Webinar Series: Social Media Sites FAQ

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Flickr

What exactly is Twitter?

  • Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) is an exciting and quirky social media tool that’s especially popular with techy, nerdy types but is quickly becoming more mainstream, with people like Britney Spears and Al Gore joining in.
  • Sometimes called “micro-blogging”, Twitter is a way to send instant messages of only 140 characters to groups of people who have chosen to “follow” you. You, in turn, can follow the same (or different) people yourself.

How do I get started on Twitter?

  • Getting started on Twitter is quite simple. Visit the Twitter home page (www.twitter.com) and click on Get Started. We advise that you do this as soon as possible, as prime Twitter usernames are being grabbed up quickly.
  • Fill in your desired username (this will become twitter.com/USERNAME), e-mail address, and password. This will be the name of your Twitter profile so be sure it clearly identifies your station or program. For example, PBS Engage uses the name pbsengage.
  • Next, click on the “Settings” button in the upper navigation bar and fill in all of the optional profile information. The “One Line Bio” is especially important; this is where you should state that this is the official account for your organization. The More Info URL is a great way to link back to your primary site.
  • Finally, upload a picture of the logo for your station, program or personality. This will also help Twitter users identify the feed.
  • That’s it! You are now on Twitter and you can start “tweeting”. If you need more detailed instructions, PBS Engage has a quick start guide available.

How often do I have to “tweet”?

  • There are no hard and fast rules. But it is a good idea to keep up with your tweets regularly so people don’t lose interest. 
  • The more you tweet, the more potential eyes may see your message. Also, often people who like your ‘tweet’ will ‘retweet’ your message and send it to all of their followers.
  • There are several ways to keep up with Twitter besides logging into your account on the Twitter web site:
    • TwitterFeed – http://www.twitterfeed.com - provides an automated way of posting information. Typically this site is used to link to a new blog post, or headlines from a site. Once you’ve signed up for an account you input any RSS feed and it will begin posting all new content into your Twitter stream for you. This is an easy way to get started quickly, but probably will not result in a successful campaign.
    • TweetBurner – http://www.tweetburner.com - can work in conjunction with Twitterfeed to provide stats and information about how many people are clicking on or spreading the links you post to Twitter.
    • Search.Twitter.com – http://search.twitter.com - is one of most useful and important tools in your Twitter toolbox. It lets you search for all tweets that contain a set of keywords. So if you wanted to know what people were saying about your station you might search for your call letters, a host, or program name. Search then shows you a list of all of those messages, lets you reply to the author, and tells you when new tweets come through the system.
    • Tweetbeep – http://www.tweetbeep.com – will e-mail you hourly, or daily with all of the Tweets that mention your chosen keywords. For instance you could create an alert for your station call letters and whenever you get mentioned anywhere on Twitter, you’ll know who it was and what they said.
    • Ping.FM – http://www.ping.fm – is a web service that allows you to post status updates and micro-blog posts (like on Twitter) to lots of social networking sites.

What is the difference between a Facebook Fan Page and a Facebook Group? Which one should I use?

  • Facebook offers two ways for you to interact with your online visitors --Facebook Groups and Facebook Fan Pages. Facebook is constantly evolving but we currently recommend using Fan pages to engage and interact with your community.
  • Fan pages allow you to promote and interact with an engaged community already using Facebook (over 140 million people have Facebook accounts).
  • These pages are SEO (search engine optimization) friendly. So, if you add content to your fan page, it very likely will get picked up by Google and the other major search engines which will drive traffic to your fan page, as well as to your station or program’s Web site. 
  • Facebook Groups, on the other hand, are generally not seen in search engines and do not offer you as much control over your content.
  • Also, when someone becomes a fan, a link to your fan page is inserted into their news feed, further spreading your brand across the social network. In addition, when people interact with content (like videos, or comments/reviews) on your Fan Page, that information also gets inserted into their news feed.

How do you set up a Facebook Fan Page?

  • First, you will need to designate an administrator for your Fan Page. While Fan Pages or Groups may be dedicated to your station or program, Facebook does not allow an entity other than a real human to have a Facebook master profile (account).
  • If your chosen administrator doesn’t already have a personal Facebook account, go ahead and create one – it is easy and only takes a few minutes to complete. If the Administrator already has a profile, she or he can just log in as they normally would.
  • Once you have a master profile created, visit http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/create.php and select what type of Fan Page you want to create. (For example you might choose “TV Show” or “TV personality”).
  • On the next screen give your Fan Page a name and upload a logo or image. Naming your Fan Page your station call letters (example: WNET) or network (example: Rocky Mountain PBS or RMPBS) is best so people recognize you quickly.
  • Once you’ve created your page, you’ll need to begin adding content. At the time of this writing, for a Fan Page you can add: text, images, videos, events, notes, discussion boards, or Facebook Applications as you would a personal profile. Each of these presents an additional opportunity to spread your content virally across the Facebook network.

3. My station is hesitant to assign a real person’s name to the station Fan Page. How should we resolve this problem?

  • Facebook is a social site built for real people. Having a person’s name attached to a Fan Page or Group adds a certain accountability and legitimacy that some other sites do not offer. Additionally, making the decision to become a “fan” signifies a certain affinity and trust the visitor has with your brand. People are less likely to interact with something anonymous.
  • If the person who is responsible (the administrator) set’s their profile to “private” then users finding them from the Fan Page will not be able to see any personal information.
  • In general, social media without a ‘human’ in front of the curtain will not garner much attention.

How do I get people to join our Fan Page or Group?

  • To start attracting fans, be sure to let people in your own social groups know that yourbrand now has a Facebook presence. Get coworkers, family, and friends to help spread the word by becoming fans to get things rolling.
  • It is also important to make your page interesting so people keep coming back and will pass information along to their contacts. A blank page with a couple photos and some promotional text isn’t going to reward that commitment. And it won’t entice visitors to join and spread your message. Users are unlikely to return to your page unless you give them a reason to; like a steady stream of new content they’ll enjoy and pass around to their friends.
  • You don’t have to post every day, but try to post at least once a week, at a minimum – you want users to have a reason to come back to your page, and want a reason for prospective fans to join. Like all social media efforts, you have to use a personal voice and speak directly to the public. Avoid marketing or PR language at all costs!
  • If you want to promote your fan page via paid promotions, we encourage you to use Facebook’s advertising. More information about this is available at www.facebook.com/ads. These ads can help drive new fans, especially because you can very specifically target who sees your ad – right down to your local city, in many cases. If you have questions about this kind of advertising, contact Kevin Dando at kdando@pbs.org

Why should my station use YouTube? What are the benefits?

  • YouTube is an easy and effective way to get your viewers engaged in your programming online. More than one-third of all video viewed on the Web is on YouTube. It offers easy-to-use interface tools that provide users with ways to share videos with their friends and to rate and comment on your content.
  • There are many benefits. One of the best is that your station can get detailed information about your viewer’s (including demographic information) by tracking who watches your videos online.

How do I create an account on YouTube?

  • It is easy to become create an account on YouTube. First, go to www.youtube.com and go to the Sign Up page. From there, you will choose a username and password, and enter your information. When you are done, you just click the “create my account” button and you’re done.

How do I get my video’s on YouTube?

  • We recommend you set up a channel specific to your station on YouTube, much like the PBS channel. This way your own branded local videos can be found easily by the public, and you further your recognition in the online space.

How do I set up a station page?

  • Like Facebook, it is relatively easy to set up a station page on YouTube.
  • Kevin Dando, can help you set up an “enhanced brand channel” - simply contact him at kdando@pbs.org. Note: YouTube has requested that any station who would like to request an enhanced brand channel have at least 20 videos already on their page.

What is an “enhanced brand channel”?

  • An enhanced brand channel provides you with a content area on YouTube that can be branded for your station specifically. A branded channel also includes more functionality that can help you connect with your audience including the ability to include smart video titles, descriptions and tags/keywords to help you bring your video(s) to more YouTube users. 
  • Some benefits include being able to post much longer videos (as long as they are less than 1GB in file size), and the ability to use your own color scheme and graphics to surround your videos and playlists.

What are the benefits of using Flickr?

  • Flickr is one of the most popular photo sharing sites on the Web. One of Flickr’s main goals is to “help people make their content available to the people who matter to them.” For stations this can mean a lot of things.
  • Flickr is a great way to share photos from community events, fundraisers, behind-the-scenes, and anything else your station may be doing that your community is involved in.

How do I get started with Flickr?

  • Like the other social media sites we have discussed in this FAQ and during the webinar on October 8th, Flickr is incredibly easy to set up.
  • In fact, Flickr does not even require that you set up an entire profile. All Flickr requires is an email address. However, we recommend that you have a station profile – this will increase the chances of people finding your station online.
  • To create a Flickr account, go to www.flickr.com and click Sign Up on the top of the page. Fill in the information fields on the page and then click Sign up! You now have a Flickr account.

Is there a way I can bring Flickr to my station Web site instead of linking off to another site?

  • Yes, Engage is working on refining a “Flickr Factory” tool that will help you do just that. The tool allows you to search Flickr from within an administrative interface and select which images you want to appear in a gallery or slideshow on your own site. 
  • This is a great way to add images and some interactivity to your web presence without always sending your users directly to Flickr.