Leadership Institute Session Review- Digital Storytelling with Social Media

Last week FLC hosted its 10th annual Leadership Institute, where speakers came to share their knowledge with representatives from various literacy-based organizations from around the state of Florida. On Friday of this two-day event, Annie Schmidt and I presented on using social media to help expand your digital storytelling efforts. For those of you who were there, thanks for attending, and for those that weren’t, here’s a brief review of what was covered.

Social media isn’t like traditional marketing. Instead of the typical one-way marketing scheme where you share content with others in hopes that they will be interested enough to reach out to your organization to join your cause, social media works best when you engage in a conversation with your audience. The hit rate for the traditional type of interaction is far from ideal. Luckily, social media has transformed the way organizations can use marketing and storytelling strategies to better suit their mission.  This transition which social media has made allows for us to engage in real time communications with our community. Knowing this difference is crucial to having success with our social media platforms, whichever they may be.

As stated in mine and Annie’s presentation, social media isn’t about follower count and accumulating “likes” to get a better klout score (yes, in this case with a K, not a C). Social media is about connecting to people. True, social media is used to increase your reach on your target audience, but it all comes down to building and maintaining relationships. Increasing reach is important only to drive traffic to your social media platforms and then subsequently to your website.  Furthermore, what’s most important is that your storytelling is effective so that members of your community become more active with your organization. Whether that means volunteers becoming annual donors or donors becoming advocates, getting followers to take that next step is key.

Once you realize the fundamental goals of social media, it’s time to choose a platform, or platforms, which will best serve you and your community. Questions to consider are:

  • Who am I targeting, and what is my audience’s demographic(s)?
  • What content do I want to share with my community?
  • Has my organization already established a presence on social media, and if so on which sites?
  • What’s the best medium to help effectively tell my organization’s story?

There are many different social platforms to choose from. The most common are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and WordPress; each of these has its pros and cons. The trick is finding out which site is right for you. For help in making this decision, please look at Digital Storytelling with Social Media where you can see the Prezi which we used at the Leadership Institute.

Suzanne Ensmann: FATDEC and Face to Face Learning

In the beginning… After we all got over the fear of what students might do with the internet if we allowed them to access it, face-to-face (f2f) learning incorporated technology and elements of online learning.

Then we said “run with it” and some literally did… Never to be seen again.

Now in the era of persistence to complete and transition students, it’s time to go back to the basics. Research reflects that time-after-time success is directly correlated with the relationships we make.  So we call the students right?  And, we call.  And, we call.

Fast forward to this era.

How many friends do you have at work?
How many friends do you have on Facebook?

How often do you have time for meaningful conversations in the workplace?
Do you even have time to wait for an answer to the standard: “How are you?” greeting?
Think your colleagues really take the time to answer this “greeting” or do you get a “Fine, thanks.  How about you?” standard reply?

Do they take the time to tell you their dog died; they just found a deal on a car; their long lost aunt just flew into town; or they are just really sad today?

I can tell you our students are having these meaningful conversations.  They’re not long.  They’re succinct and to the point.  But, they’re of meaning.  And, their network of friends is vast!  Employment, community, friendships… relationships are happening via social media sites!  Why should your virtual classroom be any different?

Did you know Skype and Facebook had a baby?  A new f2f experience to enhance relationships was born!  Is this too scary of an endeavor to take on at your school?

Learn how to keep it simple and see how you can use FB to put education “in the face” of your students 24/7, form relationships with them, and just maybe flip education as we know it.

Stop centering student learning on classroom  and curriculum  infrastructure.  Offer the exoskeleton to your students and see how they take off with meaningful learning!  

But, don’t go it alone!  Let’s place this experiential learning, jumping on board with relationships and f2f student contact in the center of our e-learning education together!

To learn more, come join in this synergy of collaboration at the next FLC conference session entitled “Florida Adult & Technical Distance Education Consortium: Making F2F Classes for Online Students a Reality” at 10am on Friday, May 11th,!

Dear Facebook Friends, Please LIKE Us! Love, FLC

That’s right, FLC is currently transitioning from a Facebook profile page to a fan page.

You might be asking yourself, why would FLC make that change?

The main reason for the switch is to streamline reporting on FLC’s Facebook communications.  Using Facebook Insights (free reporting tool with Facebook Fan Pages) will help FLC to better understand it’s Facebook audience and better analyze the messages posted.

FLC is continuously striving to improve the ways we can distribute resources to literacy organizations and advocates.  We want to know what you like, don’t like, what you need, don’t need, etc… Using the reporting tools allows FLC to hone in on these aspects and cater to audience activity.

FLC’s Blog (that you’re currently reading) has it’s own reporting tool (thank you, WordPress.com – FREE) and relays important stats about visitors, posts and activity.

We also do our best to track our twitter activity (our handle is @FloridaLiteracy – follow us!) with free tools like TweetStats and TweetBeep.  These reports help us to track our tweeting frequency, rate of follower increase and FLC mentions.

Reporting on FLC’s website is made easy with Google Analytics (free tool) – we are able to track our visitor’s activities, popular pages and most importantly, how website visitors find FLC – through search engines, social media outlets, other literacy sites, etc…

All of these reports help organizations, like FLC, to better analyze and adjust messages to satisfy our audiences.  They also help determine ROI by answering these questions: Are the social media sites worth it?  Are they driving traffic to our “literacy info mecca” (aka: www.FloridaLiteracy.org)?  Are they effective in relaying literacy information, resources and news?  Are our audiences receptive and interactive?  These questions are important to answer when evaluating these types of communication methods.

Does your organization employ any of these tools or others?  If so, tell us what you’ve found!