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Monday, April 11, 2011

Social Media Syndication Part 2: Overview of Places to Share



So, it is time to get your school into social media in a way that is safe, makes sense, and will help your image in the community. We've discussed in Social Media Syndication Part 1: Where is your Audience?why social media is important to schools. In Facebook Friending 101 for Schools (170 tweets on that one) we discussed the impact of Facebook Friends on your teachers, students, and staff.

You've resoundingly flooded my inbox with requests for more on social media and how to get your school in safely - so, let's keep going.

Social media syndication doesn't happen overnight but can be simple, inexpensive, and powerful for your school. For example, in the first week my school's Facebook page had more "likes" than our email newsletter had gotten in two years!

How do we reach everybody?
There is no longer a "one size fits all" communication method. Teachers moan how half the parents don't read the child's folders. (Or separated parents don't give each other the message.) If an email list is used, half the parents don't read their email! Only a few people look at the website!. And on it drones. Why can't we reach everybody?

In our customized society, one size doesn't fit all but all of us fit into some form of communications. Leverage communications to hit most people.

As we discussed in Social Media Syndication Part 1: Where is our audience? We learned that "our audience" is several places:
  • Email
  • Searching the Internet
  • Facebook
  • Mobile Phones
  • Twitter (the "mavens" or opinion leaders are here)
  • Kindle/ ebooks/ iPads
  • Looking at their calendars in the device of their choice
  • YouTube
  • Buying/ Selling/ Giving to Charity Online
  • mp3 Players
We also discussed how you no longer need a webmaster but a syndication master. Although I'm talking to schools here, this can apply to anyone wanting to leverage themselves through social media.

Social Media Syndication Principle #1: Select a Few Strategic Platforms
You can't be everywhere but you can be somewhere. And if you're smart, you can make that somewhere look like just about everywhere.


In this case, you can reach your audience by having just a few websites: a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a YouTube channel. Those are the "Fab 4" of social media. But it is also very helpful to have an embeddable, subscribe-able calendar and a place to share photos although that could be in Phase 2 of your implementation plan.

Remember, to share those social media platforms (as you set them up) through "Bookbag Blast" -- or by running off a flyer letting everyone know where they can get your information. (Know that those who don't like or use social media may push back - let them know you're not excluding them - only trying to reach more people who may not respond or be linked via the bookbag to their child.)

Social Media Syndication Principle #2: Syndicate and Automate with Conduits of Content
You cannot be everywhere at once. The best systems are those that manage themselves. 

When you post to Youtube it should automatically send to your blog, your Facebook page, and your Twitter account - right?

When you post to your blog it should update your homepage, post to Twitter, and send to your Facebook Fan page! You should never have to do what a "dumb" computer can do for you.

In retail the 80's and 90's were about location, location, location. The 2000's are definitely about syndication, syndication, syndication.  When you talk syndication you're also talking AUTOMATION and that means the computer can do it and you don't have to. Instead of you slaving over that copy machine - imagine little robots running around on the internet making virtual copies and doing your heavy lifting for you.

In this scenario, I'm going to recommend five "conduits" to syndicate your content. We'll get to how to do this specifically in future posts.

An example of how this works.
So, looking at a blog site, for example. If you set up a news blog on Blogger (see my school's news blog) if you set up conduits for your content you can:
  • send a blog post to RSS Readers, 
  • send an email to your subscribers, 
  • update the home page of your website, 
  • update the Facebook Fan page for your school, 
  • send the title to Twitter with "Just blogged this: Insert Title here" 
  • and also send it to the Amazon Kindle
    (Those who use an RSS reader on their iPad get it through RSS.)

 What is the cost of all of this? Free. Nothing. Nada.

What is the effort required? Only that of setting up the conduits. After that, it is as simple as sending an email or writing a blog post. It is all syndicated and automated.

My sister is a web designer and we have her customers set up to syndicate like this but most web designers won't tell you about these tricks because they know when you realize how easy it is that you may not be calling them twice a month to update things.

Good web designers will give you options. Because they know that fresh content is one key in getting boosted in search engine rankings. You need that.

From your pictures to your videos and lunch menus. You can use social media to reach your audience.

This doesn't need to be hard. We'll tackle how to set up our blogs and the content conduits in the next round of this series.

I'm enjoying this journey, how about you?
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