Notes from Austin Community College's Spring Development Day

Thank you to all who attended my “Screenager Classroom Engagement Tactics" workshop at Austin Community College's "Spring Development Day" today!

It was a pleasure to meet new faces and engage in conversation around utilizing Instagram and Snapchat in classroom activities. 

 Here are a few takeaways from today's session:

  • We discussed the three most popular platforms/apps used by "screenagers" today: Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Although Facebook has the highest userbase, they also have the lowest DAU (daily active user) count, since "Mom's now on Facebook."
  • I recommend using Snapchat and Instagram to host in-class Q&A exercises and group discussions. Create a "Professor Smith" account to establish a clear boundary between in-class activities and your own personal account. 
  • Consider creating a "Social Media Classroom Code of Conduct" contract or guideline sheet for students to sign. This will encourage a sense of responsibility in using a "fun" app for classwork. Here's an example of a social media guideline/code of conduct that's worked well for my clients in the past
  • Remember, always get the proper permissions before starting any activity involving social media in the classroom. Depending on your role and the age of your students, this could look like gaining approval from a department head or requiring written parental consent. 

Again, thanks to all attendees today! If you couldn't make the session, or are interested in having me present to your group or organization, feel free to contact me to chat about a collaboration. 

Austin Community College "Spring Development Day" Presentation

I'm pleased to be presenting an updated version of my “Screenager Classroom Engagement Tactics" workshop at Austin Community College's "Spring Development Day" this week. 

After the session, I'll be sure to post questions that arose from the conversation, as well as any new insights on the subject matter.

Thanks to all who are registered! It looks like we'll have a full house.

"Keep Your Phone Out!" How to Engage Students With Instagram and SnapChat

This week I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2017 Texas Regional Alignment Network College and Career Readiness Symposium.

My presentation, entitled "Keep Your Phones Out! “Screenager” Classroom Engagement Tactics," discussed ideas for utilizing apps such as Instagram and SnapChat in middle school, high school and college classrooms. 

Encouraging students to use their phones in class may seem counter-productive, but I've found it meets students "where they live" and inspires them to see digital devices as tools for learning. (Plus, it's fun!)

Below are a few ideas I shared with attendees:

1.  Hold Class Discussions on Instagram. At the college level, students are expected to engage in online conversations across a variety of mediums to fully participate in class. Instagram can be a great mode for this activity. Simply post an interesting picture and as a question to get the conversation going. 

2. Host Live Q&A's on SnapChat. Once thought to be a parent's worst nightmare, SnapChat has evolved into a multi-functional platform for brands, organizations and people alike. It's a great tool to both ask and receive questions. For example, an instructor could "snap" a photo and include a text overlay with a specific question and students could reply back with their answers. 

3.  Showcase Student Accomplishments. Users aged 13-24 primarily use social media to "preen," or show off their achievements, from Homecoming pictures to college acceptance notifications. Instagram is a great platform to do this inside the classroom.  Instructors can encourage students to share their pictures with them and then post the photos to a class Instagram profile. Students can then ask questions and comment on the posts. 

Not sure where to get started with Instagram, SnapChat or other apps in your classroom? I'm available for online or in-person training sessions and custom presentations. Send me a note to get the conversation started. 

Do traditional marketing methods still work?

Digital strategists have a slight reputation for disregarding traditional forms of communication.

From snail mail to physical publications, "new media" experts frequently advise on ditching "dinosaur" marketing in favor of blog content, email blasts, live video posts and social media campaigns. 

Except me. 

Even after more than a decade spent coaching and encouraging brands to invest and explore digital methodology, I still see the value in traditional communications. 

The kicker? It all comes down to a brand's unique industry, target audience and other key differentiators.

So when the InvoiceBerry team asked for traditional marketing methods that are still effective, I was glad to share a few of my own. Check out my tips, as well as ideas from 14 other experts on their blog


Want to stay updated on the latest social media features? I'm launching a new training product soon. Gain early access here

5 Non-Marketing Podcasts for Creative Souls

My current work routine entails driving to San Antonio twice a week to fulfill an adjunct faculty role at Palo Alto College. The campus and the students keep me both energized and creative in my various pursuits in business and academia.

Logistically, the 80 mile drive - or 160 miles each day - could be a strain on my productivity as a communications consultant who has her hands in more than one creative project.

But I see my travel time as a learning opportunity, much like Laura Vanderkam's concept of "car schooling." During my lengthy drives, I digest multiple podcasts on various topics: marketing, entrepreneurship, story-telling, and so forth.

Lately, I've been particularly engaged by podcasts outside my normal industry of interest. Here are my top five favorites:

1. S-Town: Part murder mystery and part treasure hunt, S-Town explores the unique landscape of a rural Alabama town, within the context of a heartbreaking story. This podcast made me think about how people much different from me see politics, global issues and even morality. I inhaled this narrative in two days.

2. Women of the Hour: Lena Dunham's podcast highlights women who are making their mark on the world in a variety of ways. I love that this show refuses to exist within normal feminist tropes. As host, Lena chooses to seek out many stories not currently told in popular culture. It's now in its second season and can be easily enjoyed by all gender identities.

3.  Sword and Scale: A dear friend shared this podcast with me, and I've been obsessed ever sense. Claiming "the worst monsters are real," Sword and Scale delves deep into true crime stories, from current news headlines to those confined to history books and horrific memories. It's NOT for the light of heart and might keep you up at night.

4.  Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell: Dr. Hallowell is the foremost expert on ADD and ADHD, as well as the author of several best-selling books on managing to focus in a modern world. His podcast discusses everything from how meditation can help people of all ages to dealing with our fast-pace reality.

5.  The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey: I came to Jamie Ivey by way of Jen Hatmaker, and I've loved her weekly (and sometimes bi-weekly) episodes ever since. Jamie reflects true, authentic passion for women in all stages of life. In each episode, Jamie interviews a female speaker, author, business owner, or industry leader about their world. As a women in business who has her hand in multiple projects at once, I love learning from Jamie's guests each week.

Now I'd love to hear from you. What are your favorite non-business podcasts on rotation? Share with me here or on Twitter.


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Do law firms need digital marketing?

I've had the privilege of working with several dozen law firms over the course of my career. From corporate law to personal injury attorneys, most legal industry clients have a similar question at the beginning of our relationship:

Do I really need digital marketing? 

It's a fair question. After all, legal firm clients typically won't sign a retainer agreement due to a Facebook post or set of tweets. Legal retainer agreements require time, expertise and a personal relationship. I get it. But here's a question I ask prospective clients in the legal industry:

How do you currently gain new clients?

Most of the time, the response is: "Our reputation and through referrals."

Absolutely. To which I reply:

What if we could double the power of your reputation and referrals?

Digital marketing for law firms isn't primarily about gaining new clients. Its focus should be finessing an already stellar reputation through quality content, dynamic announcements and sophisticated industry monitoring. 

If you're an attorney or work for a law firm, let's chat. I'd be glad to send over my top three digital marketing tips for legal firms - free of charge.

Until next time,