Getting Social in Sreeattle: Social Media Tips and Advice from Sree Sreenivasan

Above: Sree Sreenivasan speaking at the Seattle Art Museum (Image: Samantha Hautea)

There is no shortage of agencies, websites and blogs that offer up social media advice, but sometimes it helps to hear it from the mouths of the experts themselves. On January 7, Sree Sreenivasan social media powerhouse and Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), spoke to a crowded auditorium at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). His talk, “Sleepless in Sreeattle: A Night of Social Media,” was a one-night event covering all things social media.

The event, hosted by the Communication Leadership graduate program at the University of Washington and SAM, focused on mobile technologies. Given this focus, it was no surprise that Sree presented the entire lecture from an iPhone 6 Plus using Google Slides. The presentation, also available online, provided a wealth of useful tips.

Tip 1 – ABC and SAA: Always Be Collecting and Share as Appropriate

Before joining the team at the MET, Sree spent 21 years at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he eventually became the university’s first Chief Digital Officer in the Provost’s office in 2012. It’s clear that the ever-vigilant journalist in him is alive and well: One of his first pieces of social media advice came in the form of two acronyms: ABC and SAA. ABC stands for “always be collecting” and SAA, “share as appropriate.” More specifically:

  • ABC: Document anything and everything, whether it be photographs, quotes, video clips or any other pieces of micro-content. After all, you never know when you may need the content.
  • SAA: Just because you collect it, doesn’t mean you have to share it. Adopt a strategic approach to posting anything on social channels.

Tip 2 – Know Your Audience

Sree emphasized social media as a distinct and powerful storytelling strategy. Social media is a two-way conversation between the content creators and their audience, and knowing your social channel’s audience well is a key to producing relevant content that resonates. “I think of my job title as Chief Listening Officer,” Sree says. “My job is to tell one million stories about one million pieces of art to one billion people.”

As many social marketers know, that is no easy task. The Met has a team of two social media specialists who maintain an array of social media channels, including an Instagram account and a YouTube channel with more than 26,000 subscribers and 15 million views. Although Sree says that the Met is quick to investigate any new emerging social platforms, in many ways the social landscape of 2015 looks much like it did in 2006: Email newsletters, blogging and podcasting are still a social marketer’s best friend.

The Met on Instagram

The Met maintains a savvy presence across multiple social channels (Image courtesy of Sree Sreenivasan)

Tip 3 – Review Your Content Carefully Before Posting

The Met’s team uses platforms such as Hootsuite and SocialFlow to post content around the clock, but even then it’s important to recognize that almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media … Unless you make a mistake.

With that in mind, Sree recommends having a careful review process in place. Take the time to revise, review and reread content before you post it on any channel, especially for channels that have a large following.

Tip 4 – Reuse Your Content

Because the pace of content on social media moves so quickly, Sree also recommends reposting, repurposing and resurfacing older content to introduce it to a new audience. Chances are they missed it the first time anyway, and it’s also a great way to fill out an editorial calendar in a pinch.

Tip 5 – Make Your Digital Content So Good They’ll Want to Visit in Person

Above all, Sree says that he never loses sight of his primary mission: To make the Met’s social media channels so enticing that people want to see the art and artifacts in person.

“My goal is to connect the physical to digital, the in-person and the online experience,” Sree says. “We want to make the digital experience so good that people want to come see it for real.”

Sree’s Favorite Social Tools, Websites and Apps

For those looking for a quick rundown of recommendations, here are a few of Sree’s top choices:

Canva: An easy-to-use tool for creating blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers and more

Fotor: A free online photo editor

Twitter Analytics: A Twitter add-in that provides metrics for individual tweets

Rapportiv: An add-on for Gmail that displays information about contacts when you view their messages

Boomerang for Gmail: A tool that lets you schedule when you send and receive email messages

Bananatag: An email tracking tool

IFTTT: A service that lets you create connections between apps or websites

TripIt: An app that organizes travel itinerary plans all in one clean, smooth interface

TimeHop: An app that resurfaces your social media content from a year ago or more.

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