A few weeks ago, I attended the eighth annual YouToo Social Media Conference where I learned about social media’s place in the professional world of PR. The conference was phenomenal, and I loved listening to keynote speakers Gini Dietrich, author of “Spin Sucks” and founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, and Mark W. Smith, mobile web editor at The Washington Post. Both professionals had great things to say at the conference so I wanted to share some of their tips on social content and ethics that stuck with me.
First off, it’s important to understand what makes social content good or bad. Smith said that when people scroll through their timelines and news feeds, they want short, quick information, so good social content is short, sweet and to the point. If readers choose to click on a link, he said they want to clearly understand what they will read and the experience they will have from that link. This is definitely a tip I want to use on my social media accounts- especially Facebook. Thankfully, Twitter has a 140 character limit, but on Facebook, it’s easy to write a paragraph or two- or five. When I post things in the future, I plan to treat it like a news lead; I’ll keep it to one or two sentences and get the main point of my post across clearly and quickly. I don’t want anyone to be bored with my posts or confused about what I’m telling them, so I plan to ditch the cutesy, fluffy intro for the sanity of my Facebook friends.
Smith also said we need to be aware of how we want our readers to respond to our posts- should they like, comment or share it? He gave this example with a post about Steve Jobs:
It’s hard for readers to like a post that reads something like “Steve Jobs died two years ago today.”
I thought this was a really important concept. In order to write an interactive post, I need to think about how I want readers to respond. I know when I share or retweet something, it’s information I find useful and want others to read. I need to think of what my audiences see as helpful and take that into consideration when I want them to share my content as well.
Dietrich shared some valuable tips about PR ethics and social media. Here’s one of her quotes from the conference that really stuck with me:
“The only thing that matters is that we are changing the conversation. Who cares about the number of Facebook friends you have?”
It’s so easy for me to look at my friends, followers, favorites or likes and attribute success to those numbers rather than to the accuracy of the content I post. The concept of content being more important than numerical success really stuck with me and I hope to bring that mentality of content into the workplace and my life.
YouToo definitely opened my eyes to the benefits of social media and how it translates from personal to professional use. I really enjoyed learning how to effectively use social media for my personal branding, but Smith pointed out that what we know now can change in a split second:
“Everything I said today will be a lie in six months because that’s how quickly the web changes.” Mark W. Smith
Although everything we are learning right now is true, it doesn’t mean these tactics are rigid and unadaptable. I’ll have to come back for next year’s conference to learn how these tactics change and evolve.