Archive for February, 2011

Social Media: Am I Doing This Right?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Chances are, most of you already have some sort of social media presence for your organization. It is important to consider, however, that there is a big difference between personal and professional use of social media. A great first step at bringing your business up to speed is to perform a social media audit.

Social media audits allow companies to take a good look at their efforts and gauge what their online presence is actually accomplishing. It is all well and good to maintain social media profiles, but you have to know what you are getting back from the endeavor. You should strive to make sure your organization is keeping a consistent brand and message throughout your social media sites. Bloggers Boame and Bolsinger offer several good guidelines for social media audits. Some of the most compelling are to:

  • create custom graphics and landing pages
  • monitor site analytics
  • engage with the social community and consider comments
  • scrap tools that do not benefit your goals
  • integrate your social media sites with one another

In addition to these tips, I would suggest some good old-fashioned audience evaluation. Bolsinger suggests that you claim your brand name on every social media site, going so far as to set up a system that will set up accounts as new tools are released. I believe it is important to focus on sites your target audience is likely to visit. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are probably the most heavily frequented by all demographics, and it would be wise to set up profiles on these sites. However, arts and humanities groups and individual artists might find sites like Flickr and deviantArt appeal more to their audiences. When conducting an audit, pick and choose the venue which reflects your audiences’ interests.

The Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County will be hosting a Social Media Boot Camp featuring Carrie Fox of C.Fox Communications on Feb. 25 and March 18.

You can listen to our podcast with Shellie Williams to learn more about AHCMC’s Boot Camp and professional advancement opportunities.

Education is half the battle, so get out there and learn some new social media skills!

Arts & Humanities Advocate Spotlight: Sharon Ann Holt

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

We’ve made today the day for the cultural community in Montgomery County to voice their support for the arts and humanities to the County Executive and County Council! Here’s what Sharon Ann Holt, Executive Director of Sandy Spring Museum sent:

You have shown in past years the wisdom to keep investing in the arts and humanities, and we thank you for that visionary leadership. As you know, those investments have a profound positive REVENUE impact beyond their cultural and social positives.

In 2009, arts and humanities organizations provided 2852 jobs and engaged 6435 volunteers or a total workforce of 9217. Moreover, every $1 invested by Montgomery County in the arts and humanities was matched by $14.26 in city/state/federal and private dollars.

As we face the future as an increasingly diverse community, the arts and cultural organizations will be ones holding it all together and teaching people how to cherish and respect their neighbors. To be able to do that while supporting jobs and multiplying the impact of the county’s support FOURTEEN TIMES means the arts and humanities are a superb investment in even the hardest economic times.

Sharon, thank you for stepping up and taking action!

As we’ve said before, YOU are the best advocate for the arts and humanities. If you’ve sent an e-mail to the Montgomery County Executive and County Council through their online form (I hope you have), feel free to send us a copy. You may see it here on our blog!

Need a place to start? Visit our Take Action page for sample text for your e-mail to Montgomery County.

Let’s take this online.

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Guest Blog Post by Carrie Fox, President of C.Fox Communications

How many times have you been sitting in a business meeting and heard the words “let’s take this offline.”  As in “let’s not spend time discussing it now, but let’s hold it for a later discussion.”

Well, one discussion that a lot of business owners feel can’t wait until later is the need to ramp up their social marketing efforts.  So many businesses and organizations have taken the first step in getting their brands online, but once there, simply don’t know what to do to make the darn thing work.

Being online is the first and most important task, especially considering that 84 percent of the Internet population of the U.S. is on at least one social networking site. This surge in social media has completely altered the way we communicate by putting us in contact with over 245,000,000 people, in real time – think of all the potential in that for growing your business or brand. Yes, it can be somewhat daunting but, regardless of your organization’s size, you can and will have a successful social media presence, if you just follow a few straightforward steps. That’s what is so exciting about it! It may take some time to build up your following, but once you do, you’ll realize that you can engage your online community in ways you certainly can’t do offline.

The big concern I hear from a lot of small businesses and nonprofits is focused on one word: How.  How do I find the time? How do I know which platforms to focus on? How do I build my fans and my followers?  How. How. How.  Well, no reason you should go it alone.  Thankfully the good people at the Arts and Humanities Council want to help get you there. So, on Friday, February 25, I’ll be stopping by for a jam-packed 90 minute session to help kick up your social media efforts! The PR+ MKTG Bootcamp: Part 1 – Kicking Up Your Social Media will share some of the tools and trends of social media that can help you build a successful social media presence in 2011, and leave you with real, tangible tools to implement, along with a great handbook that can help your entire team be part of the vision for your social media strategy.

As the owner of a PR agency here in Montgomery County, and someone who has implemented social media campaigns for companies large and small, I’ll provide you with some crucial tools to help simplify the world of social media.

  • Do you feel like Twitter has created its own language – and you can’t speak it? I’ll teach you how to translate it – you’ll be fluent in no time.
  • Are you just not getting the number of fans you’d like on your Facebook page? I’ll provide you with some tips and tricks you can incorporate into traditional communications to boost your Facebook following.
  • Don’t know the difference between a Fan Page and a Personal Page? I’ll show you.

To spark interaction, check out a few of my favorite tools here, and then come to the event so we can help you kick it up a notch!

In addition to Kicking Up Your Social Media on February 25, I’m also partnering with the Arts and Humanities Council to host a Blogger’s Brunch on March 18 where you can hear from bloggers who cover the arts for outlets such as USA Today, Washington Post, TBD.com, and A Parent in Silver Spring….learn more about that session here.

A quick reminder that if you sign up by February 18, 2011 you’ll get the Early Bird discount! Register now by visiting creativemoco.com/bootcamp. Once you’re registered, feel free to tweet me @carriefox (adding the #creativemoco hashtag!) with any specific questions in advance of the session, and I’ll be sure to address them.

Many thanks to Carrie Fox for this guest blog post! Find more thoughts and tips from Carrie and the C.Fox team on their blog, ShopTalk.