Connecting the Dots: Practical Applications and Lessons Learned Through Working With Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program
Connecting the Dots: Practical Applications and Lessons Learned Through Working With Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program is the fourth and final in a series of four blogs I have written about Red Cedar Chamber Music’s experience working with social media experts Greg Epstein and Andrew Nicholas through Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program (see previous blogs on April 4th, May 24th & June 21st). Note that Qwest is now CenturyLink and the name change will be finalized starting in August.
A quick word about how we got involved with this program. Back in February 2011 we needed a new internet service provider & signed up for Qwest’s Core Connect program for small businesses, which by the way has been a very reliable & cost effective program for our needs. Shortly thereafter, we got a call from Greg Epstein inviting us to participate in Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program, which is designed to help small businesses launch or enhance their internet marketing presence. We first worked with Greg who specializes in setting up social media sites like a blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts etc. We then switched to working with Andrew who has mentored us on how to write an effective blog, how to draw traffic to the blog and how to analyze the impact of the blog to see if we are getting a significant enough number of meaningful hits to warrant the time spent blogging. (To find out more specifics of what we have accomplished with Greg & Andrew, please read my first 3 Qwest blogs.)
We have been very satisfied with Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program and have really enjoyed working with Greg & Andrew who have gone out of their way to help us with all aspects of our internet presence and have truly helped us launch a more comprehensive and effective web presence. So here are some of the practical applications about which we feel really good!
- The Blog & its connection to other social media– Blogging has been the focus of our work with Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program and we are really pleased with its functionality (easy to use) and the fact that our blog posts automatically post on Twitter and Facebook as well using dlvr.it.
- Audio/Video presence – As a performing arts organization, Red Cedar Chamber Music is particularly interested in having a strong web presence that provides a high-quality and up-to-date representation of our product, which is the audio and video of our most recent performances. Through our Concert Series and Rural Outreach programs we premiere new music Red Cedar Chamber Music has commissioning, as well as reintroducing little-know early nineteenth century music to our audiences, and we want our Iowa audiences and the rest of the world to have access to this literature as soon as possible following our live performances. To facilitate this goal Greg helped us:
- Created and designed a bandcamp account – He recommended using bandcamp to upload our music at compact disc quality, opened an account and showed us how to create icons to allow visitors to play music from our bandcamp site directly on our website and blog.
- Showed us how to post audio as a Facebook post – Because Facebook only accepts mp3 files for audio, we can’t use our bandcamp site as an internet source for posting audio on Facebook, so Greg showed us how to upload our audio in mp3 format to our blog site. Our blog site then stores our mp3 audio and we can embed the link from our blog in our Facebook to create an audio post! See our Facebook posts of Stephen Foster tunes on 19th-c. period instruments from June 21st.
- Helped us embed audio & video clips on our homepage – We can now embed audio clips from our bandcamp site and video clips from our YouTube site onto the homepage of our website so visitors to our website can hear & view our music immediately!
- Use Google Analytics to Track Activity of our Blog – see my June 21st blog post Is Anybody Reading My Blog? How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog & Track the Results Using Google Analytics
What now? Okay, so now we can connect the dots! We have the sites – website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, bandcamp and YouTube, we have the ability to interconnect them and we have the tools to create effective blog posts, analyze traffic patterns to our blog & website and get up-to-date audio & video clips posted on our home page, our blog & our Facebook page. It is now up to us to keep our sites active by doing weekly blog posts and frequent Facebook posts. We also need to drive traffic to our blog and our other social media sites by actively seeking out and interacting with other social media sites that are thematically connected to our site. This is a way of getting to know our social media neighbors who are then likely to come calling at our sites due to the common interests we share.
What is really great for us is that while our 3-months of mentoring with Qwest’s Social Media Launchpad Program is officially over with this post (we’ve graduated), Andrew & Greg will still be available to answer our questions & offer advice. Wish us luck and we in turn hope our blogs have been of some help & inspiration in your quest (pun intended) to establish a more effective and broad based internet presence.
I invite you to return for my next blog on Iowa as a recording mecca for classical chamber music!