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Archive for May, 2014

How to use Hashtags to Increase Social Media Presence

Hashtag #like
like 2 by misspixels on Flickr, Creative Commons license

 

Have you determined that the use of social media channels is appropriate for your organization following our coverage of evaluating social media activities last week?

If so you will quickly encounter hashtags, which are user-controlled categories prefaced with a pound sign. Hashtags were once limited to Twitter but are now used on most social media sites including Facebook and Google+. Conversational,  concise, and consistent use of up to two hashtags per social media message can result in double the amount of user engagement compared to messages without them. For more statistics specific to Twitter and user engagement, Buffer’s coverage at http://blog.bufferapp.com/10-new-twitter-stats-twitter-statistics-to-help-you-reach-your-followers is an excellent overview.

What are some of the ways to show that hashtags increase user engagement with your organization’s message? Look for performance indicators of reposts (the use of ‘Share’ on Facebook or retweets on Twitter), replies (comments under the message from Facebook followers, replies to the tweet from Twitter users), the number of clicks to any links included in your message (ideally to your organization’s website and resources), and hashtag usage frequency.

For tips on how to track these performance indicators and additional statistics regarding hashtag creation and use check out the helpful infographic at http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2014/04/using-hashtags-to-boost-your-social-presence-infographic.html.

Evaluating your social media activities

For public sector and nonprofit organizations, social media can be a cost-effective way to engage with users and supporters. However, social media is not without its cost, particularly in terms of staff time.  So organizations have an interest in assessing the value of their social media activities.

One great resource for social media evaluation is Paine’s book, Measure What Matters.  The book contains detailed guidance for evaluating social media use by different types of organizations. A great supplement to Paine’s book is The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide by Idealware, which has worksheets that will help you plan your social media strategies and implement recommendations in Measure What Matters.

Below are the key elements of Paine’s evaluation framework:

  • Begin with a solid social media plan that identifies specific goals and objectives. As with any project, you need a plan for social media that links strategies to the organizational mission and includes objectives with targets and key performance indicators. Objectives for social media in the public-sector often belong in one of two categories: helping users find information they need; or building user awareness, engagement, or loyalty. (To inspire you, The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide provides a list of potential objectives on page 52.)
  • Define your target audience: Organizations often have many stakeholder groups, so you want to identify the groups most attuned to social media. On page 54 of The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide, you’ll find a worksheet for narrowing down your stakeholder audiences to those most receptive to your social media activities.
  • Pick your metrics: Metrics such as views, followers, and measures of engagement with online content will help you monitor reach. Conversions, defined as the actions you want your social media followers to complete, might include becoming members of your organization or actively recommending your organization to colleagues or friends.
  • Identify a source for benchmarks. Benchmarks provide a basis for comparison to assess progress. Organizations often use their own histories as benchmarks, comparing progress against baseline measures. You also may have access to data from a competing or peer organization that you can use for comparison.
  • Pick a measurement tool: Paine’s book describes different measurement methods for evaluating social media, such as content analysis, web analytics, or surveys.

For more information, check out the resources used for this blog post:

  • Katie Delahaye Paine, Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2011.
  •  Idealware. The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide, 2013.

Healthy People 2020 and Infographics

HealthyPeople.gov provides science-based 10 year national objectives to help improve the health of all Americans. These objectives are focused on encouraging collaborations across communities, empowering people to make individual health choices, and measuring the impact of prevention activities.  Currently we are in the time frame referred to as Healthy People 2020 with goals and objectives to achieve by the year 2020 listed at their website http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/about

There are 42 topic areas with over 1,200 objectives for Healthy People 2020,  so a smaller subset of objectives has been identified as Leading Health Indicators (LHI) to communicate high-priority health issues and actions to take for addressing them. These LHI objectives are included within the 12 areas of access to health services, clinical preventative services, environmental quality, injury and violence, maternal, infant and child health; mental health, nutrition, physical activity and obesity; oral health, reproductive and sexual health, social determinants, substance abuse, and tobacco.

Secondhand smoke

Monthly Leading Health Indicators (LHI) infographics help visually communicate Healthy People 2020 data, such as the one above about children’s exposure to secondhand smoke based on health insurance status, and are freely available for download and use by the public at http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/LHI/infographicGallery.aspx. The infographics are arranged in chronological order, most recent month available at the top, with the LHI area included so you can quickly identify and click those health topics of interest to you and your programs. They are also a great source of data, both in raw downloads and these visualizations, for presentations and publications for your health information outreach programs that are related to the LHI areas. Be sure to sign up for their monthly newsletter at the infographic site so you won’t miss the latest one each month!