#TBOS Rory Cooper – The Heritage Foundation and Social Media (@AmericanU

Rory Cooper – Director of Strategic Communications, The Heritage Foundation 

Social Media isn’t about getting the most followers. It is about engaging people in topics you care about.

The Like Button is a starting point for a conversation.  How will you interact with the people you connect with.

How do you deal with the believers and non-believers.

Facebook growth far surpasses any previous media channel. 

The point is to work out how to interact with the people who have connected with Facebook. 

Facebook >500M users
50% log on every day.
Heritage Foundation has over 301,000 fans. This is 50% more than the RNC (200k) and DNC (209k).

People connect on networks like Facebook to do something.

Twitter has 175M users (growing at 300k/day.

@Heritage has 106,000 followers and growing.

Twitter is THE place for breaking news, #mobilization and online debate.

First thing Rory did when joining Heritage was to turn off the auto feed and instead engage in conversations, answering questions.

Twitter is a source of information on what candidates, organizations, congress members and the White House are doing.

In Wisconsin both sides of the debate are engaging using the same hashtag. 

Heritage has 115M impression in Q3-4/2010. 400K clicked through to the web site. 550k clicked though to the web site from Twitter in the same period.

YouTube. 50k people watched a video on the Wisconsin public union dispute. YouTube is the big player in presidential debates, press briefings. YouTube will become even more important in the run up to the next presidential election.

Video brings accountability. Everybody is videoing themselves and their opponents. Less is going on behind the shadows.

There are many more choices of social media outside the big three (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube). Pick a couple of the outliers. Understand where your audience is.

Bloggers are new media with substantial influence. Heritage meets with bloggers in a round table every week.

Email is still relevant. The morning Bell newsletter is a daily email with 170k readers and a 35% open rate.

Success requires:
– Engaging with a community
– Get feedback from them
– Stop what doesn’t work

The channel (F-T-Y)  doesn’t matter – the people that use these channels will still be around regardless of which channels survive.

Heritage’s bloggers are their policy people. They have realized that they get more exposure through blogging than through just a white paper.

Most of 300k FB fans are from organic growth. FB ads were used to get about 1,500 users but can be highly targeted.

Heritage is developing a process to identify their “Super users” i.e. the high impact  influencers.

A blogger or Social Media Influencer can be far more powerful than a regular journalist.
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