Next-level video analytics

During the summer months filled with strategic planning, professional development and hopefully a little vacation time, it’s a great opportunity to step back and review your year.

Facebook offers tremendous depth on video analytics. Traditionally, we have always looked at reach (total number of unique people who have seen your post) and engagement (number of times someone reacted, commented or shared your post). On video posts, there is so much more available to you that might be worth looking at.

For example, look at one of our recent videos. This video was a little long at 3:32. One stat available to you is audience retention. This shows how long. your audience watched the video.

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It gets better. If you click the circle at the bottom, the graph changed to show you average watch time of people who clicked to play vs. letting it auto-play.

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Another metric worth looking at is the 10-second views. Facebook counts a video view when the viewer has seen a video for at least three seconds. Historically that’s all we’ve cared about. But 10-second viewer numbers are probably more accurate into figuring out how many people truly viewed your video.

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You also see the sound-on vs. sound-off numbers. You might have heard recently that around 80 percent of all Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off, which is another reason why it’s necessary to include captions in your videos. However, in our example video, 47 percent of viewers turned the sound on.

These are just a few of the next-level video metrics Facebook provides for you. I’d recommend looking at these numbers as a way to measure how you’re doing. Shameless plug: we’ll talk more about video analytics at my DIY Video 2.0 session at the NSPRA seminar in San Antonio next month.

Hope to see you there.

Look to Our Students for Inspiration

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In school PR, it’s our job to view our organization through different lenses. At times, we literally spend our day looking at the world through lenses. Whether we are sharing stories, advising our superintendents and principals from different perspectives, or advocating on behalf of our students and staff, we are adept in finding the proper angle and shedding light on the subject at hand.

I believe it’s also important for us to step out from the background and bask in the great work being done by and for our students. My charge to you today is to make the purpose of your next classroom visit to appreciate and become energized by the students we serve. No photos, no interviews, just take it in. If you’re inspired to tweet out a thank-you to those teachers and students, by all means share the love. Better yet: write a thank-you note.

Today is the last day of the school year in our district. It’s a day of transition and mixed emotions. I readily admit that during my eight-year career teaching sixth grade, on the last day of school, I went from hugs and high-fives with my students and colleagues to slobbery tears alone in my empty classroom. (Side note: I’ve learned you get less of all those things in the district office.)

The pace of play and the nature of our work in school PR provides similar guideposts and transitions. With summer, we shift toward strategic planning, professional learning at the NSPRA seminar, and thoughtful reflection on our plans, successes and challenges of the past year.

As Covey so succinctly stated, it’s our time to sharpen the saw. In my mind this translates as a time to charge up the batteries for the summer work ahead. Today is the last day I’ll have access to schools and rooms brimming with energy, teaching and learning for the next two months. There are a lot of things I have to do today. I think I’ll start by visiting some students for inspiration. And maybe a hug, a high-five and a tear or two.

 

 

 

Searching for Cassandra

As the school year comes to a close for many of us, it’s often a time to reflect on the things that have happened. I can’t help but think back to my school days.

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Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan,  1898. where my curiosity was sparked by Greek mythology.

According to myth, Cassandra was given the gift of foretelling the future, but in a twist of fate, she was cursed with no one believing her.

While you may not have Cassandra’s gift, you likely have tools at your disposal that can help you foretell possible social media crisis.

Many of us are already using social media monitoring services, but sometimes there are items the monitoring just doesn’t catch. When’s the last time you just typed your organization’s name (or another key term) in the Facebook or Twitter search tool to see what pops up?

I do this from time to time, and on Facebook, I narrow my search to the city in which I live to see what our community is really saying.

A disengaged parent, student or employee may be negatively posting about your organization without you realizing it. The more sensational, the faster it seems to travel when you consider the reach of said post.

Never heard of this? It’s because you weren’t supposed to. If this is being done on Twitter, it’s called a subtweet.

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Either way, it can be damaging to your organization’s brand.

This simple search can help you see a crisis on the horizon, giving you time to alert leadership that trouble may be around the corner.

Cassandra’s curse doesn’t have to be yours. Knowing what’s around the corner can give you the proof you need to protect your credibility as a practitioner and the time to prepare social media crisis response.

When teachers know best

Not long after we empowered our district’s teachers to use social media in their classrooms, I saw a post from Mr. Stadalman’s Fifth Grade Facebook page. It was an afternoon post I’d seen for a few days prior, and it looked something like this:

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A mom of elementary age kids, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to know what happens at school each day. A quick summary from a student on a teacher Facebook page seemed a perfect way to keep parents engaged in classroom life. After seeing these updates, I reached out to Kyle to give him a virtual high five.

But it was his quick response that showed me the real power that social media offers a school system.

“Summarizing is typically very hard for fourth graders,” Kyle wrote. “So, to get the class to come up with the proper sentences has been challenging, but fun. We are getting a little desperate for new topic sentences, and it’s only September!”

I quickly learned that throughout the year, Kyle projects his laptop display on the classroom Promethean Board and invites one student up to the front to compose the summary on the class Facebook page. Students brainstorm as a class, while the post author records the ideas, adds any finishing touches and finally clicks “post” — an exciting privilege not lost on most tweens.

Leave it to an outstanding teacher to take such a simple, familiar tool as Facebook and use it not only to engage parents — but also as an instructional tool to help students practice essential skills in the curriculum.

When is the last time the teachers in your district were encouraged to experiment with social media in their classroom? It’s well worth the planning and training it takes to see teachers create great opportunities for students!

Having Fun with GIFs

GIFs have become common practice on personal and business social media pages. Is your district using them? They are a great way to engage your audience and have a little fun.

Social Media Examiner recently posted about how to make animated gifs. It is a fantastic resource for anyone new to GIF making.

With summer just around the corner for many school districts, here are some GIFs for my school PR friends.

When I think about how many days are left in the school year:clap

When I realize there are only 58 days till #NSPRASeminar2017:
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When I think about all the summer projects I need to complete:giphy (2)

When I think about back-to-school planning:
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When I think about that vacation I have been planning all year long:
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Same As It Ever Was

Even as technology marches on (along with its cousin, time), much of a school PR pro’s day is still spent doing hands-on work projects . . . planning, writing, organizing, meeting, editing and creating.

Not quite a year ago, the fine folks over at capterra put together a great list of tools for content marketers to have in their box. And yes, if you are writing for a newsletter or blog or website for your district, you are a content marketer. Any tools or techniques that can simplify necessary work are always welcome, and here are a few. Take time to look at the full article and you’re sure to find some gems.

If your workflow needs some help, Google Calendar is ideal for managing an editorial calendar for your social media posting routines, especially if you want to share a calendar with a team. Trello is like a digital bulletin board, letting you arrange and rearrange virtual index cards for component pieces of a project. By moving them along in the production process, you can practice what’s known as visual manufacturing and have a quick glance of where you stand.

A shared document is key to collaborative work, and Google Drive (formerly Google Docs and Google Apps) does sharing better than anyone. If you’re constantly shipping drafts back and forth between writer and editor, Google Drive is the way to go. The capability to show edits by author, revert back to historical versions, and restrict writing rights only scratch the surface of what this program can do. And it’s a much safer place to create documents. As my fellow authors of this blog might attest, WordPress is a wee bit flaky sometimes and you can easily lose your work.

The blog article also touches on SEO, promotion, and image creation as it suggests other free tools that are available to the content marketer. Check them out, because after all, you are a content marketer too.

One-Day Social Media Campaign Success

When I started my job as the first public relations supervisor for my school district, the first thing I did was turn to the experts for advice! One piece of advice came from Barry Gaston award winner Nez Calhoun, who has practiced school PR in Alabama for more than 40 years. “The Duchess,” as we lovingly refer to her, told me to get a membership to the National School Public Relations Association NSPRA and to start attending the national seminars each summer.

That is the best job-related advice I have ever received! Through the years, I have learned so much from my NSPRA colleagues — and last year was no exception. Social media was the focus of several sessions, and I made an attempt to attend as many as possible.

One of those sessions was The One-Day Campaign: Building Successful Twitter Engagement, presented by Jennifer Delgado, media manager of High School District 214.  I came away from that session with a new appreciation of how important social media can be for building engagement in our local communities and so many great ideas that my head was literally spinning!

I implemented this great new strategy just a few short weeks later, with a first-day-of-school campaign called #shelbyfirstday. I enlisted the help of our school administrators and promoted it with graphics posted on all of our social media channels. It was a HUGE success, with engagement from both internal and external publics! There were adorable photos from parents of their children all dressed up for the first day, along with photos throughout the day of the excitement being experienced by students and staff alike.

Earlier this month, I did a second campaign entitled #shelbyoneday, which chronicled what a typical day in our school district looks like. Again, I enlisted the help of our administrators and teachers and provided them with a timeline of suggested posts throughout the day. The idea was to show that a typical school day doesn’t start at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. when the dismissal bell rings. A typical day starts bright and early with our buses rolling out to pick up students and then continues with after-school care, athletic events, and special events.

The entire day was filled with such awesome posts that not only highlighted the work of our teachers but our wonderful support staff as well. Pictures showed students doing everything from participating in very engaging lessons to lowering the flag at the end of the school day. One school even went back the next day and posted an entire slideshow of their day!

So, Jennifer Delgado, if you are reading this post, let me say a big “THANK YOU” for presenting such an awesome session at last year’s seminar! My superintendent and board members were thrilled with the results, so thanks for letting us all borrow your awesome idea!