Madeline is the Community Manager for edSocialMedia and we first met when I became a contributing blogger for edSocialMedia. Two years ago I had the pleasure of presenting with Maddie at an AISAP Roundtable event in Florida. I was so impressed with her social media knowledge and her ability to teach what she knows that I wanted you to learn from her as well.
I’d like to thank Maddie for taking the time out of her busy schedule preparing for the edSocialMedia Summit and sharing this Cup of Coffee with me.
1. Can you describe what being the Community Manager at edSocialMedia entails?
Being the community manager at edSocialMedia involves wearing many hats, as you can imagine—setting up events, arranging conferences (like our Summit on 4/2!), pulling together presentations, researching how different social media channels are working in different schools, etc.
But the best part of being a Community Manager is training folks during our professional development workshops and bootcamps. Some people come to our workshops with a fear of using social media; when they spend a day in a hands-on environment practicing using the tools, they often have this “ah-hah” moment of when they realize it’s not that hard. In fact, many of them get so excited about particular channel, and that’s how they get started in social media.
I get so excited to train and present for folks because I love to hear their stories of success. For so many different schools, they find different nuances or tactics that pushes their social media into success, and there’s nothing better than being able to share those stories with people.
2. Can you share where edSocialMedia has a presence on social media?
We try to have a presence in nearly every social network possible. We often teach folks to limit how thinly you spread yourself on social channels because you want your efforts to be fully engaged and worthwhile instead of lackluster. For me, however, I feel like I need to test every social media channel possible before I teach people how to use them. So even though every one of our channels isn’t as good as it could be, I use them as my playground before I teach about them in a workshop.
With all that being said, if you were to look at our social channels in a list, the best place to see them is probably on our homepage. We have all the badges in the upper right, so you can easily pick the ones that is best for you. You can find links to Twitter (@edsocialmedia), Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare and Google+. We know not everyone is in everyone place, so we try to customize the content for each individual channel. We also have Pinterest boards, Facebook groups for past bootcamp participants and an idea-generation group for our edSocialMedia bloggers.
The very best place for people to connect with us is on Twitter. The community on Twitter is one of the most engaging, rewarding and responsive networks in our community, and we often look to them for guidance on decisions we are making.
I think the only one we don’t have a presence on—for the moment—is Tumblr. We haven’t even begun to explore it, but it’s definitely on our radar.
3. How much time do you spend maintaining those social media channels?
I spend a hefty portion of my day “managing” those social media channels. I try different tools, test alternate channels, reframe messaging, research trends—I’m the one who is supposed to be able to share with folks what works and doesn’t work. I don’t want to be able to just tell them “what I’ve read,” but I want to be able to tell them why it doesn’t work and few extra tips that will make their approach more successful.
I generally think that a community manager should be the “know-it-all.” Granted, I know I don’t know it ALL, but I try to know something about everything so the people we train have the best knowledge possible.
In general, however, my workflow is this: I wake up in the morning and read my feeds—whether it’s Twitter, Zite, LinkedIn, Facebook, and I curate my posts for the day. I drop them into a queue with Buffer, and then watch my Growl notifications to make sure I’m answering folks’ questions, RTs, and posts. The reading/responding usually takes me about an hour every morning, but I find it very interesting.
4. What tools do you use to help you manage those social media channels?
I use a few tools, but not as many as I could. I have just found an affordable workflow that I currently like, but I think it’s always evolving. For months, I used Timely.is for our Twitter queue. It was the best thing I could have ever come across. May it rest in peace because it went away in November of this past year, so I’ve shifted to using Buffer for Twitter. Bill Stites, our Blogger-in-Chief of the blog, uses Hootsuite to help manage tweets for the contributors’ blog posts, so I use that to see the analytics and to filter hashtags.
As for the other channels, I use them all pretty organically. I know it’s probably something that I could refine, but it’s better for me to see and use the native interfaces so I know the right answers to questions when people ask.
5. If you knew then what you know now, what advice can you share for someone who is managing the social media channels for their school?
I think the best piece of advice that I can give folks at our training sessions is that they really should begin using the social channels in their personal life. If the people that are going to manage the social channels for the school use it while they’re out and about, they’ll begin to train their brain to think about social media differently. Ideas and strategy will come more naturally if you’re using it as frequently as possible.
I like to think social media is more about storytelling than anything else. So the best folks to manage social media channels are the ones that have a good vision for sharing insight and stories in a compelling manner.
The other thing I think is very important when wrangling all of this, is to make sure that you have insights installed so that you can find out what‘s effective. If you take a look at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, they are consistently evolving because they know exactly what folks like and don’t like. They are constantly asking, “How can we make this better? How can we make this work better for our community?” Having the right tools in place for that is the key to future success.
6. Even though I am a contributing blogger for edSocialMedia, I’ve unfortunately never been able to attend the edSocialMedia Summit. Can you explain the history and background of the Summit?
The edSocialMedia Summit is the signature event for edSocialMedia’s professional development opportunities. This year, we are bringing it back to our backyard and hosting it at an old friend’s school, Walnut Hill School for the Arts. After last year’s amazing kick-off to the signature event in San Francisco, we selected to bring it back to the East Coast so we could share it with our loyal community out here.
As many of you know, Antonio Viva, the Head of School at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and the moderator for the 2013 Summit, is one of the original founders of edSocialMedia, so it only felt appropriate to bring it to his school. Their team continues to be one of the thought-leaders in the industry, and they have the perfect set-up for the event, so it’s a win-win scenario.
In general, this event is the culmination of a vision that we’ve had for where training in social media for schools should go next: There are so many great conferences in social media right now, but there didn’t seem to be a great one offered for folks in education. What we’ve tried to do with this conference is to bring some of the thought leaders in social media to the thought leaders in education. This way, the current trends and topics are covered in a specifically tailored presentation our audience. Participants get to hear from big company names like HubSpot, SEOmoz, Wistia, LinkedIn, Inigral, alongside some of the best speakers in the school space, such as Michael Stoner, Ian Symmonds, the #IOLchat team, and Elisabeth Russo.
7. Who is the target audience for The Summit?
Anyone who is involved with social media at their school or organization will walk away with something from the Summit. We are thrilled to be bringing a very dynamic, robust set of presenters, so it’s going to be a great day for anyone looking to learn more about social media. I think I even have a few folks from creative agencies here in Portsmouth coming to the event because they’re so excited about it.
8. From a school marketers’ perspective, the speaker line-up is awesome. I know “officially” you are excited to hear everyone speak but who are you really looking forward to hearing? Why?
That’s like asking you which child is my favorite!
Like you said, I am very excited to see everyone that’s scheduled to be onstage at the Summit. We specially curate the presenters to offer a complete picture of the social media landscape to represent current trends. The team at edSocialMedia and I watch people throughout the year so we know we have the most notable, important people present to our community. Our goal is to bring new, fresh faces to the education world, and keep them at the bleeding edge of web/social marketing trends for their school.
But for me, personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing Chris Savage from Wistia take the stage. If you haven’t seen some of the brain power that Chris and his team are sharing over at Wistia, it’s a notable experience that will change the way you think about video marketing. Their tips, presentation style, knowledge and storytelling expertise is some of the best in the business, and he’s truly going to knock our socks off at the Summit.
Last year, John Hill, from LinkedIn, left everyone with their jaws on the floor—I know he’s going to be a crowd favorite. Ian Symmonds’ presentation showcased some of the best case studies in the private and independent school sector, and led us to one of our presenters for this year’s Summit, Elisabeth Russo. As I mentioned earlier, it’ll be amazing to see Joanna Lord from the SEOmoz team—she’s a spitfire powerhouse with loads of SEO knowledge. Maggie Georgieva was one of the best presenters I saw while at HubSpot’s Inbound 2012, and Brandon Croke at Inigral has amazing data research to support all the ideas we float around. His a young thought-leader that’s going to change the way we all think about student interaction.
If if you’ve seen the loyal followings of Michael Stoner or the #IOLchat team from OnlineCollege.org, you’ll understand why they’re on our docket. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say mStoner might be one of the most coveted speakers in our industry and we are truly lucky to hear his expertise. And last but not least, the #IOLchat team truly practices what they preach with their Twitter chats.
What are some other blogs you read and enjoy on a regular basis?
I don’t think any social media manager couldn’t say Mashable, but that’s like my CNN for most people. I really enjoy HubSpot’s articles, Jeff Bullas’ blog, and I’m starting to really enjoy the writing style of Rich Brooks at Flyte New Media and/or Marketing Agents.
I use Zite a lot to curate content for me, and I’m continuously amazed at how many good bloggers/content curators there are out there. LinkedIn’s iPad app has been providing good content for me lately, too.
Twitter, for the most part, is the best tool for my reading. I have hundreds of lists between my personal account and edSocialMedia’s account, so I comb through that material when it’s time for my morning reading. As a whole, a good network on Twitter far surpasses the best blogs you could ever read.
10. What is the last marketing or social media book you’ve read and can recommend?
To be honest, the last book I read was “Knowing Your Value” by Mika Brzezinski, from the MSNBC show Morning Joe. It’s a powerful book for men and women to read to better understand female dynamics in a working world.
Books, for me, at least, are usually the medium where I’m not reading about social media or marketing. I’ll pick up the good ones, and breeze through them, but at some point, the web is a better tool for me to stay current—it’s fluid and dynamic and doesn’t expire the minute that it’s published.
With all that being said, I have “To Sell Is Human” by Daniel H. Pink sitting on my bedside table. It’ll be the next sales/marketing/social media book that I consume. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’d like to once again thank Maddie for taking the time to share this Cup of Coffee with me. If you have a question for Maddie please ask it in the comments section below.