Who doesn’t love a day trip? Open road, new things to try, see, eat and drink. While a proper vacation is always a treat, the relaxing fun of a day trip always leaves me refreshed and refocused. They’re the perfect way enjoy experiences, without investing much time, energy or planning. They rank high on the reward-to-effort ratio, and that’s always a win in my book.
So, a social media day trip?
Well, over the past few weeks, I’ve been inspired, more than usual, by topics that I felt like deserved some attention on my blog. I’ve put them aside, filed them away in my brain, thinking each time, “there’s not enough here for a proper post.” It’s seeing a cute little town an hour’s drive away, but knowing that it doesn’t offer enough for a long weekend, much less a week’s holiday. It’s a day trip.
There’s also the fact that I am more than a social media girl. Yes, I wrote a book on social media in schools, but my interests and skills range well beyond Facebook algorithms and 140-character tweets. There is value in that knowledge, but the prospect of four quick social media posts in a row? Ho hum.
It was a similar reaction when I arrived as a general session speaker a few weeks ago at the (truly awesome) Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association annual symposium. As I met many of my 50 school PR colleagues in attendance, the warm greetings would turn into a polite “Oh, okay” when it came up that I’d be talking about social media. One particularly friendly member confided in me. “I’ll be honest, I saw social media on the agenda and thought, this again?” No doubt, social media as a tactic is a little too 2014. I assured her, we’d be doing something fresh. And that’s just what we did.
We explored social media metrics, the original topic request of the planning committee. We dove into the data to reveal powerful information about who our audiences are, what they like, and when they engage. But with a 2+ hour time slot to fill, there was much more ground to cover. We talked about developing content for maximum engagement. And we jumped feet first into the exciting (and maybe nervous) world of live streaming in schools — and only barely began to scratch the surface of what live video offers us for engagement and branding. That discussion was especially exciting, considering Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had announced — just two days prior! — that live video was available to all Facebook users, pages, groups and events. We were in virtually uncharted territory, and we learned so much.
As our time together ticked by, what began as ho hum for (I suspect) many in the room, quickly changed. The room was buzzing. These topics weren’t exactly new, but we had a new look at them — and we were energized. They had us talking, imagining, planning, wondering and laughing. That day, the inspiration total was far greater than the sum of its social media parts.
Traveling home afterward, I knew I wanted to share what we’d explored. Factor in a few other conversations that have sprung up over the same time, and lo and behold, I have a series of blog posts. Each one is a small point on a much bigger map, but it’s worth a stop. Here’s what we’ll see over the next couple of weeks:
- Engaging content, Monday 5/2
- Live video streaming – Facebook Live and others, Wednesday 5/4
- Effective hashtags – Monday 5/9
- Basic metrics – Wednesday 5/11
So grab your travel mug, top off your gas tank and get ready to enjoy!