Category Archives: Facebook

‘Facebook Reactions’ are live

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After much speculation and anticipation, Facebook has rolled out its redesigned “like” button. Users can now express a number of emotions, including anger, sadness and love. Read Facebook’s full announcement here.

So what does it mean for our accounts for brands, schools or departments?

Some of us have seen this coming – literally – for the past few months. Some accounts, including Boston College, were included in global tests to see how people reacted to various emotion options. Feedback (or lack thereof, in our case) was shared with page admins. on our insights tab.

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This new option may take a while for Facebook’s historically change-averse audience to embrace, but we’ve already seen users select the various emotion options on Day 1.

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Night” – a video released this week by the Office of News & Public Affairs’ Sean Casey -has enjoyed an overwhelmingly favorable response with more than 2,300 likes, 1,340 shares and a reach of 435,000 users. It also earned our first “love” emotion two days after being posted. The announcement of BC’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship winner today also earned some emotional reactions – including “love,” “wow” and likes.

We have yet to receive an angry or sad reaction, but be sure those are coming. What can a page admin do to navigate the changing landscape?

Know where to monitor.  You can see a snapshot of each published post’s analytics under Facebook’s “publishing tools” tab. This gives you more detail on post engagement including clicks, reactions, shares and comments, and also allows you to quickly compare posts against one another.

Get comfortable with varied feedback. As page managers we’re about to get much more realistic, multidimensional feedback. That means managing positive vs. negative sentiment and paying particular attention to how you cast information. If users are angry or sad, page admins must come up with strategies to effectively react. We’ll have this as an agenda item at our next Social Media Council meeting, so stay tuned for updates.

Much more on this to come. What do you think of the change? 

Additional reading:

The Washington Post posted a quick, no-nonsense guide today, explaining the emojis.

PR Week: More than Like looked at how brands are reacting to the change.

— By Melissa Beecher, Boston College Social Media Manager

SMC Review 10/8

Nancy and Pete Frates

Nancy and Pete Frates spoke to the Social Media Council about the #IceBucketChallenge, technology and ALS.

It was a BC Social Media Council that none will soon forget. Nancy ’80, Andrew and Pete Frates ’07, spoke to our group about Team Frate Train, the #IceBucketChallenge  and living with ALS.

What was responsible for this summer’s viral sensation? Nancy explained that three key factors played a role:

1. Pete is a master communicator and relationship builder, a skill that has been honed throughout his life. Pete’s network is large, varied and geographically diverse. From elementary school to college friends, teammates and professional associates, he’s always made a point to remain connected to people through visits and phone calls. As his disease has progressed, Pete relies more now on email and social media – Facebook Messenger in particular. Nancy recalled her family’s eye-rolling episodes when Pete called someone “my buddy” or “my buddy’s buddy”. “We would always say, ‘he’s such a name-dropper,’ but after his diagnosis, all those buddies came running.”

The history of the challenge in Time, explains how Pete’s network gave the ALS awareness movement momentum. Nancy said the resulting response from Pete’s video came as a shock to almost everyone. 

“I knew it was coming,” said Pete. “I was ready for the boom.”

2. A clear call to action and a 24-hour deadline. 

The night of his diagnosis, Nancy remembered, Pete refused to be overwhelmed by negativity.

“We all sat around the table and Pete said that this is an opportunity – that is the word he used – he said that this was opportunity for us to change the world. We’re not looking back we’re looking forward.”

The Frates became focused on raising awareness and helping fund research for a cure. ALS is a disease that progresses rapidly, so there is urgency to their work. The immediacy of the challenge – participants had only 24 hours to pour a bucket of ice over their head or make a $100 donation (many did both) – presented pressure to act immediately.

“My favorite video is Bill Gates,” said Nancy. “He put real effort into it. It’s also because six hours after his diagnosis, Pete said ‘I’m going to get the ALS message in front of Bill Gates.’ He did it. It’s profound.”

The Frates talked with engineers at Facebook about the magnitude of the response. The numbers are staggering – to date, 2.5 million videos uploaded, number of views in the billions. On Twitter, a successful campaign for breast cancer awareness had 142,000 posts to a hashtag in the month of June. The Ice Bucket Challenge had 142,000 tweets in one hour on a Monday afternoon in August.

The fundraising component has also been unprecedented – by some accounts the total may hit $500 million for ALS support and research worldwide by the end of the year, Nancy said.

3. Fun.

From celebrities to everyday people, the spirit of the challenge resonated around the world.

“The consistent thing in all the videos is laughter,” said Nancy. “People were having fun, laughing. And people laughed watching the videos.

“ALS is a terrible disease, it takes away so much. This gives something to families dealing with ALS: hope. You couldn’t log into social media for weeks without hearing about ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge. That is incredible for an underfunded disease that most people had ever heard about.

“It’s been a game changer.”

For more information on Pete, visit his website.

Click on This: #BCSummer

BC Summer in the sand

A few weeks of #BCSummer remain (27 days until students return!) and your school or department’s social editorial calendar is looking…bare. What do you do?

Inspiration is here in the form of University accounts that have been going strong with fresh content throughout the summer:

BC Bookmarks is a blog and Twitter account continually producing interesting, new material promoting all things literary at BC. The posts on faculty, staff, student and alumni publications fuel the Boston College Books Pinterest page. Offered by the Office of News & Public Affairs, the blog is great resource for publications, events and awards.

Although on hiatus until September, the John J. Burns Library Blog continues to be a phenomenal resource for historical information. A great, evergreen post from this week, “Where is Chestnut Hill, Anyway?” was done by Anna Whitham, Conservation Assistant at the library.

BC Social Work in Italy is a pictorial story on the BC Graduate School of Social Work‘s social media accounts. Students of Prof. Westy Egmont traveled to Italy this summer to study the response to increasing immigration from Syria and North Africa. An interesting topic and interesting student photos gives perspective into this unique program.

#EagletoWatchBoston College Alumni produced this new series of posts every Wednesday. Featuring young alumni “doing great things,” this is an example of scheduling themed content. (What is themed content? Think #TBT.)

Everyone is hungry for great photos. Two options to keep on your radar: Boston College Flickr – which is quickly approaching 1 million views — has select photos that were published in the Boston College Chronicle from 2010 to present day; and the recently launched OMC Stock Photo – a catalogue of select photos from the Office of Marketing Communication staff photographers.

Finally, BC Athletics has been building excitement around football season with a #KickoffCountdown, illustrated with a series of player graphics. This, along with the College Colors competition should get Superfans pumped for the upcoming sports year.

What is your favorite resource for summer content?

Later this month we will be featuring new social accounts at Boston College. If you know of a new social account to be added to the University social directory, email social@bc.edu.

Click on This: Changes to Facebook & Twitter

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Big changes have come to Twitter and Facebook. Both platforms have (or soon will) launch redesigns for profiles and pages that will force users to revisit how they represent themselves to fans and followers.

Don’t panic.

First, a bit of background. To read all about the specific changes to Twitter, click here. Facebook’s changes are outlined here. Next, make sure your profile photos follow the new size requirements. According to Twitter, that means profile pics should measure 400 x 400 pixels; Cover photos are 1500 x 500 pixels. On Facebook, profile pictures should measure 180 x 180 pixels, cover photos 851 x 315 pixels.

Both platforms seem to be morphing to a similar profile appearance and placing even greater value on compelling content: photos, videos and engaging posts. Simply stated, those who produce interesting, share-able content will get preference. Some ways to do this? Mashable’s Lauren Drell explains:

“Facebook research has shown that posts between 100 and 250 characters — one or two lines of text — get 60% more Likes, comments and shares than ones that are more than 250 characters. Buddy Media research found a similar trend, determining that posts with 80 characters or less in length have 27% higher engagement rates. The moral? Like content on Twitter, keep it short and sweet. Of course, your post should be different than your content on Twitter, or else your fans don’t have a reason to follow you on both platforms.”

Be mindful of two additional changes: users now have the ability to “mute” noisy feed cloggers on Twitter and Facebook has slashed organic post reach over the past few months. (For more on that, here’s a response from Facebook’s Brian Boland.)

Panicked yet?

The challenge is to continue to think visually and be social. You simply can not succeed on these platforms with occasional status update and link pushing. These changes give us all an opportunity to freshen up, rethink how to promote important content and evaluate if all the channels are needed in our strategic communication plans.

Throughout the summer we’ll be sharing some tips and resources here. Also, remember that one of our greatest assets is the established network of social media administrators at BC. Tagging, liking and sharing one another’s content has become more than simply boosting engagement or encouraging colleagues, it is now a vital strategic action.

What have you done in response to the changes on Twitter and Facebook?

Social Spotlight: BC Rec’s Spring Break Contest

The time immediately before and during spring break can be a tough time to populate social media channels with original content. Megan Burkes is behind Boston College Campus Recreation‘s campaign to engage students while they are away from campus and agreed to share a guest post on #BCSpringBreak:

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 12.25.59 PMWe have a lot of fun with our Spring Break Photo Contest each year: It gives us a peek at some of our students’ fun adventures while providing fresh content, new followers and increased interactions during a time when our social media pages tend to be pretty quiet thanks to midterms.

Each year, we order a few hundred bright, fun t-shirts with our logo on the front and links to our social media channels on the back and pick a day to hand them out to students at the Plex. Along with the free shirts, students are given a handout with the simple contest rules and are encouraged to bring their shirt along on Spring Break and submit a picture wearing it for a chance to win an Under Armour backpack full of BC Rec and Under Armour gear. We decided to choose two winners: One would be chosen via a random drawing and the other would be the picture with the most interactions (likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

We see it as a win-win, because even if the majority of the students do not post photos, they are still wearing our shirts and advertising both BC Rec and our social media channels. We love spotting them in the gym, on campus and around the community. The photos that we do get are usually a lot of fun: we’ve had pics posted from service trips, scuba diving, roller coasters, ski trips, reenacting famous photos, posing with celebrities, dressing up dogs, posing with monkeys and more.

This year, our photo contest generated 2,313 interactions over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The winning photo had 476 interactions alone! We saw a steady stream of new followers on all of our channels and both our total reach and number of interactions jumped exponentially. To be honest, we underestimated the calculation we would have to do to find our winner, but we had a lot of fun and enjoyed the creativity many of the photos displayed.

We have also enjoyed seeing the shift in preferred social media channels; when we started this two years ago, it was entirely on Facebook. Last year, many submissions came through Twitter and this year, the original submissions were almost all posted via Instagram.

— Megan Burkes, Manager of Marketing and Communications at BC Rec

12/4 SMC Review: Closer Look at SEO

Google. It has not only changed the way people search for information, it has altered memory and the way our brains function. (No, really.)

Search engines – with Google in particular – have become the gateway to the internet. They are a de facto virtual editor – separating trusted information from spam and ordering results. For brands, the top search returns are prime real estate. At the Dec. 4 Social Media Council, University Advancement Social Media Manager Stephanie St. Martin walked us through SEO, search engine optimization, and explained why it matters both for web and social media administrators.

“How many of you go to page two of Google?” Stephanie asked. The response: chuckles and a few scattered hands. Her question made the point – “page one” matters and being aware of your school, department or center’s natural search returns matter.

Among the topics covered, Stephanie explained several shortcuts to fine tune search results, introduced us to Google Trends and explained how specific keywords can be helpful when creating bc.edu webpages. Driving traffic to those pages – through sharing or engaging on social media – improve search returns for the web and social channels. (To see the full presentation, click here SEO.)

Jim O’Neill, ITS Web Technology Group Senior Web Administrator, was up next to show just how to implement some of Stephanie’s tips when publishing content. Jim’s advice included: fill out all fields – title is the most important, but also keywords and description play a role in search engine rankings. Being mindful about length, writing for the web and taking advantage of photography and video content were all among Jim’s to recommendations.

Stepping into the Social Spotlight, Sgt. Jeff Postell explained how Boston College Police have found success, not only on Facebook, but on their new account on Twitter. Sgt. Postell said a mix of humor, dealing with negative interactions head-on, responsiveness and engagement with other brands has helped make BCPD leaders among campus law enforcement departments on social media in the country. (To see a great example of BCPD in action, check out their newest video. Love.It.)

Sharing the spotlight was Remy Hassett ’14 who explained how Boston College History Department found early success on Facebook and Twitter. Both accounts are just a few months old, but have gained hundreds of followers by making history accessible. Remy explained how undergraduate student, graduate student and faculty talent are all used to manage these sites. She credits a candid discussion with administrators – both of the page and the department – with getting everyone on the same page prior to launch. Using the hashtag #TDIH, combined with a unique voice, that manages to be both academic and youthful, are some ways this accounts delivers for many audiences.  

Two ongoing campaigns of note: #Andre44Heisman is going strong and BC Athletics has asked that we all support Andre’s Heisman campaign through the hashtag when possible. For those interested, Boston College Instagram is using the hashtag #ChristmasOnTheHeights throughout this month. If you would like your photos regramed use it!

Thanks for your attendance this year, SMC-ers! Please vote on topics you’d like to see in the upcoming semester below. If you don’t see a topic you are interested in, please enter it in the space provided.

Facebook Breakout Sessions

image from iconsdb.com

image from iconsdb.com

The Office of News & Public Affairs is pleased to announce two breakout sessions for BC social media practitioners who are or will be posting to Facebook on behalf of the University. “Facebook for Business 101” and “Advanced Facebook” are one-hour sessions designed to help those starting or maintaining Facebook channels. Which should you attend? Read on.

Facebook for Business 101: Are you new to social media? Just starting a Facebook page for your department, organization or division? This session will provide an overview of social media, explain the differences between personal pages vs. groups vs. brand pages, review University guidelines and provide general strategies of getting your followers to engage. (This session is ideal for users who are thinking about Facebook or recently created a page.) Scheduled: Friday, Oct. 4, 10:30 in Stokes Hall N203 Conference Room. Space is limited, so please email social@bc.edu to reserve a seat.

Advanced Facebook: Do you already have a Facebook page? Have you been at it for at least a year? This session will explain how to interpret insight data and provide examples of the most successful accounts on campus and across the country. Think of this as a strategy session to audit or troubleshoot your Facebook presence.  Scheduled: Thursday, Oct. 17, 10:30 in Stokes Hall N203 Conference Room. Again, space is limited, so please email social@bc.edu to reserve a seat.

Breakout sessions for other social media platforms will be offered later in the semester, but times and dates are TBA. Subscribe to the blog to be emailed notifications.