After talking with different HIV programs about social media, I've heard quite a few themes. One of them is that people don't know where to start. I addressed that in my presentation at the Prevention and Outreach Summit, and I'll talk about that more in the future. Another problem: everything keeps changing, and providers can't keep up. As a way of reducing barriers (see what I did there?), I'm starting a new series with updates on social media news.
And now, the biggest news from the past week:
Facebook is changing, yet again. Surprise, surprise.
- Facebook has hashtags now, joining the ranks of Instagram and Twitter. Right now they're being grossly overused and are already slightly obnoxious, but they'll be useful once Facebook users calm down a little bit. The key to using hashtags on your fan page is to stick to one or two that are directly relevant to your post. That way, people who are searching for those words will be able to find your content.
- People are Talking About This (PTAT) is going away, but it's being replaced by something bigger and better. Facebook Insights were already pretty powerful for a free analytics tool for your fan page, but now they'll be breaking PTAT out to be more specific - so you'll get a better gauge on what actions your fans are taking. (The 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study talks about this - pohtos get more likes, shares, and comments, but links, share, and video posts get more clicks. Now you'll get to see this clearly in your insights.) My favorite new feature is the detailed information you'll get on actions from your fans, by demographic. Fantastic way to see if you're reaching your target, especially for public health organizations. Get the full story over at Mashable.
- You can now leave photos in comments. This will probably have some practical applications, but I'm mostly thinking of the fun ones. Like public health memes.
- Some fan pages are now able to change the thumbnail photo posted alongside links placed in status updates. You might have this on your fan page already - it's still rolling out. If you do, you'll have an "upload photo" link under the thumbnail. This is great if the one photo on the page you're posting a link to is an ad or something else you know your fans won't want to look at.
Facebook rolls updates out almost constantly, so you can expect lots more in the future.
Instagram gets video
Yesterday, to much anticipation, Facebook made a huge announcement for Instagram. (In case you didn't know, Facebook bought Instagram a couple of years ago.) The new feature will allow for 15-second videos, and a choice of thirteen different filters. It will also have video stabilization, which sounds handy. It's a pretty obvious bid to stay competitive with Twitter's popular 6-second video-sharing app, Vine. Read more about it on Instagram's blog.
Social media posts from around the web
I comb through quite a few of these regularly. These are the most useful posts I found for nonprofits, public health organizations, and HIV programs this week.
- AIDS.gov has a post specifically on using social media to promote HIV testing, providing examples from three different programs. Featuring Philly's own Do One Thing project.
- Buffer wrote a helpful, clear, and actionable post on how to write headlines for Twitter, Facebook, and blogs that get people to actually look at your content. Fantastic cheat sheet.
- Jim Garrow talked about why you should talk like a normal person on his blog, The Face of the Matter.
- I'm all about using whatever tools you can to make your job easier. In my recent presentation on getting started on social media for HIV programs, I suggested using a content calendar to organize yourself. Here, Network for Good gives the basics on how to make an editorial calendar.
- My favorite thing I've come across this week is this 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study. See how you stack up against other nonprofit organizations on social media and email newsletters. It's a beaitiful document (for layout, copy, and content), so take note if you publish a lot of documents for public use.
- If you liked that report, here are loads more. I like to give my eyes a break from the monitor every so often, so I keep a stack of reports like these on my desk for a little afternoon reading time.
Have you learned anything new and exciting about social media this week? Comment below.