The PASS Website and Social Media Promotion

2017-11-09 0 Comments

I haven't been involved in the SQL community for very long. Because of that, I haven't done much volunteering. But earlier this year, Andy Warren asked me to help out with the organization efforts for SQLSaturday Orlando 2017. Andy is a veritable fountain of knowledge when it comes to SQLSaturdays. He has a ton of great ideas on how to improve things for everyone involved: attendees, sponsors, speakers, and organizers. Seriously, check out his recent posts to see what I mean!

As the new guy to the group, I did more listening than talking. Looking back, and thinking about Andy's "SQLSATURDAY TOOLS" post, there's an easy improvement PASS could make to their website that would benefit SQLSaturday organizers, and all PASS stakeholders: add some meta tags to improve social media exposure on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, et al.

My social media footprint isn't huge, but I still wanted to promote SQLSaturday Orlando 2017 in the hopes that even one additional person might register and attend. So I made a few posts here and there. Here is an example of what hyperlinks to PASS.org look like on Twitter, using the PASS Marathon: Developer Edition event as a demonstration:

Dave Mason PASS.org Twitter


That's not terribly exciting. It's just a bunch of text and some hyperlinks. However, with Twitter Card meta tags, the Tweet might have looked something like this:

Dave Mason PASS.org Twitter


This is so much better. There's now a PASS logo image along with a title & description of the linked article. Those are all items PASS could control by adding Twitter Cards to their website.

Next, here is an example of what hyperlinks to PASS.org look like on LinkedIn, again using the PASS Marathon: Developer Edition event as a demonstration:

Dave Mason PASS.org LinkedIn

With Open Graph meta tags, the LinkedIn post might have looked like this:

Dave Mason PASS.org LinkedIn

That's not as big a "win" as with Twitter, but you still gain the PASS logo image. It's my understanding that you'll have more control over the article title & description by using Open Graph meta tags. In the first image, LinkedIn "guessed" correctly--probably by grabbing the title from the HTML <title> element and the description from the content in the first <p> (paragraph) element.

Results may vary from one social media platform to another, but in general, you'll probably find they use the Open Graph tags if they don't have their own standard like Twitter does. These tags are really easy to inject into a website. I've done it here for my own blog. Check out the source code for this page. You should see something like this:

<meta content='https://itsalljustelectrons.blogspot.com/shortened.html' property='og:url' />
<meta content='article' property='og:type' />
<meta content='The PASS Website and Social Media Promotion' property='og:title' />
<meta content='A simple website enhancement that will help our efforts to promote PASS.' 
        property='og:description' />
<meta content='https://3.bp.blogspot.com/shortened.png' property='og:image' />
    
<meta content='summary' name='twitter:card' />
<meta content='@BeginTry' name='twitter:site' />
<meta content='The PASS Website and Social Media Promotion' name='twitter:title' />
<meta content='A simple website enhancement that will help our efforts to promote PASS.' 
        name='twitter:description' />
<meta content='https://3.bp.blogspot.com/shortened.png' name='twitter:image' />

If PASS added Open Graph and Twitter meta tags to their site, it would benefit our attempts to promote the community on social media. Just look at all the things we've got going: PASS Summit, SQLSaturday, 24 Hours of PASS, BA Marathon, Local Groups, Virtual Groups, etc. This is an easy "win" that helps all of us promote PASS--there may even be some SEO benefit too. I hope they consider my suggestion.

UPDATE:
PASS has updated their website! I'm looking forward to promoting our wonderful events and news on social media. I hope you are too.

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