Using Storify to tell a social media story

When your customers or audience is using social media, they are using the channel they love the best. Sometimes it’s Twitter, sometimes Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, flickr or Google+. As a social media manager, you know you can use web tools to monitor these channels to find out what people are saying about you.

But when it’s a good story, why not tell it across all those channels?

That’s where Storify comes in.

The platform allows you to search for hashtags, keywords, users and more across multiple social media channels. With the Storify bookmarklet or Chrome extension, you can turn content across the web into nuggets perfect for telling your story.

You can see some Storify stories I’ve put together at work at Wake Forest University. We’ve covered the University’s first TEDx conference, 2012 Commencement, the recent move-in day when students come back to campus, and most recently, Wake the Vote.

Getting started is easy. You can create an account with an email address or log in through Twitter or Facebook. Storify allows you to search many social media channels for keywords, with or without hashtags. And content that you can’t find through those channels? You can create web links for them.

Storify’s blog is done entirely through Storify — which is kind of meta, but a great way to see all the possibilities.

One thing I would like to see is a way to save a Storify as a pdf, for uses other than websites.



You know how LinkedIn shows you how many people have looked at your profile and how many times you turned up in search results on your home page? It’s a stat I’ve looked at often in the last few months during my job search.

Tonight, I checked it out, and it said 6 people had checked me out in the last 7 days. When I clicked on the link to check out the possibilities, I was pretty surprised by the top 5 results. Take a look:

1. Greg Bowman, a co-founder of Linking Greensboro Live, whom I’ve met in real life at a huge networking event this summer. I’m looking forward to the next one. We’re linked.
2. Chris Brogan, social media connector and thought leader, co-author of Trust Agents, a new book which I’ve just finished reading and recommend highly. We’re linked.
3. Sarah Palin. Interestingly enough, I must know someone who knows her. We’re second degree connections.
4. John McCain. Huh, same deal. We’re second degree connections. Who knew?
5. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA! The President of the United States is searching for meeee.
So I know I’ll be getting that LinkedIn invitation any day now … or maybe he’ll contact me via Twitter. He’s a very social media savvy President, you know.

When Fame Bites

Is your brand ready for fame? Fame in all its incarnations: from glory to gory? When you put yourself out there you may think that a little fame is exactly what you’re seeking. But as fast as your personal brand and reputation can be built up, it can all come crashing down.

I’m thinking about this as the headlines swoop by for “real” people caught in the reality of a 24/7 news cycle. You’ve probably been reading about them. Jon. Kate (and their Plus 8). Nadya Suleman, now forever known as Octomom. Susan Boyle – the Scottish singing sensation and internet darling. Their backgrounds are different, but the cycles are frighteningly similar.

For Jon and Kate Gosselin, it took a couple of years to ramp up their notoriety. It started with a special on Discovery Health when their twin daughters were about four and their sextuplets (3 boys and 3 girls) were about 18 months old, and then short season episodes until TLC took over the show as ratings climbed. Expanded seasons of their TLC reality show, book tours and appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, the morning news shows followed until the huge promotable event (could it really be just last August?) of their renewed wedding vows at a resort in Hawaii. Less than six months later, we have nonstop coverage of alleged infidelity, child labor law complaints and rumors of divorce. There’s a saying that no publicity is bad publicity, but this family might differ.

For Nadya Suleman, it started with a medical miracle: eight babies surviving birth in a California hospital. A story like this is usually slam dunk positive news. But the tide turned quickly, when it was revealed the single mom had six other young children, no job and no real place to live. Now there are reports that Suleman has signed a contract for a reality show. Oh, and there’s an Octomom Vs. Kate Gosselin gossip fight. When did we first hear about Nadya Suleman? Just six months ago. January 2009.

When it comes to Susan Boyle, the cycle turned even more quickly. Her amazing audition for Britain’s Got Talent became an instant hit on YouTube. (Yes, I’m linking you there because it’s still one of the best videos ever.) How’s April 11th strike you? Weeks later, backlash because she got the tiniest of makeovers. And then she was caught on camera cursing paparazzi, and there was even doubt that she’d be able to perform on the final show. But she did, bravely, and came in second — with class. That was Saturday night, May 30th. Now we’re hearing she may have learning disabilities after being admitted to a clinic for exhaustion. That was Sunday, May 31st. Just seven weeks ago, the only people who knew Susan Boyle were her neighbors and friends in Scotland. Seven weeks.

You may think these examples don’t apply to your business or your spokesperson because you don’t represent a reality show. But the speed of the Internet coupled with the word of mouth amplification we’re seeing through social media could make you an overnight sensation — of the good or bad kind.

Remember Motrin Moms? How about the KFC grilled chicken coupon? Burger King’s Facebook “unfriending” campaign? These campaigns hit sour notes within days.

Fame usually comes with positive connotations. When it takes a wrong turn, you’re headed straight for notoriety.

Have you had a brush with fame or notoriety? How did you handle it?

Mary Janes Longing, the Happy Ending

We interrupt this important social media and public relations commentary with breaking shoe news.

Some of you may remember my longing for a certain pair of Mary Janes last summer. No? Let me refresh your memory.

Caught up? Okay. So, even before the economy crashed and my position was eliminated, no way was I paying $189-$229 for that pair of Mary Jane espadrilles. I kept my eye on them, looked for sales at the end of the season. Nothing.

But look what I found today! At Payless!

Don’t you just love a style inspiration? And don’t you especially love that these cost $14.99 instead of $229? Yeah, I thought so. Just save me a pair in 8 1/2, okay?

And some big linky love for Bargainist, which told me about Payless’ big summer sale, which led me to the espadrille section and the objects of my affection.

Measuring Social Media

When I worked for a public relations firm, measuring the ROI of social media was critical, but difficult. These communications tools were new, measurement guidelines seemed to contradict each other and new advice popped up daily. But we still had to explain to our clients why we thought creating a Facebook group, a blog, a Twitter profile or a YouTube channel would help reach their business objectives. So we measured what we could.

We measured how many followers signed up for their Twitter feed, how many comments posted to a blog entry or how web traffic ebbed or flowed when we had blog posts, tweets and status updates linking to a particular page. Good numbers, right? But while the numbers can represent one kind of success, the real measure of social media is engagement and relationships.

As I explain to executives, university students, nonprofits (whoever asks me to talk about one of my favorite subjects), social media is about sharing, connecting, conversation, a dialogue. So does measuring the number of Twitter followers show engagement? How about when you take the auto-follow bots out? Of course not. It’s time for real social media measurement.

That’s why I’m so exciting a social media measurement guru is coming to the PRSA Tar Heel chapter’s monthly meeting next Tuesday. KD Paine has been measuring PR and communications for two decades. I started following her on Twitter a little while ago, reading her blog and catching some of her presentations from other communications conventions. Here are the explanations I’ve been looking for. Let me link you to two:

On Tuesday, Paine’s talk at the Greensboro-High Point Airport Marriott is called “Yes You CAN Measure Social Media”. For a nominal fee, which also buys your lunch and allows you to network with other communications professionals, you can soak up all the smart measurement advice Paine can dish out. Register here.

There’s a Chinese saying: “May you live in interesting times.” It can be both a blessing and a curse. But as public relations professionals we are living through VERY interesting times. Not only is the economy doing its rollercoaster ride, but we are watching print and broadcast journalism change before our eyes, bad pitches held up to public ridicule, and the whirlwind 24/7 news cycle spin even faster through social media’s instantaneous updates and live feeds.

Social media is a new communications tool with a big impact on our profession. Know how and when to use it, and how to measure it when we do, can help us. And we CAN measure it. Look for me at the Marriott on Tuesday!