Archive | December, 2011

Storify… just a tad bit late.

10 Dec

So Storify is a great tool. My original story was something I was really proud of. It was all about November 11, 2011 and how people were reacting to it. I tried to send you the Google Chrome saved page because I really wanted you to see it. Alas, I couldn’t get it to work. Then I had to try and find all of the material again and it just wouldn’t let me search that far back.

I did however think of a new topic: Graduation. I pulled bits from across the web to see how people were reacting to graduating from college. I know that personally, I don’t want to graduate in the slightest. I now have one semester left. Ughhhh it is so terrifying.

I chose to focus on what the December graduates were feeling. Check out my story over yonder.

Project 2: Creating a Social Media Effort

1 Dec

When this topic was first assigned, I was wracking through my catalog of local organizations to figure out just what it was I would like to see myself doing. It was a total revelation when I stumbled upon the idea in the far reaches of my (fairly unique at times) brain. It would seem as though I constantly find myself going the more challenging route in this class-which is not necessarily a good thing (i.e. picking an extremely high profile campaign, finding a topic to use Storify that wasn’t to take place until the day after it was due, etc. ) Alas, when I find something that I’m passionate about or I believe I could learn more from I go with it. For this project, of course I went in that same direction. How is that you might ask? I chose to create a social media presence for my social sorority: Sigma Sigma Sigma. (Much information has been taken from my own head, but also the national website).

Tri Sigma, or Sigma Sigma Sigma  or ΣΣΣ  is a national American sorority with membership of more than 100,000 members. Sigma Sigma Sigma  hosts chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 89 alumnae chapters in communities all over the world. It was actually the first National Panhellenic Council sorority to open an international chapter, as well as a chapter exclusively for deaf persons.

Mission Statement and Values:

Sigma Sigma Sigma exists to provide a lifelong sorority experience for women through ensuring a perpetual bond of friendship, developing a strong womanly character, and promoting high standards of ethical conduct.

Sigma Sigma Sigma reaffirms its long standing core values of wisdom, power, faith, hope and love.

National Organization Motto:

The open motto to Sigma Sigma Sigma is “Ever Forward,” and is associated with our open symbol of a  sailboat. In Tri Sigma lore, the sailboat symbolizes continual forward motion- never moving backward, but progressing towards its destination.

Our closed (which is not official but embraced by all initiated members) motto is “Faithful Unto Death,” this motto is associated with our closed symbol of a skull and crossbones seen on a Tri Sigma badge.

Philanthropy:

The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed in 1984. The Foundation distributes funds for charitable, philanthropic, educational, and other benevolent purposes that focus its programs on the following categories: enhancing the leadership skills of modern-day women, providing grants and scholarships to students, and supporting play therapy programs for hospitalized children. The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation centers its latter philanthropic efforts around the theme “Sigma Serves Children,” specifically through the Robbie Page Memorial (RPM).

On September 15, 1951, Robbie Page, the son of Tri Sigma’s National President, died of  polio due to a complete lack of cure for the horrible disease. This prompted Robbie’s parents, Robert and Mary Hasting Holloway Page, to establish a memorial fund in honor of their son. Tri Sigma adopted the Robbie Page Memorial as its official philanthropy in 1954. In its early years, the RPM supported various polio research projects, including the Salk vaccine trials. The RPM now focuses on supporting play therapy for hospitalized children, and providing support for playrooms, libraries, and programs for children undergoing long-term hospital care. In the present day, many national efforts are geared towards funding fellowships at the Children’s Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and in funding graduate assistant-ships at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The National Therapeutic Recreation Society has recognized Sigma Sigma Sigma for their gracious support of Child Life and Play Therapy Programs.
At this point you may be confused-why is this in any way, shape, or form difficult? You obviously know a lot about it already. You would be correct in that assumption-I certainly do. I happen to already be the public relations chair for the group. Okay, Okay. Come on now. Difficult? The scoffing may have already started. However, when I took over the role of PR chair for the group I was specifically told not to do any sort of social media effort. OF COURSE I’LL GO AGAINST THE GRAIN IN THE GUISE OF A CLASS PROJECT. Problem? Our National Organization is one of the strictest of any Greek organization on this campus and arguably in the National Panhellenic Council (the governing body of all national social sororities, duh ;)). There is lots of paperwork and a somewhat vigorous approval process for anything to have the Tri Sigma name, letters or insignia attached to it.

Prime example?  A little singer named Carrie Underwood…you may have heard of her. Well, she was a Tri Sigma in her undergrad and wanted to be portrayed as such on her American Idol stint. She wasn’t initially approved, but then she was making extreme headway and  our National Organization decided-huh- why not. She’s beautiful and she may win. She was finally granted permission to classify herself as Sigma on the world’s stage. She even made a video in which she flashes her letters-blink and you will surely miss it. Kind of puts who stingy Nationals can be into perspective. Anywho, I decided I was going to attempt and have Nationals approve. To say they are picky about what goes on the internet with the Tri Sigma name attached is about as much of an understatement as calling the Pope religious.

It looks like the next PR chair will get that approval for a social media presence for next semester. In the mean time, I’m going to make it so simple for them when they take over my position. I’ve created a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account (though none of them are actually live yet) with all the fixings- you know-pictures, background images, the like. All of our social media efforts must continue to have the chapter name of Alpha Phi in all of their info and/or their name if possible. This creates a nice congruence and will hopefully play a part in better use of search engine optimization. The host sites I’ve chosen are the three most used apps on mobile phones in my chapter-we happen to be especially obsessed with Twitter. The mobile apps of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are among the most established and tend to run more smoothly than most. I though they were perfect for tackling the issue of increased mobile usage over traditional computer usage. Also, every social media effort will always have a positive tone, not cheeky or sarcastic, and the posting shouldn’t be aggressive in nature (in tone or in frequency).  I’ve created content calendars, strategies and tactics, target audiences to keep in mind, things to make sure the new PR chair monitors and some specific ideas for the new semester.

The Facebook plan of action:

Target Audiences:

  • Alumnae of the Alpha Phi Chapter
  • Potentially General Tri Sigma Alumnae
  • Potential New Members
  • National Organization
  • Active Members of Alpha Phi
  • Potentially General Active Tri Sigma Sisters

What needs to be recognized is that Facebook, more than the other two avenues, is going to have conflicting target audiences. What alumnae need to know and what actives need to know are vastly different in some cases. For example, Facebook will be a great tool to seek alumnae donations. Giving an update on what the chapter is currently doing will make the alumnae feel more involved and somewhat included in the goings on of the active chapter. Many Alpha Phi alum frequently relive their glory days and would do just about anything to be back there. Our chapter is especially competitive in what’s called Greek Week-coming up in the spring semester- and we always have been. A lot of the time, chapter alumnae will donate money to our chapter on behalf of Greek Week: money for bomb costumes and props during mock rock or maybe even send in lots of canned food if a food drive were to be part of the competition. Because I was once Alumnae Chair of our chapter and had to literally relay everything via an email list or a once-a-month newsletter, it was not easy to make the alumnae feel all that involved. The Facebook page would be a perfect opportunity to do so.

The other great thing about a “Like” page is to show our National Organization we are on track with Accreditation Standards. Creating posts about programs we put on as a part the Accreditation regime are a way to engage in conversation and show we are an organization not just about partying and meeting boys. For instance, SAPA recently came to our meeting to have a discussion about sexual assault on campus and what you can do to avoid being a dreaded “zebra.” This program is gaining lots of momentum on the national scale and it would be great for a fellow CMU RSO to support it publicly. Mention of diversity or alcohol awareness programs are also a good way to engage  in an enlightening discussion via social media. Most important of all to promote on the sites are our philanthropic efforts. Every fall we have a BBQ and at the very least a status and photo album needs to be dedicated to it. In the spring, which is when this plan is for, it would be ideal to promote our Annual Teddy Bear Drive. It would be cool to have a little companion piece about the sisters taking the teddy bears to the local hospitals (photos to Facebook, live tweeting during the visit as well as a YouTube video capturing some of the children playing with the bears. It would be the perfect opportunity to integrate all of our social media efforts into a great multimedia package.

From a recruitment standpoint, we always want our chapter to look the most appealing to potential new members. A steady Facebook posting climate conveys a sense of love and involvement within the group. Like I mentioned prior, PNM’s loooooooooove pictures. I know because I was one. Human beings are fickle creatures-we like to make snap judgments. The more pretty pictures of sisters, hugging, laughing or even crying together in cool, fun settings, the more intriguing we seem to the recruits. Creating the page in the spring will be perfect because we most likely won’t have a spring recruitment, so if it is up and established by the time next fall rolls around we won’t have to face a recruitment infraction from CMU’s Panhellenic Board for creating an excessive recruitment tool in the fall. Recruitment is literally everything to the survival of a Greek group on any campus. We must reach our quota of 70 (sometimes we are allowed to have more under special circumstances) to fulfill our chapter needs locally and nationally. Facebook is a great tool in recruitment as we are well aware that most people, especially in the demographic we are seeking, garner their information from Facebook.

To offset the problem with actives needing a separate place to chat, a private group, called “Secret Sister Society” (though if anyone knew I gave you this link, I’d have some serious s’plainin’ to do, like Lucy, so keep it hush hush :)) was created for active sisters and active sisters only. If you do decide to click on it, you’ll notice there is only 73 members, which is our current total. Nothing we wouldn’t want Nationals to see is on that page-everything we post about is very G-rated. Even in a secret group Nationals technically can’t have access to will never have anything compromising published on it. It is a great outlet however, so that active sisters can all mass communicate things at once in real-time as opposed to waiting for chapter meeting once a week and it wouldn’t clog up the “Like” page which virtually anyone with computer access would be able to witness.

Problems with a Facebook Like Page to think about in posting:

Everything that is published on the internet has to be taken with extreme consideration. Our national organization must at all times be at the forefront of our actions-it becomes a risk management issue. The risk manager of our chair already has the hefty task of constantly searching active sisters profiles for inappropriate material. We as an organization are not allowed to have any sort of social with another group with alcohol involved- at all. By national policy, any event where there are five active Sigma sisters present is considered an official Sigma event and requires all of the risk management paperwork. No statues, album names, and certainly no pictures are allowed to have any sort of alcohol presence or refer to alcohol in any way. It will be the responsibility of the next PR chair to monitor everything that is being posted on the wall and be sure to never use the Facebook page as a way to inform the chapter of the date and times of any sort of social event. Aside from semi-formals and formals, which are allowed, but no details should ever be placed about it. A generic “Have fun at Semi-Formal tonight sisters and guests!” is acceptable. Pictures taken at semi-formals and formals are also great for the page (in terms of recruitment purposes, recruitment and even Nationals) IF AND ONLY IF sisters do not look inebriated in any form in them. Pre-pre-drink pictures would be fantastic. None from the rest of the event. Comments need to be constantly monitored for appropriateness as well as wall posts including videos, etc. If the content is either obscene or in someway challenging the views of the national organization it will have to be removed. Fluency Media upholds that only relevant content to followers should be visible on the page.

Content Calendar:

January- Welcome back posts are an obvious kick-off. But this is also a perfect opportunity to have some Tri Sigma trivia posts as it is the first time (ideally) this page will be seeing some action in terms of relevant users “liking” it. Local history and/0r Sigma history in general would be good to use during this time period. Examples:

  •  Tri Sigma maintains chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 88 alumnae chapters in communities around the world.
  • Tri Sigma was the first sorority to create accreditation standards for chapters.
  • Tri Sigma was the first sorority to create a 6-8 week new member period.
  • Tri Sigma donated all of the childern’s play wings in the movie Patch Adams.
  • Carrie Underwood, Grammy award winning singer, ACM Entertainer of the Year ’09, and Tri Sigma alumna, spoke at the 2007 National Convention, held in Nashville, TN.
  • Prior to membership in NPC, Tri Sigma was part of the AES (Association of Educational Sororities)
  • Tri Sigma was the first NPC sorority to have a chapter in Alaska.  Sigma currently has two chapters there.
  • In 1991, the Epsilon Psi chapter was the first deaf chapter in the NPC.  The chapter was installed at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.
  • In 2001, Tri Sigma was the first sorority to have an international chapter.

February- Should be devoted to populating the page with pictures. Pictures and more pictures are Facebook’s greatest asset. Especially from a recruitment aspect. I have a CD full of fall recruitment pictures just begging to be uploaded. Here the perfect situation would be to find alumnae who are willing to put up pictures from their active time in the group-it would be fantastic to see the history of our chapter, especially whenever Timeline decides to make its grand appearance. Make sure to comment back to inevitable Facebook comments-especially those from alumnae. Keep those relationships fostered in case of future need.

March-GREEK WEEK, GREEK WEEK, GREEK WEEK. Any updates that are appropriate for the web need to be shared. Though we would never give out practice time and details of our ideas for the week (as I mentioned prior, we are highly, highly competitive) posts about how things are going, who is winning and what the competitions are every day would be ideal. This is most likely the time to be the most annoying with the posts, but anyone who would be willing enough to “Like” Tri Sigma Alpha Phi on Facebook would be absolutely eating this sort of stuff up- I can promise you that. Posts about being safe on spring break and wishing a Happy St. Patrick’s day are recommended as well. They can be opportunities for followers to offer feedback. Where are you going on spring break? Volunteering, somewhere warm, somewhere foreign? If you don’t have a spring break, where would you go? Or for instance on St. Patrick’s Day: Obviously Sigmas are a bigger fan of purple, but how are you wearing your green today? Those can be tricky for college students and alcohol, but proper moderation and an understanding from actives would ensure a lack of inappropriate posts.

April- April would be a good time to start to recognize the seniors going through send-on at the end of the semester. Having a different post about sisters and their collegiate accomplishments would be a nice gesture for those women as well as a great show of sisterhood publicly.

May- Give updates on closing the semester as well as highlighting past and present accomplishments of Sigmas.

Summer- Another time for random information to be posted to hopefully spur some engagement. Questions like “What does Ever Forward mean to you?” or “What’s your Sigma Story?” are relevant posts. Report any relevant Sigma news that may occur during the time frame (always consider this tactic-don’t want to waste an opportunity).

Overall Facebook Strategies and Tactics to consider:

We are not a brand page. Loyalty posts are not all that important to use. Increasing “Likes” is not even that relevant. Keep in mind how often posts are going to be. In my opinion, a few times a week will certainly suffice and only if these posts are about current goings on or posts that directly require interaction. Once a day would be too much-unless of course our chapter was in the middle of a very significant event on campus: traditional, new or spontaneous. Facebook’s strong point is pictures, pictures, and more pictures. We are all visual individuals and you have to give the people what they want. Of the three social media sites, Facebook will most likely be the most involved and used by a wide variety of our target audiences.

Twitter plan of action:

Since this particular site is so popular with our active sisters, I want it to be the main source of getting the word out about events to sisters. Dates, times, locations of meetings, etc. are all appropriate on this venue. Meaningful Sigma news is also a great place to use Twitter. These posts can be everyday, a few times a day-but I highly doubt it will see that kind of frequency at first. It is best to create #’s that may be picked up for other Sigma chapters. For example, create a hashtag like #youknowyoureasigmawhen and see where the conversation leads. Ideally, I would love to use our Twitter handle to create a “Tweet Up” of Michigan Chapters and reference the national Twitter page in this event as well. I think orchestrating this sort of event would land us an article in our national newsletter, The Triangle, for sure. If I were still PR chair, I would have my Triangle writer do it herself. I didn’t create a specific content calendar for Twitter because it will all be very much as events happen, events I’m not sure of when the dates are yet. Twitter will also be a great place to ask what kind of careers Sigmas may want in the future, and to start a conversation that may result in a professional development opportunity. Though I don’t want to cater to alumnae on this platform, it would be beneficial to seek them out in a purely networking fashion. If we can somehow get an active sister advice or even an internship from Twitter, it would be well worth it.

Target Audiences:

  • Active Members
  • National Organization
  • Potential Alumnae to serve as Mentors to Actives

How I envision Twitter is a way to network between active members of our own chapter and active members around the country. I want it to be fun and informative-but still obviously appropriate. The information given across the platform should reflect the needs and wants of an active Sigma Sigma Sigma sister. I included the nationals in the audiences because they come along with the territory. While I would like to see Facebook as a means of impressing them, I see Twitter as more of a tool for actives that just needs to pass national’s standards. The potential alumnae serving as mentors comes into play for networking purposes, as I mentioned earlier. Like I said, catering to that audience isn’t really what Twitter would be about- it is all about the actives.

Potential Problems in the Twitterverse:

These tend to be more commonsensical than Facebook, because Twitter is a bit more relaxed. I mean, come on. It’s acceptable to use abbreviations to get your point across. But I’ll be a broken record here: No content nationals can use against us.

Overall Twitter Strategies and Tactics:

Be playful, constant and put the active sisters first. Keep up with the Sigma know and post articles and links and other multimedia relevant to the Sigma conversation.

YouTube plan of action:

Overall YouTube Strategy:

Use as a Recruitment tool.

Target Audience:

Potential New Members

Tactics:

A web series of entitled “Your Sigma Story.” It is a great way for Sigma’s to show a little of what the group is all about on a personal level, without a new member ever having to step through the incredibly intimidating door. These videos will show sisters how they really are, not done up to the nines, in a name tag, all wearing the exact same outfit and having a freakish smile ever present. To me these videos will give potential new members a sense of what our group  is: real. It may even make them feel more comfortable when if they do decide to go through recruitment. They’ve seen what we look like on a normal day, heard that we loved our group so much we were willing to share it with the entire internet. Heck, maybe even seeing a familiar face will make them feel more at home in our house. Here are two examples that I have already (and somewhat illegally, I might add) put up on the YouTube channel:

Here is Bre…she’s from my Fall 08′ new member class.

This is Courtney. She is one of my best friend’s and also my roommate.

Problems that may arise with YouTube:

The biggest one I can think of is inappropriate comments being made on the videos. It is something the PR chair will have to monitor.

Well there you have it! My social media ramblings. This is my own little communication plan for the Sigma Sigma Sigma social media efforts at Central Michigan University. Hopefully they piqued your interest at least a tad!

This was one of the coolest classes I’ve ever taken and I want to thank you for all you’ve taught us. Go onward and Tweet!

Peace. Love. Chippewas.