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Personal Branding on Social Media

Personal Branding on Social Media: leadership and building community in this technology age from Allerton Hill Consulting

March 8, 2016

We’ve talked about WHY leaders need to develop a personal brand and overall STRATEGIES. This 3rd and final article of our personal branding series will focus on the specifics on how to easily build your personal brand on social media.

We’ve said it time and time again, both on the blog and to our clients on a daily basis — as a leader in today’s technology-connected society, social media is a must. While daunting at first — which networks should I join? how much time will it take? how much personal information should I share? — social media is the most efficient, economical and egalitarian way to share information and to consistently reinforce your brand as a leader.

At Allerton Hill, we always advise clients to use Twitter. It is mobile-friendly, easy and displays results in real time which means you are reaching your community now.  Beyond Twitter, join the networks that your community is using. Are all of your students & parents on Instagram? You should be, too! Ask around and sign up but be realistic about how much time you can commit to updating multiple networks. It’s better to do one and do it well rather than spread yourself to thin and never post updates.

On any network you join, create a strong public profile so that users can find you easily. Use a clear photo of yourself — but not necessarily your official photo. Write a brief profile that includes your title as well as a few tidbits about yourself that help to make you accessible and makes it clear that this is your personal account.

Once you have a profile, what should you be sharing as the superintendent or other public leader of a school?

Share school news including upcoming events, post photos of yourself at past events and make note of achievements by your students and staff. Repost notices from your school’s official accounts.

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Ask for feedback. Do you have a new policy in place? Are you considering one? Ask for input from your followers AND respond to any replies or direct messages you receive.201603-personalbrandonsm-tweet02

 

Be yourself. The best way to encourage honesty and engagement is to share your personality. Mix in tweets about your favorite hobbies, local pastimes and your opinions on “pressing matters” of the day such as sports teams, the Oscars and the weather.201603-personalbrandonsm-tweet03

 

Use photos whenever possible/appropriate. Photos stand out and encourage more engagement.

Use your school’s official hashtag to ensure your posts show up in searches.

It should go without saying, that your opinion on controversial subjects including politics and religion should not be included in your Twitter feed. But just in case, we’ll say it again: your opinion on controversial subjects including politics and religion should not be included in your Twitter (or Snapchat or Instagram or Facebook…) feed.

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AHC on Social Media, Part 5: 8 Tips for Facebook Engagement

September 11, 2015

With the recent announcement that Facebook had 1 billion users online in one day, there is no question that maintaining a consistent Facebook presence should be an important part of your social media – and your overall communications – strategy. Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms and display practices, especially for public pages (as opposed to personal profiles), can sometimes make it a frustrating exercise and you should not rely on it as your only means of diffusion for important and time-sensitive news. But it still remains one of the best ways to connect with your community – and connect your community amongst itself. Its ease of use, ability to post a variety of kinds of posts and intercommunication capabilities are all reasons that even as the social media landscape continues to grow and change, Facebook should always be in your toolbox.

 

Facebook rewards pages for engagement – the more interaction your page receives, the more visibility it will have. To that end, here are my 8 top tips for writing posts that will inspire comments, likes and shares.

 

1. Write in a natural voice.

Don’t write in “press release” jargon but rather use a familiar tone. Follow Facebook’s practice of calling connections “friends” is no accident or haphazard business decision. It will benefit you to write conversationally, especially if you want your followers to converse back!

You can also take lead from the White House’s practice of using “-bo” to sign any posts or comments written by President Obama. For any posts written by your superintendent or principal, add a signature to add the personal touch and voice.

 

2. Clearly state your call-to-action.

If you want your followers to click a link, tell them! If you want them to show up at an event, make sure all of the details are listed clearly.

 

3. Be visual.

Images have a 68% higher engagement rate. Avoid using blurry, too-small or boring/clichéd stock images. Real images of your school in action or custom graphics will always yield a higher response.

Horizontal images work best on Facebook’s timeline. For more about timeline post dimensions as well as profile & cover photo dimensions, I suggest you read this article from the Omnicore Digital Marketing Agency.

 

4. Brevity is your friend.

While Facebook does allow for longer posts, try to keep posts – and most definitely keep any calls to action – above the “see more” link.

 

5. Create an emotional connection.

Use Facebook to tell success stories, put a human face on any calls-to-action and build a meaningful conversation between your community and your school’s administration.

 

6. Ask questions.

Want a response? Ask for it!

 

7. Respond to any direct message as quickly as possible.

Even if it is just to say thanks for a supportive message or to say that you don’t know the answer to their question and will follow up with a more complete answer. Comments on your page should at least get a “like” if not a reply. Show your followers you want dialog and they will respond!

 

8. Use full links and take advantage of the visual link preview.

While Twitter’s best practices include using shortened links due to its character limitations, Facebook user analysis shows that full links get 3x as many clicks as shortened links do.

 Allerton Hill Consulting Strategies for Best Practices on Facebook

 

Allerton Hill Consulting can help you craft a social media strategy that works with your school district’s core themes, that will share important news and connect you with your community on a daily basis. From finding your key messages to creating a weekly editorial calendar, Allerton Hill Consulting’s social media experts are here to help! For more information, please contact us for a consultation.

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Posted in Community Outreach, Social Media
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AHC on Social Media, Part 2: What Goes Where?

August 21, 2015

There are over 80 social networks with over 1 million users and at least 10 social networks with over 50 million users!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to recommend that you use them all! A large majority of these site have specific audiences in mind such as travel, parenting, photography or connecting with friends during a health crisis.

For schools, we highly recommend focusing your efforts on the general social media networks that many people in your community are already using, ensuring that you will reach your target audience without asking them to sign up for another social service. These sites include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. YouTube is also a powerful platfrom for connecting with you users – especially with its sharing capabilities across other social media networks. We also highly recommend that you use LinkedIn for professional networking with other education and communications professionals.

Monthly Social Media Usage Statistics from Allerton Hill Consultants

 

Facebook

Hubspot, a leading media website, reports that 93% of all adult users online are on Facebook. You should be using Facebook daily if only because it is going to get your message in front of the most people. Beyond the benefits of saturation, however, keep in mind that Facebook offers great flexibility in what and how you share information, providing you with more opportunities to engage with your community.

Facebook should not only be a means of dispersing information but also a way to add an emotional connection to your calls-to-action using photos & video and by communicating directly with your community in the comments section.

A few notes on Facebook usage statistics:

  • Posts with photos have a 83% great chance of being shared or commented on.
  • Posts with 250 characters or less have a 91% higher engagement rate.
  • 65% of all Facebook engagement occurs between Wednesday and Friday so plan your important posts accordingly.

Twitter

As the internet becomes more and more mobile, Twitter is becoming the go-to social media platform. It’s 140-character limit and mobile-optimized interface makes engagement quick and easy. We recommend having both an official district Twitter account as well as an account maintained by your Superintendent to help humanize your administration and promote strong community recognition and interaction.

Half of Twitter’s 650 million users are on the site more than once a day, with 29% using it 3+ times a day, each time for more than 15 minutes. And remember that over 60% of those users are on mobile devices – keep your tweets on message and make sure any links you use are mobile-friendly by using link shorteners and ensuring that any page you link to is mobile-optimized.

While Facebook, Pinterest and Google + are all good options for finding new partners and resources within your community, Twitter is known for its strong ability for growing loyalty among its base members. Make sure you are talking to this audience – your parents, students and valued community partners – when composing your messages.

# Hashtags (to be covered in depth in a future post in this series) are a vital part of your Twitter strategy to ensure your tweets are reaching your target audience and to create cohesion in your communications.

Google+

While Google + often doesn’t get the airtime that Facebook & Twitter does in social media conversations, it has seen a 33% growth in the past year and now boasts 300 million users. By organizing your contacts into “circles” you can target your Google+ messages to targeted audience members, sharing school lunch menus and upcoming sporting events with parents while posting notices about budget meetings, community-wide events and important issues to a larger community-partner circle.

Google+ is integrated with Google’s powerful search engine and its suite of apps. This has helped to jumpstart the social media platform’s popularity and make it easier to use in tandem with Google Hangouts, Gmail, YouTube (a Google acquisition) and even Google Maps. Take advantage of these integrations to make posting easier and to also encourage interaction.

Instagram

As a visual app that is incredibly easy to use, it’s no surprise that Instagram is a huge hit across demographics. Instagram is a fantastic way to add depth and heart to your key themes. Featuring photos of students in action, successful community events and teacher profiles will humanize your district’s mission and help make your calls-to-action more vital.

Pinterest

This might seem like a weird fit for a school district – and we will explore exactly how we suggest you use Pinterest at a later date. But for now, consider how every image or “pin” actually links to somewhere else on the internet. This means that you can easily use Pinterest as a visual hub for linking to your website, Twitter feed, YouTube videos and other important content.

It is also a great place to engage with users to get them excited about back to school, community events, holidays and fundraising campaigns through the use of themed boards that provide inspiration, links to important information and yet another easy way for your community to help share the information throughout their own networks.

YouTube

Videos are a great way to break up any social media feed and generate more interest and engagement. Short 30 second videos that emphasize core messages are far more powerful & effective than the same information written out. Videos that highlight student academic achievement as well as of school plays & concerts, sporting events and community service initiatives will show taxpayers their money at work and inspire further support when needed in the future.

Share your YouTube videos across all platforms – and share them often! Follow up and share an important message video with an “ICYMI” (“in case you missed it”) tagline to help emphasize the video’s importance. Re-post a video from last year’s choir concert to get students excited about this year’s auditions.

 

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Allerton Hill Consulting can help your school district create a comprehensive communications plan that finds a balanced strategy between traditional and new (social) media. Our communication plans include real world examples and editorial calendars that apply directly to your demographics and current communications issues. For more information, contact us via email – inquire@allerton-hill.com – or call 800-549-2285.

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Facebook “Likes” Declared Free Speech

October 13, 2013

On Wednesday, September 18, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in a closely watched case, held that “liking” a page on Facebook is “a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.”

The case of Bland v. Roberts, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19268 (4th Cir. 2013), involved a local sheriff who was running for re-election. It came to his attention that two of his deputies had “liked” his opponent’s Facebook page. After the sheriff was re-elected, he removed these deputies from their positions. The deputies sued in federal court, claiming that pressing the “like” button on Facebook was free speech protected by the First Amendment. The lower court disagreed, finding that a mere click of a mouse button to “like” a Facebook page was insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. However, the court of appeals disagreed. A unanimous court held that “liking” a Facebook page does in fact constitute a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. More specifically, the court noted that “liking” a Facebook page is the “Internet equivalent” of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard.

As election season approaches, this decision serves as a reminder to public employers that their employees enjoy certain First Amendment free speech protections, particularly in the context of political speech. The decision is also significant as being one of the first to explore Facebook activity as a form of “speech.” The court’s analysis strongly suggests its reasoning would apply with equal force to other social media activity such as re-tweeting or clicking “favorite” icon on Twitter, or clicking the “heart” icon on Instagram.

It should be noted that the ruling in Bland, although significant, is not controlling law in Ohio at the present time, as it was decided in a different judicial circuit. Nor does it mean that all “likes” on Facebook are automatically protected for all purposes, since the right of free speech for public employees must always be balanced against the legitimate interests of the governmental entity.

Finally, it should be noted that this case did not focus on the use of public resources for political activity. School officials are reminded that under Ohio law, public resources (such as school networks and e-mail) may not be utilized to support ballot issues or candidates. See ORC 9.03.

 Read the Original Article on Bricker Bullet »

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