• The ARC media Social Media Glossary

    If social media jargon leaves you dazed and confused, we're here to clear things up. From Fans to Impressions; Sharing to Engagement, we hope that the ARC media Social Media Glossary helps you make sense of the madness.

    Looking for a definition you don't see in our social media glossary? Drop us a line, leave a comment on our Facebook Page, or Tweet with us! We'll continue adding social media definitions right here.

    New Fans: The number of new Facebook users that have liked your Page over the duration of your report.

    'Unliked' Your Page: The number of Facebook users that have unliked your Page over the duration of your report.

    IMPRESSIONS BREAKDOWN

    Fan: The number of impressions generated by the people that have liked your page.

    User Post: The number of impressions generated from user posts to your wall.

    Page Post: The number of impressions generated from likes, shares, and comments on your Page posts.

    Mention: The number of impressions generated by people who have tagged your Facebook page in a post or comment.

    Organic: The number of times your posts were seen in News Feeds or Tickers or on visits to your Page. These impressions can be Fans or non-Fans.

    Viral: The number of impressions generated from a story published about your Page (aka from a Page Post, User Post, Mention or Fan as described under Impression Breakdown).

    Paid: The number of impressions generated from a Sponsored Story or Ad pointing to your Page.

    IMPRESSIONS BY AGE & GENDER

    We give you a breakdown of age and gender of Facebook users (fans and non fans) that could have potentially seen content associated with your Page in their News Feed or Ticker or by visiting your Page directly. This is based on the data that people enter in their profile.

    IMPRESSIONS BY LOCATION

    Impressions of your Facebook Page broken down by city and by country.

    SHARING

    Stories Created: A story on Facebook is created when a user likes your Page, posts to your Page's Wall, answers a Question you posted, RSVP's to one of your events, mentions your Page, phototags your Page, checks in at your Place or Reacts to, or comments on / shares one of your Page posts.

    Users: The number of people that created stories about your page over the duration of your report.

    SHARING BY GENDER

    Your posts that are shared, broken down by gender.

    SHARING BY LOCATION

    The number of People 'Talking About the Page' by user country and by user language.

    YOUR CONTENT

    Reach: The number of unique people who saw any content about that post. This will include both fans and non-fans.

    Engaged Users: The number of people who clicked anywhere in your post without generating a story plus the number of unique people who created a story about your Page post.

    Talking: The number of people who have created a story from this post. Stories are created when someone Reacts to, comments on or shares your post, answers a question you posted or responds to an event.

    Reactions: The number of people who engaged with the post via Reaction. Reactions include "Like", "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Angry", "Yay", and "Sad".

    Comments: The number of people that commented on this post.

    Shares: The number of people that have shared this post.

    Engagement: Engagement is a ratio of engaged users to reach. As an example, a post with 4 engaged users and 100 reach should yield a 4% engagement score.

    Values displayed as dashes ('--') indicate that Facebook was unable to provide data at this time.

    ***

    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!

  • Sharing is More Powerful than Liking on Social Media

    No matter what it is, a local business closing, a natural disaster, or a man-made disaster, one thing is for certain: bad news travels faster than good news on social media. Somebody shares, Likes, or comments on some tragic story, and suddenly it’s all over your newsfeeds because it seems like everyone is doing it.

    The speed of bad news online is just the time it takes to make one click.

    Meanwhile, good news gets a very small portion of shareable activity. It’s the same click —and the same opportunity to add your own pithy comments — as bad news, but few people seem to take advantage of the opportunity to click on the good news.

    Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

    We see this a lot with local business closing announcements. Be it a restaurant, a retail store, or anything else ‘mom & pop-ish,’ when the small business posts on Facebook that they’re soon to be closing, there will be hundreds of comments and other interactions stating “Oh, that’s too bad!” or You’re my favorite place, I am going to miss you!”

    What were these hundreds of bad news commenters doing when they were supposedly enjoying the store’s products or the diner’s French fries? Were they sharing the content of the business, checking in when they were there, and posting filtered pics of the plates of pancakes? Probably not.

    What To Do Instead: #ShareThenLike

    What more consumers need to do is what we call Share Then Like. Share the good news, then Like the content. Sharing is a much more powerful tool than Liking is, whether it is a Share on Facebook, a Retweet on Twitter, a combination of both on YouTube, or some similar action across the other platforms.

    If I Share something instead of just Liking it, it allows me to add my opinions and thoughts to the content thereby further influencing my friends and followers. That’s how audiences of audiences are reached — which is always the goal of social media — and it’s how things go viral.

    One Last Tip

    As we‘ve applied the #ShareThenLike philosophy more and more, we’ve heard tales (and we have our own tales, too) of experiences that have gone south after someone has checked in at a business, event, what have you.

    Our last tip to you today is to take your group photos, your food photos, your fun photos, but to wait until your experience at a business is complete before posting those pictures, sharing the business’s content, or checking in. That way you aren't sharing something that wasn't the best experience with your social media friends and connections.

    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!

  • How to Succeed at Twitter

    Twitter is one of the most popular and powerful platforms of social media. If your Cooperative thinks that Twitter isn’t for you, then you might be missing out on critical information about current events, rural electricity, and energy on the whole. Let’s look at a couple of ways to get better at Twitter.

    "Your Follow List is Public and Impacts Your Image Just as Much as Your Own Tweets." - #TRGRules

    1. Admit It’s Overwhelming

    There are more than one hundred thousand tweets sent around the world every second, and there’s no way humanly possible for you to read and understand them all. The first step to success on Twitter is admitting that you’ll miss things.

    When you signed up for Twitter, you were probably prompted to follow celebrity or big brand accounts like Oprah and CNN. We’re sure you skipped over that step. If not, you’re following a lot of accounts that aren’t doing anything for you professionally.

    Clean up your follow list by eliminating the accounts that don’t either advance your Cooperative’s mission or influence your Cooperative’s way of thinking. The cleaner you make your Twitter lists, the more success you’ll see on Twitter. If you want to follow all the fun and games, get a second personal account.

    2. Listen Then Tweet

    Twitter is as much of a listening tool as it is a talking tool. Your Cooperative should listen and learn from twitterers in rural electric and in your local community just as often as you tweet about your Cooperative.

    Listening will also to help your Cooperative to determine when your target and actual audiences are on Twitter. If your audiences don’t see your tweets in real time, then the odds are good that they won’t see then at all.

    Research shows that average tweets will only last for minutes, and that popular tweets last for around 48 hours. 

    Keep Your In-and-Out Balanced - ARC Media

    3. Keep Your In-And-Out Balanced

    When your Cooperative first starts using Twitter, you might be tempted to follow 1,000 accounts before you have even a few followers of your own. Don’t do this.

    Every action you take as a new Twitter account will set expectations for your Cooperative. Each action you take will also affect outside perceptions of your organization. When other people on Twitter see that you’re following 1,000 accounts, but that you only have three followers of your own, it makes you look like a spammer.

     You don’t want to look like a spammer. 

    4. Hashtag Your Way to Success

    As we’ve discussed before, hashtags are one of the most powerful tools on social media. They serve as a sorting tool for those hundreds of thousands of conversations taking place every second across multiple platforms.

    If you want to be a part of, lead, or participate in conversations related to keywords and topics in our industry, then you need to follow and use hashtags related to rural electricity. [MS1]

    By putting the # in front of keywords in your message, your tweet (or post) becomes part of the conversation related to that keyword. Test it out: go to the Twitter search page and type #ruralelectric. We’ll wait.

    Twitter’s search engine just brought up real-time and relevant conversations about rural electricity. Do you see any potential customers, partners, or competitors in the stream?

    A Tweet Without a Hashtag - ARC Media

    So there you have it. Four easy things to do to help your Cooperative succeed at Twitter. There are many, many more ways to succeed, so the secret fifth tip is to follow us @ReachTheARC for more helpful tips on how to engage your membership on social media.

    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!

  • How to Get Your Facebook Name

    Have you ever seen a Cooperative with a Facebook URL that looks something like this: Facebook.com/AwesomeElectric1234567890? If you have, then you’ve seen an example of a Cooperative that hasn’t set up its Business Page correctly.

    Keep reading to learn how to set your Cooperative’s Facebook Page up the right way in a handful of short, easy steps. (Hint: Setting your Page up the right = getting rid of all those numbers at the end of your URL.) 

    Step 1: Log In

    Log into your Facebook account. Once you’ve logged in, go to your Business Page.

    Step 2: Check Your Current Facebook Name

    It’s possible that your Cooperative’s Page is already set up the right way. If so, congratulations! If you aren’t sure whether your page is set up correctly, then you need to visit your Page on Facebook.

    If you see something like Facebook.com/ReachTheARC or Facebook.com/MOElectricCoops when in your URL, then you’re already in good shape. If you see something like Facebook.com/ReachTheARC1234567890, then you need to keep reading.

    Step 3: Make Sure You’re a Page Admin

    You’ll need to be an Admin to edit your Page.

    To find out who the Admins are for your Cooperative’s Page, click “Settings on the upper right side of the page. Then look in the left sidebar for “Page Roles.” Once you click on “Page Roles,” you’ll be able to see who your current Page administrators are:

    Set Your Facebook Page Roles - ARC Media

    Facebook Page Roles include Admin, Editor, Moderator, Advertiser, Analyst, and Live Contributor. Each Role is assigned to have certain, appropriate permissions to post to, pull information from, or edit your Cooperative’s Page.

    Only a Page Admin can change the Page URL, so if you aren’t already an Admin, you’ll need to request Admin status from whoever is an Admin (there can be more than one Admin).

    Step 4: Change Your Page Username

    Once you’re a Page Admin, changing your Username is easy. Just open your Page and click “About” on the upper left side of your screen. From there, you’ll see the Username of your Cooperative.

    You can see in my example that our Business Username is, “ARC Media, and our Username is Facebook.com/ReachTheARC.”

    How to Change Your Facebook Username - ARC Media

    To edit your Cooperative’s Username, click “Edit” next to the Username section. Enter a new Username, and as long as that Username is available (i.e. no one else is using it already), you’re good to go!

    (Note: There are a few Facebook guidelines to follow when creating a Page username. The guidelines are mostly common sense (for instance, you can only use letters, numbers, and periods in your name) but you can find the complete list right here.)

    Step 5: Tag Us On Facebook to Let Us Know You’re Good

    Once you’ve set your Facebook Username up the right way, leave a note on our Facebook Wall or tag us in a #ThankYou post to let us know! If you tag us, we promise, we’ll engage with your Cooperative, helping promote your Facebook Page to our fans and your own. 

    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!

  • 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!

  • How To Live Tweet a Public Meeting

    Cooperatives work 24/7/365 to keep the power on and your membership engaged. Live tweeting your meetings and other public events is an easy way to grow your audience past the “real life” audience present at your event and onto your larger #AstroNetTurfRoots community.

    If you’re having a meeting (of any size) — including your annual membership meeting — you can set up live-tweeting. Here’s how:

    Before Your Meeting or Event:

    • Get/establish event hashtag, like #AnnualMeeting or #JeffCityTownHall
    • Put the hashtag on your registration website and published materials, and make sure your Member-Owners and other audience members (online and in IRL) know that that’s the hashtag for the event.
    • Tell your real-life and Twitter audiences that you’ll be live-tweeting.
    • Engage key people like speakers, community businesses, and legislators in your meeting online using their Twitter handles
    • Create and share a “follow list” IRL and online (include speakers, leaders, guests, and other participants on this list)
    • Use a client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (3rd-party partners) to follow the Twitter conversation about your event more efficiently.

    During Your Meeting or Event:

    You’re in the room during the event, and you have the Twitter handles of your speakers. When those speakers share memorable or quote-worthy things, tweet those quotes out to your followers. Be sure to include the speaker’s handle (@name) and the event hashtag.

    • Quote speakers using their handles (I like to call these “tweetable moments”)
    • Pick and choose the best content, even if you need to take notes and share the content a few minutes later
    • Take and share photos of your audience and your speakers (including a photo link in your Twitter stream will increase your interaction by 20%)
    • Watch the conversation around the hashtag that you’ve created, and interact with the people who are saying good (or bad) things about your event. (You’ll guarantee more success, connection with your audience by doing this.)
    • Hashtag your geographic location, too (#STL, #JCMO, etc.). Hashtagging your location goes a long way toward helping the people in the area learn more about your organization or cause.

    After Your Meeting or Event:

    • Thank new and old followers for their support. Call individuals out by name (using their Twitter handle) for their engagement
    • Write a blog post (tools like storify.com are great for this) that puts the tweets about the event in one place, and share it with your followers
    • Use hastracking.com to track your traffic and the ripple effect created by your live tweeting of the event.

    Live tweeting your next public meeting or event will help you build — and engage — an #AstroNetTurfRoots audience that is passionate about your Cooperative.

    One final point for you to consider: Social media (including Twitter) changes constantly. Your goal shouldn’t be to follow hard-and-fast rules from an alleged “social media expert,” but to apply — and test — best practices with your audiences. And when you think you’ve found what works, test it again! You might be surprised at how frequently social media platforms make changes that impact you. 

    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 
    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.

    Twitter
    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+, 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.

    YouTube
    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!

  • Breaking Down Hashtags on Facebook

    A recent addition to Facebook is the hashtag. While it is still underused by some (and abused by more) the hashtag is one of the most important tools in social media, and its evolution to Facebook is critical.

    As is your understanding of its proper use.

    How the Hashtag Works
    If you put a hashtag (or a “#”) in front of a word in a post, that word now becomes a hot link. You can click on that hot link to open up a stream of communication about that word in Facebook — and on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and other platforms. Your post, which used that hot link (or hashtag), will be included in the stream of communication about that hashtag.

    Let’s use a Facebook post about rural electricity as an example. You can turn “rural electricity” into a hashtag by combining the two words and adding a “#” in front of them: #RuralElectricity. (Notice that there’s no space between the words.) You can do this within the post or as what’s called a trailing hashtag.

    In-Post Hashtag: We’re celebrating 80 years of #RuralElectricity this year!

    Trailing Hashtag: We’re celebrating 80 years of rural electricity this year! #RuralElectricity 

    What’s the Value of the Hashtag?
    The hashtag is, in effect, a sorting tool for all of the content across social media. Hashtags enable us to collate all of the conversations on a particular keyword, bringing news, conversations, and fun topics to the surface of millions of messages posted every minute online.

    Three Tips for Hashtagging Success

    1. Don’t Abuse the #
    Not everyone on Facebook is used to the hashtag yet, so if you create posts that are weighed down by many #keywords, you’ll drive your customers and supporters away from your Cooperative’s posts. We recommend setting a three hashtag cap on each individual Facebook post.

    2. Wrong Isn’t Right
    It’s important to format the words in your hashtag well. How do you do that? Two rules of thumb are to capitalize each new word in your phrase, and to avoid punctuation marks.

    By capitalizing each new word in your hashtag, you’ll make the hashtag easier for your audience to read and comprehend: #RuralElectric is easier to read than #ruralelectric is, right? Right.

    The reason you should avoid punctuation is that only letters and numbers can be included in a hashtag. #RuralElectricHistory works as a hashtag, but #RuralElectric’sHistory doesn’t (because the apostrophe will break the hot link).

    3. Funny is Serious
    Finally, don’t use your hashtags to emphasize the punch lines of your jokes. This is sure to frustrate your audience. As your Mom probably told you, “If you have to explain it, it isn’t funny.”


    Hashtags are supposed to be a helpful tool on Facebook — and on other social media platforms. If you want your Cooperative to be part of the conversation, then you need to use the hashtags that are part of that conversation online.

    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!

  • How to Use Facebook Insights

    Facebook Insights gives you everything Your Cooperative needs to know about how your content is working — and when it’s working — absolutely free. Unfortunately, most Cooperatives and other nonprofits we’ve talked to don’t use their Insights.

    If your Cooperative wants to get ahead of the competition (most of which isn’t using Insights), keep reading. We’ll tell you what your Facebook Insights are, where to find them, and what the most important thing is that you can use them for.

    How to Find Facebook Insights

    First, you need to find your Insights. When you look at your Cooperative’s Facebook Page, Insights is right there at the top. Click on the Insights button, and you’ll be sent to the Insights Overview. When your content has had a bump or a spike in popularity, you’ll see it here.

    How to Use Facebook Insights - ARC Media

    From the Overview, you’ll see “Actions on Page,” “Page Views,” “Page Likes,” “Reach,” “Post Engagements,” and “Videos” at the top. Just below that, you’ll see your Cooperative’s 5 Most Recent Posts. If you click on any one of these buttons, you’ll see more information about each of those analytics.

    What Does Insights Do?

    Insights helps you track what kind of content is most successful for your Cooperative. It shows you Page Likes, Page Reach, and even complaints about spam. It shows you what posts people have responded best to, and it shows you how they’ve interacted with those posts. You can see how your paid posts performed alongside your organic posts, too. When you know what’s working for your Cooperative, you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

    The Most Important Thing to Use Insights For

    We promised you we’d tell you what the most important thing is that you can use Insights for, so here it is: The most important way you can use Insights is to figure out is when your Fans are online.

    Click on “Posts” on the left side of your Insights screen, and then click “When Your Fans Are Online” at the top of that page. You’ll see a chart showing you when your audience is engaging with your content.

    The sweetest spot to post on Facebook here in mid-Missouri is between 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. That’s when people are at home, multi-screening, playing on the computer, or checking Facebook before bed, and that’s when you should publish your best content.

    We’re sure it’s the same where you are.

    Do Your Facebook Insights Look Like a Whale? - ARC Media

    Don’t Do This

    One last note here about using Facebook to promote your Cooperative: When you say “find our Cooperative on Facebook” in advertising, but you don’t share your Facebook URL, it doesn’t work. That’s because your Cooperative isn’t the only one in the world by the same name. If you don’t give fans your full URL, they’re likely to like a business with the same name as yours, but in some other city or state.

    Learn more: Get Found on Facebook - A Strategy for Cooperatives

    If you’re going to spend money promoting your Facebook Page, give the reader your full Facebook URL. For instance, if we were advertising our Facebook Page for ARC Media, we’d use the full URL: Facebook.com/ReachTheARC. And once you get people onto your Page, use Insights to track what’s working and what isn’t for your Cooperative’s content.

    If your Cooperative needs a hand getting started with Insights, feel free to reach out anytime.

    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!

  • Get Found on Facebook: A Strategy for Rural Electric Cooperatives

    How well do you think this is working for their #SocialMedia efforts? #RocketGroup

    A photo posted by Gus Wagner (@wagnergus) on


    If you’re a Nonprofit Electric Cooperative that’s investing time and energy in social media, you want to see more friends, likes, and followers for your advocacy, Member-Owner communication, and civic engagement efforts.

    Many of our country’s Rural Electric Cooperatives are making basic Facebook Page mistakes that could be avoided by following the Facebook search tips in this post.

    Write a Strong Call to Action

    One common call to action I repeatedly see in Cooperative marketing and advertising efforts is the icon below:

    Find me on Facebook. - ARC Media


    It doesn’t work like that. Not well, at least.

    With that call to action, a Member-Owner will have to search for your Cooperative on Facebook. When they have to search for you, they might find a similarly-named utility in another part of the country, or they may not find anything at all. Worse yet: they might not even take the time to search for you at all.

    So what’s the right way to promote your Facebook presence in real life? It’s by using your full URL. For example, ours is https://www.facebook.com/ReachTheARC/.

    Find Me on Facebook  with specific URL - ARC Media


    Avoid These Basic Facebook Mistakes

    Let’s assume that your Member-Owners can find your Facebook Page online. What are some of the common Facebook Business Page mistakes they might find when they get there?

    • The last time you updated your Page was over two months ago.
    • You have a Facebook Profile instead of a Facebook Page (a Cardinal Sin).
    • The purpose of your Cooperative has gotten lost.
    • You haven’t engaged with your Fans.
    • Your Fans have no idea what your Cooperative stands for.

    Your Cooperative can distinguish itself from other utilities by responding to posts, answering customer questions, and otherwise interacting with your Fans on Facebook in a way that’s true to your purpose and as authentic online as your Cooperative is in real life.

    More Facebook Advice

    If you’re really serious about Facebook, here’s some more food for thought:

    • Dedicate someone at your Cooperative to manage your Facebook account.
    • Unlink your Twitter tweets and your Facebook posts. They’re two different audiences. And your ‘more than #140’ tweets are getting lost. Share the same info, just in different ways.
    • It’s okay to schedule your Facebook posts in advance, but schedule at least two of them each day. Don’t lump all of your posts together at the same time of day or on one day of the week. The trick is to spread your posts out evenly through the week.
    • Ask questions. Member-Owners will become accustomed to answering your questions. And when they do, you’ve engaged them with your Cooperative.
    • Even if your Cooperative isn’t on social media, the community members and leaders you want to engage with probably are. Member-Owners, prospects, local leaders, and even legislators are on Facebook, talking about things that matter to your Cooperative.
    • Build online relationships with those people by paying attention to what they have to say, and by responding to them in a timely way.

    Facebook is a Commitment

    Just like everything else in Cooperative life, Facebook is a commitment. Your Cooperative must commit to using it well, and you must be ready to adapt to its constantly changing landscape. Your goal on Facebook should be to constantly test your methods, content, and timing to see what works best for your Cooperative.

    And just when you think you’ve figured it all out, it’s probably time to test again. That’s how quickly social media platforms like Facebook can change.

    Activate and Motivate Your Membership 24/7/365

    Need help? We’re here. 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!

  • How to Make a Good First Impression on Facebook

    Making a good first impression is important. Remember when you were a kid, and your parents made you keep the house clean, “just in case” company dropped by? You kept things tidy, but the company rarely came.

    Your Facebook Page is like your house when you were a kid: you need to keep it tidy “just in case” someone stops by — even though it’s unlikely than anyone ever will.

    No One Visits Your Facebook Page

    99.9% of people will never return to your Cooperative’s Facebook Page once they’ve Liked it. Instead, they’ll scroll through their newsfeed until something from a friend, a family member, or a brand catches their eye. That’s when they’ll stop and click on the link that caught their attention.

    Your Cooperative’s Facebook Fans are no different. If they don’t see something from you in their newsfeed, then they’re not thinking about, liking, sharing, or commenting on your Cooperative’s content.

    Think about how you use Facebook: You may have liked Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, or even ARC Media on Facebook, but unless you see compelling content from those brands in your newsfeed, you probably won’t go directly to that brand’s Page.

    This is why you have to post to Facebook. And post to Facebook. And post to Facebook.

    Make a Plan

    If you want to make a good first impression with your fans, you first have to make an impression at all. You need a plan and a strategy for how your Cooperative will use Facebook. Posting for the sake of posting will only get you so far.

    If your content isn’t relevant to your fans; if it’s not connected to your general mission; or if it’s just junk, then you’re not going to inspire your fans to interact with your Page — All of that tidying up “just in case” company stops by will be in vain.

    What You Should Post to Facebook

    At ARC Media, you’ll hear us talk a lot about activating and motivating your Cooperative’s membership. Our goal is to provide you with high quality content that helps teach you how to do those two things. If our content isn’t promoting Rural Electric Cooperatives or helping Cooperatives learn how to activate and motivate memberships, then we’ve let you down. We recommend you take a similar approach to creating and sharing content with your audience.

    What Else Should You Do to Clean Up Your Page?

    • Answer as many of the questions as possible in your “About” section to help newcomers learn more about your Cooperative.
    • Make sure your profile and cover images are readable, to size, and representative of your Cooperative. Need help with your sizes and ideas? Use a mostly-free tool like Canva to easily guide you through the process, or contact us to give you a hand.
    • You should also make plans to weekly — at a minimum — go onto Facebook as your brand Page. Scroll your Page’s newsfeed and like, comment, and Share with the Pages you are connected to as your brand. Don’t Like any Pages as your brand? What the heck are you waiting for?

    Following these simple tips will help you to create a good, nay, great first impression as Member-Owners and other community members begin to engage with your Page.

    Activate and Motivate Your Membership

    If you have questions about how to make Facebook work for your Cooperative, let us know! We spend our days connecting Electric Cooperatives with your Member-Owners, and can help you activate and motivate your membership 24/7/365: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or contact us today!

  • Hashtag Advice You Should Listen To

    We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it here again: “The hashtag is the most powerful tool in social media.”

    Gus has gained a bit of a reputation for his favoritism of the hashtag, as it’s a frequent tool used in his speeches and, heck, it’s even in his Twitter profile photo!

     

    What Does a Hashtag Do?
    The hashtag collates the hundreds of thousands of messages which are tweeted and posted every second of every day around conversation topics and keywords. It’s how audiences spread the word at events, how real world communities group together online, and how people, businesses, organizations, and nonprofits brand themselves and improve their bottom lines.

    If you still are not sure what a hashtag is, check out Gus's FAQ video.

    Hashtags began on Twitter, and they’ve spread to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms. They are most frequently and successfully used on Twitter and Instagram, but they still work, to varying degrees of success, on other platforms.

    The Answer to Your Question is Yes
    The answer to the question you are thinking right now is: YES.

    Yes, you should be using hashtags in your posts and tweets, no matter the platform. If you want to get more awareness, gain audiences, or manage a social media campaign, hashtags are imperative to your success.

    Hashtag Tips

    Check it before you hashtag it: Before you strategically begin using a hashtag, be sure to check it out on a site like HashAtIt to make sure it is not being used by your competitors. You should also make sure it isn’t connected to any junk you don’t want to be associated with.

    See what others are doing with hashtags: Search your industry or geographic area for any and all relevant hashtags your peers and influencers are using. Then begin using those. No need to create what is already successful and has audiences connected to it.

    It’s not funny: Don’t use hashtags to call out the punchlines to your jokes. #AintIAStinker might have worked for Bugs Bunny, but it won’t work for you. It chews up valuable real estate in tweets where you’re limited to 140 characters and on other platforms where shorter posts perform better.

    Know the numbers: Loading up your content with tons of hashtagged keywords and phrases may seem like a great idea, but it makes you look like a spammer, turning new visitors off. Two to three hashtags work best on tweets and Facebook posts. Studies vary as to what is a sweet spot on Instagram, but we’ve found six to be a good number. We also include the bulk of those hashtags in the first comment to an Instagram post, not in the original caption text.

    Use what you abuse: If you are going to use the hashtagged keywords and phrases in your content, be sure to click them and engage with others online who are using the same hashtags. One important aspect of hashtags is community building…so be part of the community!

    Be the same everywhere: If you are creating a campaign, theme, or contest revolving around a hashtag be sure you are using the same identification on Twitter as you are on Facebook as you are on Instagram, etc. There’s no reason to quadruple your work if you do’t have to.

    Make it easy on the eyes: Our house policy for hashtags and web addresses is to capitalize the first letter of every word to make it easier to read and remember. #HamburgerHeaven is a lot easier to read than #hamburgerheaven, right? Test it with your message and see what you think.

    These points are by no means the comprehensive guide on how to use hashtags but they are set up to help you improve your outreach with an important, some say the MOST powerful, tool in social media.

    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!

  • 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!

  • How to Set Up Twitter Correctly from Day One

    How do you sign up for a twitter account? How do you get started on Twitter? Twitter is our favorite platform on social media, so we think it’s important to use Twitter to reach influencers, get involved in your community, and better serve your Cooperative’s Member-Owners. You want to create a great first impression when you get started on Twitter, so we’ve got a few tips that’ll help you set up your Twitter the right way.



    Sign Up for Twitter

    The first step to setting up Twitter correctly is, well, signing up for Twitter. It’s easy to do: Just go to Twitter.com and click “Sign Up.” Twitter will ask you to enter your real name, an email address, and a password, in addition to your handle. Keep in mind that only one Twitter account can be created for each email address, so you’ll only be able to enter an email address that hasn’t already been used to create a Twitter account.

    Real Name: The Awesome Electric Cooperative, Inc.

    Handle: @AwesomeElectric

    Email: Social@AwesomeElectric.com

    Password: ******

    We suggest using a Username (or, in Twitter terms, a Handle) that matches what you use on other social media channels if you can. For example, if you use “Facebook.com/AwesomeElectric,” then try to use “@AwesomeElectric” as your handle on Twitter, too.

    Twitter Prompts

    Once you’ve created your account, Twitter will ask you to share your interests. You can choose common interest like “Sports” and “News,” or you can opt to give Twitter more customized interests.

    Twitter will prompt you to follow famous people and universally popular Twitter accounts like @CNN and @BBCWorld. We suggest that you unclick “Select All” when Twitter gives you this prompt so that you don’t follow any of these popular accounts right away. Why? Because following big, popular accounts before you’ve filled out your profile or built up a few followers of your own will make you look like a spammer. You don’t want to look like a spammer.

    Customize Your Profile

    When you open a new Twitter account, your profile will look generic. Your profile picture will be an unhatched egg, and your cover image will be blank. You’ll want to ditch that unhatched egg right away by uploading a representative and professional image to use as your profile picture/avatar instead. You’ll also want to include another representative and professional image as your cover image.

    Your Twitter bio tells people who you are and what you’re all about, so be sure that your bio answers as many questions about who you are, what you do, and where you do it as possible. You can even include hashtags in your bio. The trick? Twitter bios are limited to 160 characters. If you need ideas, check out our Twitter account.

    Start Tweeting

    Once you’ve done what we’ve already suggested, it’s time to start tweeting. Send out a few introductory tweets before you start following anyone else so that you’ve laid the groundwork for your new followers’ first impressions of you.

    Use hashtags in your tweets to connect your tweets to other tweets about your geographic area, your industry, and your organization’s interests. This will help you to be found and followed by other people with similar interests.

    Want to Learn More? Hashtag Advice You Should Listen To

    Find People to Follow
    Now that you’ve posted a few intro tweets to your account, you’ve got a professional avatar, and you’ve updated your cover image, it’s time to find people to follow on Twitter. You can search for tweets and for Twitterers based on your interests, your geographic area (city, state, county, etc.) and more.

    If you search for “Electric Cooperatives,” for instance, you can see the Top Posts, the Latest Posts, People, Videos, and More related to Cooperatives:

    We recommend finding other Cooperatives, as well as local, county, and state-level organizations and leaders. You can follow people tweeting about the same geographic area you’re in, too. This will help build your followers/following up so that you look like a legitimate account, and not a spammer.

     

    Tagging Others on Twitter

    You can tag other Cooperatives, community leaders, Member-Owners, and business by typing their Twitter handle preceded by the @ sign. For example, you could tweet to us at ARC Media like this, “Thanks for the great post about setting up Twitter, @ReachTheARC!” Tagging other people on Twitter is a great way to get others engaged with your content.

    Tweet, follow, and thank your followers for following you. Engage with your Member-Owners, and above all, have fun!

     

    Need a Hand?

    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!

  • How Not to Suck at Twitter

    I have one simple trick to share with you today that will help keep your Cooperative from sucking at Twitter. My trick isn’t complicated or time-consuming, and it doesn’t require a “social media expert” to execute.

    My simple trick for how not to suck at Twitter?

    When you create a new Twitter profile, Twitter uses a default avatar as your personal profile picture. That default picture is of an un-hatched egg. If you’re using the un-hatched Twitter egg as your profile picture, you’re sucking at Twitter.

    Here’s why:

    The un-hatched egg tells everyone else on Twitter that you’re either a newbie or a spammer. If they think you’re a newbie, you won’t have much credibility with more established Twitter accounts. If they think you’re a spammer, you could have bigger problems.

    If other users report your account as spam, you’ll face some difficulties down the road. Even if your account is completely legitimate, spam reports can hurt you down the line, and that un-hatched egg profile picture will earn you a lot less followers than you’d get with a personalized image.

    It takes 5 seconds to upload a friendly, smiling picture of yourself to Twitter or to upload your corporate logo. Anything is better than the un-hatched egg, so don’t suck: upload a better profile picture.

    Now that your smiling face or your logo or some other image that represents you (or your company) is on Twitter as your avatar, you need to finish filling out your profile. Let’s use my Twitter bio as an example:

    My bio is filled out completely. My name, description, and location are all there. For bonus points, I’ve hashtagged the key words that might help people find me. Those hashtags are #SocialMedia, #Marketing, #Missouri, #JCMO, and #HootAmb.

    My geographic location makes me searchable when other people look for influencers in Jefferson City, Missouri. My web address helps people learn more about what we do at The Rocket Group, and then, of course, you can see how long I’ve been on Twitter (I joined in May 2009).

    It only took a few minutes for me to create my entire Twitter bio, including uploading my profile picture, and I didn’t need to be an expert to do it. Twitter doesn’t have to be hard — filling out your profile is an easy way to not suck at it.

    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!

  • Win their Hearts and Minds

    What if we told you that there were just two simple things you needed to do to persuade your audience to make the decision you want them to make? And what if we told you that those two simple things were as simple as HAM? Yes, HAM.

    We’ve been working with Cooperatives and other membership organizations for a long time, and we’ve learned some important lessons along the way. One of the things we’ve learned is that persuasion is all about HAM.

    How do you make people buy a product, advocate for a cause, or vote for a candidate? Whether you hope that a consumer will buy something or a Member-Owner will “Like” you on Facebook, the same two things have to happen: you need to capture that person’s heart and their mind. You need to win their HAM (Heart And Mind).

    No matter what you’re trying to convince someone about — an idea, an issue, a person, a product, or anything else you’re trying to “sell” — you need to win their hearts and their minds. Win the heart and you’ve won the emotional appeal; win the head and you’ve won the logical appeal. Win them both, and you’ve got their vote, their transaction, or their donation.

    If you can convince somebody’s HAM, you'll have them in your wheelhouse to support your cause, make the decision that you want them to make, or to vote for the candidate you want them to vote for.

    Need help finding the hearts and minds of your Member-Owners? Drop a line anytime!

    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!

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