According to an article in the Guardian, MySpace is now less than have the size of Facebook. It says, “MySpace had 124 million monthly unique visitors last month, a decline of 2%, according to the marketing research company comScore. Facebook, by contrast, racked up 276 million unique visitors, an increase of 16.6%.”
What is LinkedIn?
- A site for professional networking
- Users post resumes, recommend colleagues’ job skills
- Has more than 36 million members
- Organizations create groups to bring together people who want to be associated with their brand
Examples: Uses of LinkedIn
- For Q&A opportunities
- Monitor the competition
- Facilitate networking
- Provide profile information, like statistics, demographics, key links
Examples: UW on LinkedIn
- University of Washington (Seattle, Bothell)
- Foster School
- UW Medicine
- School of Law
- Alumni Group (not run by UWAA)
- Use print if:
- It has shelf-life value
- Absolute consistency of appearance is important
- You know your audience doesn’t use or doesn’t respond well to e-mail
- Use e-mail if:
- The turnaround time is tight
- Money is tight
- You need to contact your audience frequently
Factors to Consider
- Before you go for the “cheaper” e-mail solution, talk to Kathy Hoggan about ways to do print economically
- Do a hybrid approach:
- Small print run for high-value, non-technical target audience
- Send e-mail to everybody
- Get feedback:
- Ask your constituents how they want to receive info
- Keep an eye on e-mail performance metrics; make sure it’s helping you achieve your goals
- How many e-mail addresses do you have?
- Can your audience receive HTML e-mail?
- Most e-mail programs can
- But Outlook blocks images by default
- What about WebPine? Percentages of WebPine use*:
- UW Staff: 76%
- UW Faculty: 69%
- UW Grad Students: 60%
- UW Undergrads: 54%
Build a solid brand infrastructure and use it for everything
The RBI brand and messaging should be consistently displayed throughout the Web site and its content. The use of standardized templates and design elements will reinforce the brand and enhance the overall image of the UW. Every page should have the same skin and consistent positioning of key elements so that access to information is easy and quick and the user will know where to find key information.
Well-written stories that capture the brand message and feature the work being done offer the opportunity to “capture the moment of decision.” The also give the user the ability to individualize their content. Highly visible “Give To” buttons should be displayed in the same location so users are always just one click away from making a donation when the “moment of decision” happens.
Traditional printed material should have the same brand and messaging consistency and should always direct the reader back to the Web site for information and action. (Note: traditional Obama bumper stickers, campaign posters and lapel buttons clearly featured the campaign Web site as the primary source of information, not a phone number or mailing address). The Web site, therefore, becomes the source of all information, not just another information channel.
The site content must be user-driven
Everything on the site should be structured, organized and built in a way that allows the user to define what information is important to them (and actionable!) and where they are going to get it. Multiple ways of navigating (hot links, top navigation bars, side bars and search engines) will make it easy for anyone to find their way based on their personal interests.
Functionality must allow for content to be personalized or individualized as well as permit seamless interaction with various mobile devices. Clean, user-driven, believable content is critical. Create functionality around geography, demographics, interest groups, etc., and allow group members to populate the site with information according to their interests.
Your marketing efforts have to be viewed as a total system that incorporates all of the Web 2.0 tools. Don’t view mobile communication devices, for instance, as “add on” features. The Obama campaign utilized virtually every tool available in the Web 2.0 toolkit, giving the user total control over how to consume the information and interact with the site.
Assume there is no cohesiveness of thought and/or action among your target audience – assume that everyone belongs to a splinter group of one. Note: the Obama campaign leveraged more than 5,000 “community” groups – each bonded by geography, occupation, special interest groups, age, gender, life stage, etc. – to spread their message.
Provide content in formats that can be used on mobile devices
Even though UW messaging might not be as compelling as the politics of the moment, iPod/MP3-like devices and iPhones are growing in popularity and content should be designed and coded to be compatible with numerous mobile formats. All information on those applications must be menu driven and be capable of individualization. One of the most popular applications of the Obama campaign was the MyBarackObama downloadable iPhone application available from Apple’s App Store. Users could easily access information and content from anywhere, pass it along to others and personalize updates, etc.
Empower individual users through social networks
Viral fund raising is gaining momentum and rapidly becoming the new standard in the educational community. The user must be empowered to manage his or her own content and encouraged to share it with friends in whatever way they choose. Creating “Share This with Friends” real estate on each page (links, tiles, buttons, switches, etc.) in the same place each time makes that easier. Several vendors currently make this technology available.
On the fund-raising side, the “ask” should increasingly be tied to specific issues, events, human interest stories or individual objectives of members of a social network. Also, as mentioned above, it should be “up front” and in the same place on every page. Note: this strategy was developed by Obama pre-campaign advisers as early as four years prior to announcing his candidacy, making it an integral part of his overall strategy, not just another “after the fact” information channel.
Videos on Facebook (and other social networking sites) allow “personal appearances” everywhere at virtually the same time, creating a timely, inexpensive, yet personalized marketing opportunity.
Note: All of these social networking tools allow a sort of “power to the people” mentality to virally spread “the word.” However, remember that none of them is necessarily technology-driven, but more philosophy inspired.
Embrace a 21st century communication strategy and concentrate resources on executing new media strategies and tactics as perfectly and seamlessly as possible. Marketing strategists, political experts and even technology professionals all seem to agree that the most distinguishing characteristic of the Obama campaign phenomenon was not the technology, but an almost flawless execution of available technology tools.
For more information and examples of the items cited above, visit www.MyBarackObama.com.
What URL – uniform resource locator – should I use for my Web site?
Ideally, all University of Washington Web sites should be part of the “edu” domain. This affords credibility and authenticity in a world where Web naming can be confusing and even misleading. It also celebrates the vastness of the UW family. The UW’s major top-level URLs include: www.washington.edu, uwmedicine.washington.edu, admit.washington.edu. URLs also can have other extensions, including .org, .com, .net , .us. Keep in mind that the extension on a URL conveys information about what kind of site it is (commercial, organization, etc.) Give some thought to what the extension says about your site before deciding to use something other than .edu.
How are URLs assigned?
The UW has clusters of servers used for different purposes, and the URL of a Web page will be assigned depending on where the Web page lives. It’s complex, but works well. Here’s a peek behind the scenes: http://www.washington.edu/webinfo/behind/
The UW home page lives on the “Bank” server, which also is home to top-level administrative pages. These pages start with www.washington.edu and have a top-level directory in which to upload the Web pages. For example, www.washington.edu/president and www.washington.edu/provost
Many departments, schools and programs are on “Homer:” http://depts.washington.edu. Staff pages can be found at http://staff.washington.edu. There also is http://courses.washington.edu and http://faculty.washington.edu. And those are just the UW servers. Some departments have their own servers, which can affect their naming schemes.
My URL is cumbersome. Can I shorten/change it?
Masking: The UW Technology URL Forwarding and URL Masking Service enables you use a customized domain name for your Web site. For example, College of the Environment Web pages are on Homer and are uploaded to this URL: http://depts.washington.edu/coenv/ But the public Web address has been “masked” to this simpler URL: http://coenv.washington.edu
Forwarding: You can also “forward” a longer Web address to a shorter one. For example, http://depts.washington.edu/yourdepartment/ could be forwarded to http://yourdepartment.washington.edu
To better understand the differences between the two services, visit http://www.washington.edu/computing/web/publishing/url-forwarding.html
Is there a cost associated with changing a URL?
UW Technology charges $50 a year for each custom domain name added to its URL Forwarding or Masking Services. (Amount current as of February 2009.) For details, updated information and to request the service, go to http://www.washington.edu/computing/web/publishing/url-forwarding.html
Does the UW have Web style guidelines and standards?
The University of Washington, as part of a Reputation Building Initiative, is working on a comprehensive style guide with information on preferred fonts, colors, layouts, photo use, messaging, etc., for both print and Web. The projected roll out of the style guide is mid-2009.
The new style guide will reflect an updated look and feel for the UW. A new logo (”Block W”) and new “word marks” already have been approved. To learn more — and to download art packs — go to: https://www.washington.edu/externalaffairs/uwmarketing/RBI/logos.html (Net ID required).
Please note: The old “column” logo has been retired and you are encouraged to begin using the Block W and new word mark immediately on all of your Web sites, print publications, etc.
The value of a UW style guide
Pros: A consistent style distinguishes a page as UW authentic and conveys credibility, reliability and authority. The new style guidelines will help achieve a common look and feel, enhancing the university’s reputation and standing as a world-class higher education institution.
Cons: Some owners of UW Web pages want to retain their “identity.”
Flexibility: The new style guidelines are intended to be flexible, and options will be available to use standard “headers” at the top of your existing pages (new logo and basic site-wide navigation). In addition, UW Marketing will work with individual units to see if a hybrid is possible to elevate the stature of both individual units and the UW while preserving your identity.
Getting Started on the Web
The new style guidelines will be available in mid-2009. More specific information will be released as it becomes available through the UW Web Council and the Marketing Roundtable. The new guidelines will replace (and in some technical cases supplement) existing Web guidelines that were published a number of years ago. The old “webguides” still have some valuable information about how the UW Web works, including:
- Request an account: http://www.washington.edu/webguides/guidelines/start.html
- Installing – making your pages public: http://www.washington.edu/webguides/guidelines/install.html
- Guidelines for mailto forms: http://www.washington.edu/webguides/guidelines/forms/
- Accessibility guidelines: http://www.washington.edu/accessibility/
- Developer information: http://www.washington.edu/webinfo/
- Writing a privacy statement: http://www.washington.edu/webguides/guidelines/forms/privacy.html
- Free html editor with built-in Tidy: http://www.chami.com/html-kit/tools/
- Html tidy (clean up code): http://www.washington.edu/webinfo/tidy.cgi
- Finding broken links: http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html
- Setting up a random image and link: http://www.computerhope.com/j18.htm
Examples of the new logo and wordmark
The UW home page (http://www.washington.edu) and top-level administrative pages (http://www.washington.edu/president etc.) already have adopted the new logo (Block W) and wordmark. Other schools, departments, units have as well. Examples:
- Arts & Sciences: http://www.artsci.washington.edu/ (full header)
- College of the Environment: http://coenv.washington.edu/ (thin header)
- School of Social Work: http://depts.washington.edu/sswweb/
- Diversity: http://www.washington.edu/diversity/
- Public Records: http://depts.washington.edu/pubrec/index.shtml
Also see: Naming Web sites/selecting URLs
What is a blog?
A blog, which is short for Web log, has about as many different uses and formats as there are users — and there are millions. Blogs typically consist of regular posts on a subject, issue, topic or theme (think online journal) and include images and links to other blogs or Web content. Many blogs are interactive – they are open to comments from readers.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Blogs are an ideal way to communicate information quickly and simply, and they are Web savvy. Once set up, you do not need to know html (Web coding), and often blogs have built-in tools to easily add Web 2.0 (multimedia) and to share with social networks (Facebook, etc.). Blogs can work well for a niche audience (a class, for example)
Cons: To be valuable and sustain your audience, blogs should be updated regularly and kept current. This is a negative only if you are unable or unwilling to keep your blog fresh. Also, there are so many blogs that yours will have to be compelling/relevant to gain a foothold.
How do I start a blog?
You will need software and server space for your blog. WordPress is one common blog platform. Many UW blogs run on the WordPress platform on UW servers. UW Technology does not support WordPress, but has good instructions on how to set it up: http://www.washington.edu/computing/web/publishing/wordpress.html
Consult your IT department or Web developer for technical help. If you don’t have either of those, find a UW blog you like and ask the author how s/he did it. Some UW bloggers use Wordypress (http://wordyblog.com/), which will host WordPress blogs for a fee, and Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/start) , which is free. There are many other blog options and many solutions. We do not recommend one over the other, but have found UW bloggers to be very willing to share their experience and advice.
When does it make sense to use a blog?
Blogs are ideal vehicles to communicate regularly with classes, groups, stakeholders or any clearly defined audience that shares a common need, interest, passion or desire to follow a blog about a given subject, theme, etc. When deciding whether to start a blog, consider whether your target audience has the commitment, desire and/or need to follow your blog regularly. A blog written for an audience that doesn’t exist is a personal diary. Make sure you understand the differences before venturing into the blogosphere.
Examples of UW blogs that show different uses
- Law School: http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/blogswa.html
- Computer Science & Engineering: http://ugradnews.cs.washington.edu/
- KEXP: http://blog.kexp.org/blog/
- Oren Sreebny staff blog: http://staff.washington.edu/oren/blog/
Learn more about blogs and blogging
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN2I1pWXjXI
- WordPress: http://codex.wordpress.org/Introduction_to_Blogging
- Knight Digital Media Center: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050929/
- Google search: http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3A+blog&rls=com.microsoft:*:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7