Saturday, January 26, 2013 and social media

Ol' Myrt here was surprised to pick up via Zite that has a high-powered social media guru. See: Executive Insight: posted by Nick Johnson 23 January 2013 on the Useful Social Media Blog.

I cross-posted the link to the blog post on my DearMYRTLE Facebook page, and stated "If he's Ancestry's social media guru, and he hasn't reached out to me, does this mean I've lost my edge, impact and reach? (Sigh)" 

Here's how the comments went - no editing. Just the facts, though I have highlighted the quote from the article in red below.

  • Russ Worthington 150,000 end users involved, and you aren't one of them ??
    2 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • Pat Richley-Erickson R U, Russ Worthington? I receive emails periodically from Ancestry's marketing department. But I've never heard of a bi-weekly contact from anyone else at Ancestry.
    38 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Pat Richley-Erickson "We initially reached out to our user base to identify which of our users was more socially enabled. We got close to a million responses from our first request, and from those, we identified about 150,000 people whom we launched the program with. These people are prolific sharers, and prolific content creators. These are the personality traits of an advocate that we really want to build upon.
    Since the program started running lat April 2012, we send out a bi-weekly emails that gives these people advanced information about what is happening on Ancestry. It’s like a VIP program that gives these advocates materials they can disseminate to their followers. We give them a lot of promotions they can give away on their blogs, we also gave them a badge and a widget they can embed in their blog to give us a high number of back links to our site. We’re also trying out more specific stuff for these users including Google+ like hangouts and VIP video material that is just for these users."
  • Pat Richley-Erickson Apparently this has hit a nerve. My DearREADERS would like freebies!
    36 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Pat Richley-Erickson Maybe Anne Gillespie Mitchell will mention this to Nick?
  • Caroline Marshall Pointer I get their email newsletter is that what they're referring to? Otherwise, Ancestry's presence on social media could be better. FB isn't a good medium anymore because of EdgeRank. I have to search Ancestry out on the different networks (not Crista or Anne because they have a presence), but the company itself. It should *dominate* on Twitter and elsewhere but it doesn't. So this article was surprising.
  • Pat Richley-Erickson I agree they should dominate on Twitter. Christa and Anne will get my message thru to Nick. These gals have a presence that transcends anything Ancestry would do for them. THEY get social networking. Ancestry doesn't.
    24 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Pat Richley-Erickson ... apparently not the only nite owl tonight!
    22 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Caroline Marshall Pointer Well, I fell asleep earlier and woke up at 2:30. Wide awake now. 
    21 minutes ago via mobile · Unlike · 1
  • Russ Worthington Crista and Anne are on Social Media, Twitter Chats, YouTube, but I hadn't seen the social Media guru. He maybe behind what we are seeing, but I think Crista and Anne were doing their thing before October
    19 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Russ Worthington Also, Ancestry has more Social Media "tools" on their website, that hadn't been there before, but don't remember when they first appeared, but it's been a while
  • Pat Richley-Erickson Those user-driven social media sharing tools are a passive approach. Ancestry needs to be proactive, not taking the cheapie way out by just relying on the freebie promotions bloggers with followers might provide. With so many new databases going live each day, they should have an employee that does nothing but spotlighting specific images from each set so folks can "see" what that type of record holds.
  • Pat Richley-Erickson And you know if a non-member clicks to view the next image they are politely encouraged to sign up for the service!
  • Caroline Marshall Pointer Yes, they've integrated SM tools into their website nicely for their users, but Ancestry (the company) is utilizing FB too much. Also, I can't keep up with the Twitter chats. I'd like to see them use a different medium for 'helping' customers.
  • Caroline Marshall Pointer I agree with Pat...very passive.
  • Pat Richley-Erickson Ok, I'm getting up to blog about this! 'Nuff of this iPad browsing and commenting.
  • Pat Richley-Erickson May I quote you two?
    10 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Caroline Marshall Pointer I do think their email newsletters are incredibly helpful. Do they e courage sign ups of those? They should on all their social networks.

    And I like your idea of images, Pat. They FAR outdo their (paid subscription) competition on overall records and ease of use. An image-driven social media campaign across their social networks would be very beneficial, IMO.

So, I wonder IF is listening, now that Tony Macklin, one of their best programmers, has left? has rich content, but they aren't letting folks know about it aggressively enough. Me thinks Ancestry got way-laid, thinking about national advertising during the sponsorship of WDYTYA NBC broadcasts. Well, that was then. This is now. Hire a social networking guru or two who can manage a good Twitter feed, spice it up with a new document image every hour or so. And then actually relate to potential users using this and other social media networks. You've got the potential with over 25,000 BYU college students nearby. Surely they will know how to build interest among a whole new set of potential members.

[Setting aside my riding crop, stepping down off my soap box, and demurely resetting the netting on my hat.]

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont


  1. You definitely hit the nail on the head with this one. I love the point you make about having 25,000 BYU students nearby, they should be utilizing this tremendous resource. Imagine if they could encourage people to get into genealogy at younger age. From a business perspective should be all over this. Great post!

  2. I don't remember just when Ancestry made their first request but it was from those million or so responses that those 150,000 were chosen.

    I know Nick is very responsive to people who contact him as we've been in touch practically since the day he started. I praise him when he does good and ride him ragged when he messes up (like the audio on those early webcasts *grin*)