Thursday, February 11, 2010

6 Powerful Social Media Persuasion Techniques – For Educators

In the last year, we have been making a push to build our online learning community. We think this would be an invaluable resource for our consortium members. In the process, we have been trying several social media tools to see which we think will be a good fit. We have an Eighth Floor group on Facebook, we have a Ning site, we have a Twitter account, and we have a blog and wiki. The blog and wiki we have had for about 4 years –they are hardly new and are essentially serving their purpose already. We are really leaning toward the ning site as the hub for our learning community. . I am curious if you can guess why?

So, here’s the thing - that cute little saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Not so much - I’m just sayin’. Right now we have 59 members on our ning site. I love and appreciate every single one of those 59 members – they are AWESOME. (that last statement will be kind of funny in a couple of paragraphs) But we need more! We have a large consortium. Where are the people that are supposed to come?

In an effort to figure out what we could be doing, I have been reading some different blogs lately. One, which I quite like, is The Social Media Examiner. (Author Jeff Sexton) It is more business oriented, but sometimes it is easier to find the answers in the business world and then translate them into education world. Today’s post was particularly interesting for my purposes: 6 Powerful Social Media Persuasion Techniques. Translated, that means, how do I get people to come once I have build it?

Let’s take a look at the six powerful techniques. I encourage you to read the article for yourself, but I am going to translate this into “education world” and share, because if I am nothing else, I am a sharerer. For those of you also struggling with the whole “what’s wrong with my learning community and am I being heard by ANyONE” – maybe this will help?

1. Recipication: This is all about acknowledging and validating the people who do show up. When someone joins your community, you should welcome them and invite them to the conversation. If someone comments on a blog or discussion, you should acknowledge – even expand on –their contribution. Nurture your community.

2. Commitment & Consistency: simple – be committed and be consistent. Continue to remind them in creative ways why this site is valuable them. Send the members a special message every so often. Provide perks for them, such as first crack at new classes or the first to have new information. Make “things” easier for them – create an inside track. Choose a social media platform and stick with it. Be regular in your interaction, be present.

3. Social Proof: this boils down to being valid and sound. Build social validity. See what others like you are doing – what makes them successful. What can you do that others might mimic?

4. Liking: exhibit good intentions. Be likable – be attractive – be for good, not evil. Align yourself with what you feel is positive or good in your area of focus. Be easy to digest and interact with – not complicated. Have a variety of topics to appeal to the variety of people in your community and to those you wish to attract.

5. Authority: exhibit expertise. Cross your I’s and dot your T’s (smile). Check your facts, make sense, be legitimate, and be credible. Not surprisingly, size contributes to authority. The more people who connect with your community, the more authority it has. To me, that’s a little bit of a catch 22 situation – you need people to be authoritative, but you can’t get people unless you are authoritative – you get the idea.

6. Scarcity: offer something there is only a little of. That could be anything that is of value to your community, be it knowledge, information, access, etc. Offer a prize, a contest, a guest spot as a blogger . . . (*crickets*).

Is the Eighth Floor doing all of this, do you think?

In the business world, online learning networks are key. If you need to know something, this is how you find it. Slowly, the same is becoming true in education, really. If I want to know what the latest information is, I hit an online community. This is how your students get their information. It’s not wrong – it’s what it is.

Just out of curiosity, what would it take to get you into an online learning community today – say the
Eighth Floor ning site?

Just thinkin’
Lee Anne

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