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Everything listed under: Social Media

  • Engaging Elected Officials on Social Media

    We live in a time when only 43 out of 435 members of the U.S. House consider themselves ‘rural enough’ to be members of the Rural Caucus. Those numbers aren’t getting better for those of us in most Congressional districts in the States right now, and that means that rural Electric Cooperatives nationwide are affected.

    Consider for a moment that in addition to the shrinking representation and influence agribusiness and rural concerns receive in government and in real life, that in the Midwest, especially, we’re lagging in social media, as well.

    According to the current HubSpot Twitter Grader, the Midwest is falling well below the national average for use of Twitter (Missouri is 42% below the national average, and Iowa and Wisconsin are both 14% below it).

    If, in Missouri, we want to relate to our 390 Congressional City Cousins to engage on our issues, we must impact them with our #AstroNetTurfRoots — using truth and transparency.

    This post is inspired by the opportunities I’ve had to do public speaking and marketing training for membership organizations, nonprofits, and advocacy groups along with my public service to the state of Missouri as a Chief of Staff in the State Senate.

    I've been on both sides of the lobbying and advocacy pitches and I believe I know what can help you.

    When working with membership organizations like state Electric Cooperative associations, I try to put things in perspective by asking members if they have ever had a face-to-face lobbying or advocacy meeting with:

    · A local official from one of the 19,000 municipal governments in America?
    · An elected official from one of the 3,141 county governments in America?
    · Someone from one of the 99 House of Representatives or State Senates in America?
    · A Governor?
    · A United States Congressman or United States Senator?
    · A President?

    I have met with and addressed issues with all of the above.

    I then ask members if they’ve ever had a personal social media conversation with an elected official about an issue — without blasting press releases at them or throwing a stack of talking points their way.

    What I’ve discovered is that if membership groups can organize and mobilize their dozens, hundreds, thousands of members as social media advocates, that they can take real world actions using social media tools.

    Increasingly, elected officials at the local, state, and federal level are active on Twitter or Facebook (or both). Their staff employees and other government influences are active on social media as well. Cooperatives can take advantage of this social media presence in order to communicate effectively outside of their membership silos.

    I suggest that Cooperative, especially in capital cities like our home base of Jefferson City, Missouri, aggressively and positively communicate with Member-Owners and with elected officials using social media. If you’re not sure how to get started, give us a call. We can help.

    Activate and Motivate Your Membership 24/7/365

    We spend our days connecting Electric Cooperatives with your Member-Owners. Let us help you activate and motivate your membership 24/7/365: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or contact us today!

  • Find Your Fish on Social Media

    “We’re preparing to launch our Cooperative’s presence on social media, but we don’t know which sites are best for us to use. Do you have any suggestions?”

    The social media sea is vast, so it’s understandable if your Cooperative doesn’t know where to start fishing. Our advice to you is to get to know your fish (your audience), and then to follow them wherever they go on social media.

    When it comes to choosing which social media sites will work best for your Cooperative, there are a few basic (and hugely popular) social media channels we recommend, and there are plenty of options beyond those channels, as well.

    The Basic Social Media Channels

    Facebook is the social media channel where your local Member-Owners are most likely to be right now, so we recommend that your Cooperative establishes a Facebook Page. Once you’ve set your Page up, you can begin engaging with your local rural community by posting regular updates.

    Don’t forget to encourage your Member-Owners to follow your Facebook Page when you have real world interactions. You can promote your Facebook Page at events, in the bill pay process, and in your Cooperative’s newsletter.

    We’ve seen some great content out there from Rural Electric Cooperatives: Pictures of your linemen working hard, information about Cooperative benefits and principles, and videos that promote Cooperative ideals (even if you borrow those videos from other organizations like NRECA) are just a few ideas to get you started.

    If you want to reach audiences locally, nationally, or even internationally, Twitter is an ideal social media channel for your Cooperative. Twitter is a dynamic tool that casts a wide geographical net, and it’s a great place to learn from experts in our industry.

    Twitter’s also useful for releasing content like Cooperative blog posts, and it’s perfect for sharing quick (140 character) updates. Add hashtags and your geographic location to Tweets to help establish content and generate deeper Twitter engagement with your followers.

    Google+, Google’s social media channel, is powerful, but unless you know that you’ve got a large audience there already, we don’t recommend you make it your primary focus. In our Mid-Missouri market, there isn’t much of an audience on Google+. That doesn’t mean Google+ is irrelevant for everyone, but since our audience isn’t there, we won’t invest time and energy in that channel.

    You probably know that YouTube is the social media go-to for video content. Your Cooperative can publish videos on YouTube and then share that video content on your other social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter).

    But did you know that YouTube is also the second largest search engine on the internet? It’s true. And how-to videos are the most-watched category of video on YouTube. If you’re looking for a way to show your Cooperative’s personality on YouTube with a low cost of entry, consider putting together a few how-to videos.

    Other Social Media Options

    Of course, there are many, many more tools you can utilize. There are hundreds of social media channels out there that your Cooperative could use. Before you sign up, though, ask yourself whether your fish are already in those seas (are your audiences using those social media sites?) and whether you truly have the time to invest into additional social media channels. Do your research, and choose the social media channels that are right for your Cooperative.

    One Final Tip
    If your Cooperative plans to launch on more than one social media site, consider how you’ll manage those sites before you actually launch them. We recommend posting at least two times each day on your main social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) if you want to have maximum page views and interaction.

    For efficiency, consider using an online social media management program like HootSuite (full disclosure: Gus is an affiliate partner of this company). You’ll be able to schedule your posts in advance, so you don’t accidentally get caught up in something else and miss one. Programs like HootSuite help you to manage all of your social media accounts on one platform, and you can even view your analytics there in real time.

    If you don’t have time to manage your sites, even with help from a platform like HootSuite, we can do it for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation and quote!

    Activate and Motivate Your Membership 24/7/365
    We spend our days connecting Electric Cooperatives with your Member-Owners. Let us help you activate and motivate your membership 24/7/365: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or contact us today!

  • Bad News Travels Fast on Social Media

    Bad News Travels Fast - ARC Media

    The 2012 story of the maybe/maybe not imaginary girlfriend of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o spread like wildfire across the internet. The story damaged Te’o’s NFL prospects, and it damaged Notre Dame’s reputation, as well as the reputations of media outlets like ESPN and CBS that had covered the emotional story before it was revealed to be a hoax.

    We saw Deadspin’s original Facebook post just 51 minutes after it was published. In that 51 minutes, it received 359 fan interactions, including 242 valuable Facebook shares. A tweet posted at the same time received more than 13,000 retweets and more than 1,800 likes.

    Bad News Travels Faster than Good News Does

    Deadspin has more than 99,000 fans on Facebook, so 242 shares and 359 fan interactions may seem low. Let us ask you this, though: Does your Cooperative get that kind of response rate when you post good news at an off-hour in the middle of the afternoon?

    Be Prepared

    We all know that bad news spreads fast. Where your Cooperative’s social media posts are concerned, we hope that you’re able to make your good news travel just as fast. Social media channels are powerful funnels for information of all kinds, so whether it’s good news or bad news that you’re sharing on them, you should always be prepared for the speed at which that news will spread.

    Need Help?

    We spend our days connecting Electric Cooperatives with your Member-Owners. Let us help you activate and motivate your membership 24/7/365: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or contact us today!