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Social Media Strategy for Special Events


Working with the organizations that I do – Private Clubs, Athletics, Greek & Graduate Programs – I know that you all host major events throughout the year. They may be member traditions, golf tournaments, the Big Game against an arch rival or potential record-breaking game for an athlete, charity events, awards programs and alumni reunions. These are all special events which deserve extra attention in your communication strategy. It helps to plan out your social posts in advance so that you can repurpose the photos and stories into blog posts, newsletters and other communication which makes the event more interactive and increases longevity and engagement.

Today I share with you five steps to develop your social media strategy for special events. So get your calendar out, choose an upcoming event, get a pen and paper and take notes! Make sure you watch through to the end where I provide my weekly subscribers a free offer!

A brief overview of the five steps covered in the strategy lesson this week (I really want you to watch the video and take a few notes!):

1. Create Your Timeline

Create a timeline for the event. Take into account start time, meals, half time for sports, speeches and presentations, etc. You’ll use this timeline in Step 4.

2. Identify VIPs

Take a look at your RSVP list and identify your VIPs and people you want to feature in your stories. Identify their usernames on Twitter, Instagram, etc., so you can include them in posts later.

3. Understand The WHY

What is the significance of the event? What’s the story? Having a clear understanding will help you draft posts and better tell your story.

4. Build Your Strategy

Create a photo shot list so that you can plan to capture significant moments (think about those VIPs and things like presentations, awards). Draft your posts in advance. This will save you time in the moment. Build into the timeline you created in Step 1 the times you will post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

5. Delegate

This is a team effort. Figure out who’s taking pictures and video, who’s posting during the event, etc. One person cannot do everything during events of this scale.

Following these five steps will help you during the event to capture magic moments, feature your VIPs, and tell an amazing story.

Do you have a tip others can learn from? Share it in the comments and let us know what’s helped you build your social media strategy for special events.

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

smiling horse

Some of you have asked me, “Where do you find your content?” In this week’s video, I spill the beans and share my secret. I’ll give you a hint. “Straight from the horse’s mouth.”

I also ask for your feedback, as we are passing the three month mark on my sharing the weekly video and news with you.I truly want to hear from you. What video was your favorite so far? Why? What type of content would you like me to share in the future?

I want to make sure you look forward to receiving my updates each week and that the information I share is truly helpful to you. I aim to provide the most current news from the online and social media world, and tips to build effective communication strategies.

Please know that I have received one request to do a tutorial, where I walk you through a task on the computer. I’m planning and preparing for that. Stay tuned!

These first few months have been quite an interesting ride. What for some people is their worst nightmare, public speaking, I thrive on stage in front of a live audience. I love it. Recording these videos has been a true learning experience. I thank you for watching each week and the numerous e-mail responses I’ve received. You are always welcome to contact me on e-mail, or you can leave a comment at the end of the blog post. Thank so much! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions.


BONUS: I’ve looked over my past videos, and while the production quality of this video is lacking (it was raining in SD and dark outside, so very little natural lighting), the message hits home. I also did it in one take, which is quite an achievement! For the focus of the message, this is probably my favorite video to date:

Six Steps to Social Spring Cleaning



Since we celebrated the start of spring this week – so sorry to those of you who are not yet enjoying spring-like weather! – I thought I would update this post which first appeared last year around this time. The significance of this topic actually warrants an annual post.

One of the little pieces of advice I frequently give for managing social media is to make time once per month to review your social media accounts. As these platforms often change, your settings may change, along with the functions and features of the site. If you don’t make the time once per month, then I hope you will at least take a moment to “spring clean” your social media accounts, pruning and watering your network at least once this year.

6 Steps to Social Spring Cleaning

Think of these first two steps as housework. We’re inside and we have two key tasks we need to take care of before we can have a little fun tending to the spring garden:

1. Protect

Just as you would put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands before you use bleach, your accounts require protection, too.  Let’s start with your login information. When was the last time you updated your passwords? Several social sites have had security breaches in this past year, as well as major retailers. Take a moment to change your passwords and better protect your accounts. Do not use words like “password” or “admin,” your name or your birthday in your password. Combinations of numbers and letters, upper and lower case are advised. While it is not suggested by most digital gurus, I do actually keep a written list of my passwords, as I have different passwords for each account (and my password memory isn’t that stellar). Do not use the same password for all of your accounts. You definitely do not want to use the same password for your bank account as you do on Facebook. Mercy!

2. Refresh

Next, make sure you review the security and privacy settings. Social media sites are continually evolving and often release new features. When they do, it’s possible that some settings revert to default. This is more often the case with Facebook. Go through your account and privacy settings and make sure that you understand how the site functions. LinkedIn’s settings are also multi-layered. Are you visible to only the people you want to be visible to? Refresh your profile data and make sure it reflects you accurately. Coordinate your bio/about me/profile sections across all your sites so that you are branded across each channel where you are active.

Now it’s time to do a little gardening and improve the health of your networks:

3. Weed

If you don’t actually know the folks you are friends with on Facebook, not sure why you follow some of those folks on Twitter, or cannot find value in your LinkedIn connections, this is a time to unfriend, unfollow and disconnect. Be certain about who you are interacting with on any of the social sites. It is significant to recognize that you and your personal brand are associated with the people in your digital networks. You would not allow unsightly plants grow wild in your manicured garden. Don’t allow inappropriate contacts to influence your network and image. Remove the weeds.

4. Organize

Both Facebook and Twitter offer a list function which is amazingly helpful in organizing your contacts. I have created lists on Facebook around how I know people. On Twitter, I organize my Tweeps by category/profession or topics they tweet about. A fabulous tip for the Twitter lists – you don’t have to follow people to put them on a list. Twitter lists are still one of the most under-used and under-valued functions on Twitter. My lists really help me find valuable content and stay up-to-date with my favorite accounts. This is an older blog post, but still relatively accurate in understanding how to create your lists on FB and Twitter: Make That List!

5. Plant

Since you’ve already gone through your contacts and removed the weeds, you should have some empty pots to fill. Find a few key contacts that you are not yet connected to and plant those seeds! Send them a nice note on LinkedIn as to why you want to connect. Use Twitter’s suggestions of who to follow. See who’s signed up for Instagram or Snapchat and make a connection. You can even follow some big brands to learn how they are using these platforms, planting some ideas into your head as to how you will leverage these networks.

6. Grow

Take some time on LinkedIn to endorse your connections for their skills. It’s a nice way to let them know you’ve remembered them and might spark a beneficial reconnection. They will likely return the endorsements and help you build your profile. Tweet to someone you haven’t conversed with in awhile or send a private message to an old friend on Facebook. Social media is designed to help you stay connected to family, friends and professional contacts. Take advantage of these features to allow your garden of networks to bloom.

BONUS: Lastly, take out your calendar and schedule 30 minutes each month to go through your social media settings. (So that you don’t begin to rely on my annual reminder in spring!) A monthly check-in will allow you to stay on top of new features, keep those weeds at bay and enjoy social networks which are active, vibrant and productive.

Happy Social Spring Cleaning!

Happy Birthday Internet! You Rock!

Birthday cupcakes

Can you believe it? The internet turned 25 this week! That’s right! TWENTY FIVE! To celebrate this milestone, I share with you my story of the first time I went online.


I actually remember the first time I went online, that I entered the world wide web. It was in 1995 or 1996 when I worked at the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. Go Gauchos! The Association had just been hooked up to the world wide web. And so at my computer, my co-workers and I huddled around my computer and using Netscape Navigator (remember that?) we went online.

We looked up very generic topics and were completely fascinated by what we saw. We were not exactly sure how everything worked, but all we could think was, “This is so cool.” We definitely appreciated that the internet was an amazing invention and one that could change the world. And boy has it!

As a communication person, I love the internet and all the fabulous technology that has been built atop its foundation. I am grateful for websites and social media, the ability to shop online, watch movies and TV and all the crazy apps that people dream up. All I see is opportunity. I see opportunity to be and stay connected globally and opportunity to improve communication. I have never understood all the negativity surrounding social media. All I see is the chance to connect and communicate with pretty much anyone, anywhere in the world. That, to me, is amazing.

I have no idea what the next 25 years of the internet has in store, but I am sure looking forward to the ride!

I would love to hear your story! Do you remember the first time you used the World Wide Web? Was it as much of an event as my office story? What are your predictions for the next 25 years? Will we see another Facebook emerge or do you have other ideas as to how the internet will develop? I can’t wait to hear from you!


BONUS: Read Yahoo’s 25 Ways The Web Has Changed The World


The “I don’t have time for social media” Excuse

Social media buttons

How many of you have ever said, “I don’t have time for social media?”

I know I hear it from potential clients, and even from team members of current clients.

So in this week’s video, I explain why social media is not a time hog, nor a waste of time. What is heard when you say that you don’t have time for social media is, ““I don’t have time to directly connect and communicate with my audience.”  I don’t think that’s true, so we should understand that with proper planning, you can make your communication work for you and help you achieve your goals.

If you prefer to read through what I’ve discussed in the video, then you’re in for a treat. Here’s the full post:

For years and years, we have had the same sales, marketing and communication tools to work with. Now with social media, we’ve added these dynamic tools to the toolbox to help us do our jobs better, and we push them aside and label them a waste of time. The thing is, if we keep using the same old tools we’ve been using forever and ever, we will continue to produce the same results.

Your audience is online. And they are using social media. They use social media to gather news and information, to share information and discuss, and to learn more about and connect with people and organizations they care about. They are online waiting to connect with YOU.

Put in simple terms, social media are communication tools. Social media are simply communication tools designed to help you communicate directly with a specific audience. That’s it. Social media is not some big mystery or time hog. Social media is not out to get you or make your job more difficult or add extra work to your already big load of tasks.

So let’s take a step back and understand that when we say “I don’t have time for social media,” we are really saying is,

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with my members.”

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with my potential members.”

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with the parents.”

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with alumni.”

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with donors.”

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with future students and student-athletes.”

“I don’t have time to connect and communicate with corporate sponsors and media.”

“I don’t have time to directly connect and communicate with my audience.”

Is that true? Would you ever say that? Probably not. I sure hope that’s not the case. How can we get over this sense that we don’t have time for social media, then?

We have to change our approach to why we use social media and how we label it. We need to appreciate that this is the preferred form of communication for the majority of our audience and that social media presents a HUGE opportunity for our organizations to connect directly with our members and community. It’s a crazy effective tool that will allow us new, improved results. Here’s what we need to do to change our approach:

1. You must set clear and specific goals which allow your communication to work for you. Maybe you want to encourage current Members to sponsor one new Member this month, perhaps you desire 250 more people at the soccer game. You might set a goal of growing your alumni reunion attendance by 7% this year. Or you may set a goal to recruit 5 new graduate students from San Diego. Your organization has lots of goals. Each department has specific goals. And the individuals in your organizations have goals to fulfill as well. Communication can serve to achieve those goals.

How can communication serve those goals?

2. This is done through a content plan. Setting up a content plan is really not that difficult. It organizes your communication so that everyone on your team understands that on this date, X message will be posted to Y channel. A content plan will help you organize your daily, weekly and monthly communication to your audience. It will also help you keep track of what you’ve said in the past, so that you stay on point and remain consistent. A content plan will save you time. This is key, because without a specific plan of action, you can and will get lost within your social channels because you are not fulfilling a task. You’ll find yourself aimlessly searching through your news feed, because you didn’t have  a clear purpose for logging on to the network in the first place. Coupling a content plan with a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, where you can schedule messages in advance will eliminate distractions and help you stay on track.

What else can a content plan do?

3. A content plan can also help distribute responsibility for posting to social media. For example, a Private Club has several voices the Members should be hearing from. Chef, Food & Beverage, The Golf Pro, Membership, Private Events and Member Relations all make up the collective voice of the Club. However, if all of the Club’s communication is initiated from Member Relations, that is the voice the Members will hear. Your members miss out on the opportunity to learn how to sponsor a new member, what private event packages are on offer or what’s the best advice to improve a golf swing. Everyone needs to and should want to contribute to the content plan so that everyone has an opportunity to achieve their department goals, and directly connect and communicate with their audience.

Therefore, your content plan should include notes to the tune of that on this day, at that time, on X channel, so-and-so will post Y message.

Let’s change what we label social media…

4. Just as you make time in your daily schedule for meetings, sales calls, responding to e-mails and events, so you should make time for social media. But instead of putting “social media” on your calendar which is vauge and without purpose, be specific. “Reply to Twitter messages.” “Post the sponsorship details of the ABC event and include weblink.” “Invite the ‘new biz cards’ pile to connect on LinkedIn.”  This makes for a specific task with a specific purpose, designed to help you achieve specific goals.

Social media provides us a tremendous opportunity to creatively, quickly and directly connect and communicate with our audience.  We really need to make that mental flip and value the opportunity that social media provides us. We need to approach these tools with the attitude, “This is my goal, this is my message, and this is how I’m going to deliver that message to my audience.” Otherwise, we will keep doing the same thing, using the same methods, and achieving the same results. That to me seems like the waste of time.

3 LinkedIn Updates to Encourage You to Update Your Profile


While there has been a lot of fuss about Facebook lately, LinkedIn is quietly updating and upgrading its platform and is becoming incredibly valuable to its Members.

In this week’s video, I share with you three LinkedIn updates that should encourage you to check in with your profile and make some updates.

Click here to watch the video:

These updates are super helpful for those of us who want to keep an updated profile and make sure we are appealing to and connecting with the right people. The updates I discuss are:

1. Who’s Viewed Your Profile

This is the most viewed section of LinkedIn, and now they are giving us more information about who is finding you and more importantly – how people are finding you. Use this data to tweak your profile headline, summary and experience to make sure you are discovered by the people you want to connect with.

The snapshot looks something like this (will vary based on your own profile results):


You can now learn more within categories:

Industries of your viewers

What your viewers do

Where your viewers came from (how they found you, i.e. in a Group or via Search)

Keywords that led to you

Where they work

Where they live

My results definitely encouraged me to adjust my summary section! Please remember that your headline, summary and experience section should be peppered with your keywords, as these sections play in the search function and help you get discovered.

2. LinkedIn Opens Publishing Platform

LinkedIn has now opened their publishing platform to its membership. This provides all of us greater opportunity for exposure and to offer greater value to our network. If our articles consistently receive many views, likes, comments and shares, they we have the chance to become a LinkedIn influencer.

This is being rolled out over the next few months, but if you’d like to send in an application for early release (I did) then you can fill out a short form, provide two examples of the type of content you’d be publishing, and cross your fingers.

Apply early: http://specialedition.linkedin.com/publishing/

3. Encouraging Professionalism in High School Students

In August, LinkedIn dropped it’s minimum age for Members to fourteen. This was done in an effort to encourage students to begin thinking about their future, the moment they enter high school. LinkedIn wants to provide an advantage to ambitious students, recommending they follow university pages to connect with admissions and alumni.

One high school student wrote for the LinkedIn blog,

“I’ve discovered that the sooner you put yourself in the professional community, the better your chances of finding the opportunity you want.” – Rutha Nuguse

Perhaps this attitude will spill over into behavior on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, too. That’s why I love this push from LinkedIn. It reinforces that you are never too young to build your professional profile, polish your personal brand and manage your reputation.

This news has really made me think twice as to how I use LinkedIn and inspires me to be more proactive with my account. I hope it encourages you to do the same!


A Facebook Success Story

This week I enjoyed client visits in Orange County. And on the heels of my visit with Center Club, I wanted to share a Facebook success story with you.

As you may remember from my newsletter a couple of weeks ago, Facebook changed it’s algorithms. That means that the chances of our Page posts landing in the news feed of the people who like your page has changed. And what’s worse is that those chances have decreased. Facebook wants you to share content from big sources like Time Magazine or ESPN. Facebook wants you to share photos. And Facebook wants you to pay to get your content into the newsfeed of the people who like your page.

I worked with the Center Club team to determine how we could work around this. And here’s what we tested:

Increase the number of posts per day

Before the algorithm change, the Club was posting about 2 times per day. We increased that to 5-7 times per day. It is nearly impossible that any one of the people who like the Center Club page will see every post. That would be a nice problem to have!

Focus on the content

What’s the incentive for people to like, comment or share? While it’s nice to post more often throughout the day, it’s absolutely essential to make sure it’s quality content. For Center Club, the goal is to continually share content which helps Members take advantage of and enjoy their membership. Every post is Member-centric. And that also means that every department has a voice, so you see content from Membership, Private Events, Food & Beverage, Member Relations and spontaneous moments that are fun to capture.

Behind the Scenes

Members love interacting with the staff, and so the BTS type posts often perform very well. We geared up to share more BTS-type posts.

Center Club BTS


Simple trivia and photo contests are popular among Members. And it gives incentive to share the post on their own profiles. Our test period fell during Valentine’s week, and so the “Cutest Couple” contest was a big hit and certainly played a role in increased engagement. Center Club will post a simple contest each week.

Our team schedules their posts directly in Facebook (FB likes this more than third party apps like Hootsuite) and after two weeks of consistent posting, the results were in. We were delighted to see green arrows pointing up in all categories on our Facebook Insights

Page Likes increased 5.6%

New Page Likes increased 580%

Total Reach increased 172%

Post Reach increased 335%

Engagement increased 143%

The team is encouraged and excited to keep up their efforts. They now feel a positive challenge to reach out to the Members more frequently through the day and they are continually thinking about what they can share via social media. They are determined to “beat Facebook.”

My challenge to you is to give this a try and see if you enjoy similar results. Give it a week for your efforts to kick in for measurable outcome. Leave a comment to let us know if this worked for you. If you’ve found another way to work around Facebook’s algorithm change, please leave a comment below so that we may all learn. I’m sure there are plenty of you who want to avoid paying for your content to be seen and feel that we should have to pay for our content to be seen by people who have liked our Page. Especially when most of those folks are Members and who have a genuine interest (and need) to stay connected.

I’ll make sure to update this post in another couple of weeks and share if this method of more frequent posts continues to positively effect levels of engagement and reach.

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