Social Media Math: A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words x 100 Likes/Shares

It’s been a horrible technology day for me.  Spent 1.5 hours trying to configure my new work laptop to be on my wireless network.  I hate feeling like a complete dunce when talking to IT folk…  What’s the difference between WAP and WAP2 really?  The process required two diet cokes and a large slice of leftover pizza (it’s only 10:30am) just to keep me sane.  While I was booting, rebooting and waiting for support to get back to me, I was writing for this blog.  Somehow I managed to lose my work too.  First rule of thumb for this technophobe, always learned the hard way: SAVE YOUR WORK!

It’s W-week (as in wedding!) here… The big day is a few sleeps away and things are very, very busy, exhausting, stressful, wonderful, beautiful, awesome…  I was going to take the week off from blogging, but then, noticed a few people using social media to thank their firefighters and police officers on the anniversary of September 11, 2001, and was moved by it.

NYPD Facebook cover - 9/11/12

NYPD Facebook cover – 9/11/12

When was the last time you sent a thank you letter?  A genuine, personal letter thanking someone you’ve met for helping  you, for volunteering for your organization, for buying lemonade from your kid on the tree lawn, for taking good care of your mom when you couldn’t be there?    Thanking people using social media platforms allows you to be creative, public and personal, to encourage interaction, increase engagement and loyalty, and to create original, searchable content.

After Sally Ride’s death, singer songwriter Anne E. DeChant created a tribute video featuring her song Girls and Airplanes. DeChant’s video is an excellent example of a way to both honor and recognize someone who has touched your life AND create meaningful, searchable content, which further optimizes your organization for search.

So you’re not a lovely and talented singer songwriter?  No worries! Thanking one of your volunteers, or someone who’s done something kind for you on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, or a blog is easy, and it means giving “public” recognition for their dedication.  Your message will be seen not only by the recipient, but all of their friends.   Sometimes, thanking is as simple as “liking” them back or acknowledging their comments as DeChant does here:

Anne E DeChant thanks fans

With social media, and a little imagination, the possibilities are endless and potentially quite moving.  A video of an elementary school janitor cleaning the floors dutifully and interacting with the children; a classroom full of second graders looking eagerly at their teacher with hands raised; a small child holding a tray in the lunch service line – these are the kinds of scenes that would move people to like, share or forward a message, giving a simple “thank you” to the teachers and staff of your local elementary school a new, global reach.  It’s the ability to share these human stories that makes social media exciting.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use photos and videos.
  • Use a platform like Animoto to make a video out of photographs you upload, and set it to music.

    Personal thank yous on Facebook

    Personal thank yous on Facebook

  • Don’t just say thank you – tell your readers who this person is, what makes them special, how they help you or impact the lives of others.  Keep it personal and meaningful.
  • Design a badge and give it as an award, encouraging the recipient to post it on his/her Facebook wall and/or blog.
  • Retweeet regularly.
  • “Like” them back, and “likes” are even more meaningful when they are accompanied by comments.
  • Feature volunteers and the work they do on your own wall (be sure to tag them by name):
Volunteer featured on Facebook Page

Volunteer featured on Facebook Page

  • Write a feature story about them, or allow them to share their own story in their own words like this Diet Coke love story:
    Diet Coke love story

    Diet Coke is the netcar of the gods… Making this a match made in heaven (and, an excellent way to use social media to engage followers AND build a brand).

    For other great ideas, check out this blog.

    A thank you post isn’t complete without acknowledging those of you who like and share this blog regularly.  Thanks so much for your patience as I learn along with you!  Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions, suggest topics, etc.

    This post is dedicated to all the fantastic friends who’ve listened to the planning rants, run the errands, and are otherwise helping me to survive W-week:  Nancy, Keith, Adam, Carolyn, Marj, Sheryl, Joe, Michelle, and of course, Deb.

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