This month I had the privilege of having a guest article on social media appear in Quorum Magazine, a publication of the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute.
To read the article in its entirety, click here:
While it was written for professional community managers, lessons for all abound. Here are a few excerpts:
Visual social media is big and getting bigger all the time.
Commit to listening and engaging with your community.
Storytelling has gone to the amateur. You become the reporter, the editor, the storyteller, the photojournalist. People and organizations who capture what’s happening are rewarded with greater attention.
Think about campaigns and themes. Think about what you would find interesting. Be curious. Be spontaneous. Find a new angle on an old story.
Develop ways you can be a resource for your community. Pinterest is a great platform for this. You could put together boards on area restaurants or nearby activities.
Ask questions. Perfect for Twitter or Facebook, asking genuine questions and soliciting input is a great way to engage the community.
Think creatively and stay engaged on social media, and you’ll see both your online and offline presence strengthened in the community.
I knew that things were becoming more visual in social media. I even tell that to people frequently. YouTube has been cited as the second largest search engine. Pinterest has grown immensely in popularity in the past two years.
But, as I sit here on a Friday afternoon- the last Friday afternoon of June, and the last Friday afternoon in the first half of 2013- I realize how much my own use has changed in this regard just in the past three weeks.
I now have a Vine account where users can create 6-second looping videos. I’ve used the app to capture moments ranging from my younger son’s field day to a monster truck ride to the disappearance of my morning juice which reveals a photo of my sons in the background. While these are merely experimental, it’s amazing to see what really creative minds have done to take advantage of the six seconds and the looping effect. The appeal comes in that it’s a small investment of time (in fact, it’s so small that one may find themselves watching a video over and over), and it provides a richer experience than a static image. I have to give a shout out to Chris Brooks of Hilton Worldwide whose simple video of cycling around New York City caught my attention and prompted me to sign up for Vine.
Then three days ago I read Ernie Smith’s piece on Why Instagram Can’t Be Ignored. Instagram now has 130 million active users and has launched its video functionality as well. Again, I felt the nudge and activated an account. I found myself looking through photos on my iPhone from the past several months for just the right ones to Instagramize. I’m certainly not one with a trained eye in this regard (my wife is the artist), but I couldn’t help looking through framing and filtering options, trying to decide if Amaro or Hefe or Kelvin was just the right look for a given image. I’ve found the platform to be a great way to connect with friends and those from professional circles alike.
So, as we move to a more visual web, it’s also reminder not to be stagnant. The social media landscape is quickly changing and evolving. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may be the primary three platforms for many individuals and organizations, but opportunities may be lost for those who think those are the end game. Take time to dabble and experiment. You might be pleasantly surprised with how a new platform can connect you with your audience.
What trends are you seeing with the evolving visual web and social media? What new platforms or apps have you started experimenting with? What are the lessons for organizations as they seek to connect with and inform their employees, customers, and members?
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