About Melissa Baker Jenlink

Melissa Baker Jenlink is the director of communications and marketing for Autry Technology Center in Enid, Oklahoma. She is the president of Inspire Greater Enid, a professional organization for marketers and communicators in northwest Oklahoma. Not your typical marketing mind, she thrives on putting systems in places that will combine the creative and analytic mind. She loves to incorporate social media personally and professionally for the opportunities to connect others. She is a runner, Christ follower, and recent bride who is grateful for quality time with friends & family!

An evolution in reading and publishing…Scribd

Think of Scribd as a book club online where anyone can join a conversation on almost any topic. You can read, print, download and send publications to your cell phone from their site. Upload your PDF, Word and PowerPoint documents to share them with a very large community of readers.

Consider these five ideas for how this site can be useful to school PR staff, teachers, students and parents across the district:

  • News Clippings
    Like Shane pointed out in “Five ways your school district can use Pinterest,” you can use Scribd to feature your news clippings. Upload pdf or jpg versions of articles, adds, posters, banners, etc. to your account.
  • Resource for Teachers
    From essays, theses and homework to study guides, notes and quizzes, there are many resources available to aid your teachers in their efforts.

  • Share school publications
    From course offerings to manuals and handbooks, students and parents can easily access documents from your account. They can download, print, read and even share documents, saving you time and money.
  • Presentations
    Need to give a presentation on Web 2.0 and social networking? Maybe a grammer lesson on gerunds and infinitives? There are presentations you can use as inspiration in developing your own; or maybe you prefer to use their exact presentation. Prezi.com is another good resource for presentations.
  • Resumes
    College graduates and young adults are looking to Scribd as a place to store their resumes in addition to LinkedIn. This could be helpful if you also have human resources duties, need to hire a new staff member or explore various resume styles.

We’re always looking for new ways to use Scribd. Do you have any?

Three tools to turn graduation slide shows into fun videos with ease

We know students and their families will enjoy seeing their pictures, but what about the pictures of everyone else? Many aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins fall asleep during the graduation slide show.

There are tools available to help us save time, money and brain capacity. Using resources (free or not) can be a life saver.

1. Animoto. Animoto is one of our all-time favorite resources. It turns our photos, video clips and music into stunning video masterpieces to share with everyone. Uploading pictures to Animoto is as simple as uploading them to Facebook. In fact, you can even import them from your Facebook account. Add text (student names, quotes, stories, fun snippets from the year, etc) in between photos. The biggest key to adding life is uploading video to your video. Choose from hundreds of tunes available or upload your own. Sharing your video is very easy via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or email. You can even download your video to a DVD. HD upgrades are available for all plans and are included in the pro plan. Plans range from free to $20.75 per month or $249 billed annually. View example put together for advanced medical graduation two years ago.

2. Prezi. “Make your presentations zoom” with Prezi. Think of Prezi as a big white drawing board. You can place images, link to YouTube videos, add text and create graphics on this board. You can make the images really large so another image can be “hidden” within or keep them standard. The more creative and outside the box you get, the better. Prezi gives you the ability to collaborate in real time, so it’s easy to share the responsibility of creating the video with staff members and teachers. Adding a storyline uses frames and a path to create the “cinematic journey.” Prezi is free to education professionals with educational emails, or you can pay $59 per year for the pro account. Prezi can be presented online or downloaded to a desktop for presenting. View Social Media presentation example from December 2011.

3. Photodex. This is very similar to Animoto. It’s a simple and creative way to organize and share photos. Photodex helps you create unique slideshows that transform digital memories into something special. View example put together in less than 5 minutes.

I’m sure there are many more available. Do you know of any you can share with us?

Change is Easy. Transition is Hard.

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, they change it all. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate through the latest changes to Facebook.

Facebook Cover Photo and Profile Image
The new format gives us the opportunity to get rid of the photo strip across the top and have one large image to showcase our page. Get more details from Facebook on the cover photo here.

  • Image size maximum: 850 pixels by 315 pixels
  • Image minimum: 399 pixels

Larger Posts
Pictures and videos are larger in posts. You can highlight posts by clicking the star icon in the upper right of a post. The pinning feature allows you to feature a post for up to a week before moving back to its place according to when it was posted. To pin a feature, click on the pencil icon in the upper right of the post and select “pin to top.”

Why would we want to highlight or pin different posts on our page? These tools help to tell your story and to increase awareness of certain activities, students, events and more.

History
Have your basketball, soccer, softball, track, gymnastics, golf or football teams won the state championship? Did you build a new building? The newest changes to Facebook allow you to go add “milestones” to your timeline. Look to the line that runs down the middle of your timeline and select “milestone.” You can fill out the information.

Fan Posts
Posts to your page by fans are now in a separate area on the right. Your story is now the focus of your timeline. The more visually engaging your content is, the better. Fans may spend more time reading through your timeline than before.

Custom Tabs
The custom tabs we knew don’t work with the new Facebook page. They haven’t disappeared. They’re still there. We don’t have the ability to capitalize on a landing page with a call to action. You can still incorporate applications and custom tabs. You just have to choose how to use them. Twelve applications can be showcased, with only four prominent at the top of your page. Photos cannot be changed. They are the first application to be shown. Choose your next three wisely. Make sure they are the ones to which you most want to drive people. You can always change based on activities, marketing focus, etc.

Facebook Offers
Watch for the ability to offer a deal on Facebook.

Insights, Admin Panel and Messages
Just when you thought it was over, Facebook included another change with the Timeline. You can access insights, likes, notifications and the new messages feature from the admin panel. Viewing insights, managing your account and communicating with your fans seem to be easier thanks to the new admin panel.

What are some of your favorite features of the new timeline? What do you not like about the changes?

Don’t lose heart.

We all go through phases when the project list is so big we wonder how in the world we’re supposed to find time for social media. We may wonder if it’s really worth it. Am I getting a return on my investment?

The answer is yes. It is worth it. So how do we stay motivated? How do we get inspired?

  1. Remind yourself of the reason you do what you do. Perhaps you’re doing it because your boss told you to. This quick reminder could inspire you to keep on so you can keep your job. Maybe you’re participating because you need an outlet to respond to negative responses. Or it could be the perfect outlet to recognize and praise students and staff. Take a moment to assess the reason and see if it jumpstarts your productivity and creativity.
  2. Have a regular routine. Habits can be powerful things. It’s a proven fact that a habit can be very difficult to break. However in the case of social media, habits can be a good thing. If you develop the habit of checking your social media accounts, responding and posting during certain parts of the day, every day, you may find it much easier to schedule your time and ensure the accounts stay current.
  3. Develop a support group. It’s important to have friends and interests outside of your work as well as colleagues who can understand and support what you’re going through. They may be the ones to help you stay motivated and engaged.
  4. Look for opportunities to “steal” social media ideas from others. Be on the lookout and try new things you see working for others. Why reinvent a wheel if one already works well. If you have a competitive nature, this may be the perfect boost to your game.
  5. Follow the experts. Mashable and Social Media Examiner provide free updates daily. Use their tips, how tos, case studies, reviews and tools to inspire you through this drought.
  6. Attend a workshop or seminar. Fresh, new ideas generally come from attending workshops and seminars like the NSPRA seminar or your state chapter meeting, especially if you get to share it with colleagues. Use the time away to get refreshed, reenergized and geared up.
  7. Go to your “happy place.” Take a quick break and think of the place that just plasters a grin on your face. All the worries, stress and deadlines seem to disappear.

We’ve all heard the motivational quotes… Stay engaged. Persevere. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t lose heart. This too shall pass. Although we may tire of hearing these phrases, we must recognize the truth in them.

Good luck and press on!

10 Keys to Success in Social Media

  1. Identify your target audience. With whom do you want to communicate? Teenagers? Parents? Grandparents? Business owners? Community investors?
  2. Choose your social media outlet. Once you know your audience, choose the medium that group is participating in and which media will give you the greatest reach or “bang for your buck.”
  3. Interaction is key. Social media is not a one-way conversation. Traditional marketing methods don’t allow dialogue with your audience.
  4. Listen to the feedback. You can’t change opinions or respond to complaints/concerns if you don’t know about them. Many times others will answer questions or defend the cause without your involvement.
  5. Make a commitment. Social media is a marathon and not a sprint. Stay in it for the long haul.
  6. Be timely in your response. Think of it like you do when you call your cell phone, electric or cable provider. Don’t keep your “friends” on hold.
  7. Be real and avoid being a robot. People want to connect with you. They want to relate to you. It’s okay to show them you care. We are, after all, working with their kids.
  8. Be creative in your communication. Find a unique twist to talk about your school, classes and more. People want to know what’s happening while they’re at school, how you are improving their lifestyle and learning experience. It’s about the benefits and not the features.
  9. Don’t be afraid to brag. Celebrate students. Share their stories and activities — plays, athletic events, scholastic meets, etc. Tell how students and staff are involved in the community and give back. Recognize your staff for their efforts.
  10. Have fun! The more fun you have with social media the more likely you will find others getting involved.