I had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Feeny, the Director of Digital Communications, Outreach and Youth Program at the National Capital Commission, at a Third Tuesday event in Ottawa.
Feeny discussed his social media journey with the NCC. From pilot programs to failures to learning experiences, all the lessons one could ask for in an hour-long seminar.
What has the NCC done so far?
- Established a good team: the important thing about a social media team is to have upper management involved.
Ex. The CEO of the NCC is very involved. She is even in many of their YouTube videos.
- Have a plan: create a social media strategic plan. Include goals and objectives. What do you want to get out of social media? To be truly successful integrate your social media goals to your organization’s goals and values.
Ex. The NCC wants Canadians to be proud to be Canadian. Therefore, the NCC included real Canadians, such as employees, in their YouTube videos.
- Do your research: find out what your audience wants/likes. Use your findings to build on your social media plan.
Ex. The NCC used workshops, focus groups and online monitoring -such as blogs- to collect data about what their audience wanted from an NCC social media presence.
- Integrate everything: connect your website to your social media accounts and link all online content. Don’t just upload a video to your website, embedded a YouTube video from your YouTube account; or include a Twitter feed on your homepage; etc.
Ex. The NCC has started to use social media releases instead of the classic news release. Everything available and integrated in one place.
- Think outside the box with videos: they don’t always have to be professionally produced. Sometimes the readiness of a video is better than the high definition quality.
Ex. Instead of uploading a PDF file to their website, the NCC produced a two-minute video to explain a very large document. Research has shown videos under two minutes receive more views.
- Use YouTube and Flickr as a tool for the media: instead of preparing press kits, give the media links to your YouTube and Flickr account. It is more convenient and cost effective for both your organization and the journalists.
Ex. The NCC provides journalists with a card that includes information on their YouTube and Flickr account.
What if you are not ready for all this social media stuff?
For some organizations, it is not affordable or feasible to create a social media strategic plan. Some organizations just don’t have the time or resources.
If you are not ready to interact on social media, then allow your public to do the work for you. Allow them to share content from your website.
Have you ever seen these before?
The share button allows users to share information with their friends and followers. They create an online conversation without interaction/push from your organization. The risk, however, is your organization has little control over the situation.
What about failure?
Social media can be risky for any organization. A lot of the success of social media comes from a conversation with your public, which can sometimes bring up unpleasant/avoided topics.
Failure is just another word for learning.
The NCC had tried to put together a Flash Mob. Upper management wanted them to create a viral video.
The Flash Mob failed and the video got very little hits. However, the NCC learned a valuable lesson: you cannot MAKE a viral video. A video CAN BECOME viral.
If you enjoyed this topic I suggest you follow @feeny_d on Twitter.