Social Media

juliebrownGuest blogger, Julie Brown, Program Director at the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. Julie is intrigued by storytelling, and the opportunity it offers to inspire donors and volunteers to act.

Barely a year ago, one of my co-workers, Lisa Houck, and I were happy to spend a day together at a Nancy Schwartz training called “How to Tell Five-Star Stories.”   Lisa and I share content management duties for the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation Facebook page.

Other than a hazy wish hoping for additional Facebook followers, we had no specific goals.  Each day, we decided what our followers needed to hear and then we used Facebook to broadcast it to them. And we thought we were pretty good at it!

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Guest Blogger on March 13, 2014 in storytelling | 7 comments
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Urge Facebook to offer Facebook Ad Grants to nonprofits like yours—Please add your name now to this petition.

Facebook is a vital tool for most of us, and their attention to the nonprofit market (as with the introduction of the Donate button this week) is fantastic. However, they change the platform’s ways and rules at a million miles an hour, making it tough for us nonprofit marketers to use this important channel well to move our missions forward.

There’s no debate that Facebook is a productive platform on which to interact with supporters and build your base. But each change they make generates a lot more work for organizations like yours (our clients too!) to learn the latest and greatest techniques, and shift campaigns accordingly.

But one of Facebook’s recent changes is far worse than that—several months ago Facebook introduced promoted posts. I want you to understand what this is—a pay-to-play approach limiting the ability to reach Facebook fans on a regular basis to marketers who pay to promote their posts.

That’s going to cut many of your orgs out of the Facebook game altogether and put the rest of the sector at a significant disadvantage. But there’s something you can do about it!

Please join me in urging Facebook to introduce an ad grant program for nonprofits, so organizations like yours aren’t silenced by promoted posts. Sign this petition now

Thanks for joining me! I’ll keep you posted.

 

Nancy Schwartz on December 18, 2013 in Social Media | 0 comments
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Email Subject LinesGuest blogger, Kerri Karvetski, owner of Company K Media, helps nonprofits communicate online.

How did nonprofits share the love on Valentine’s Day 2013? Let us count the ways.

But this superstar technique isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day. Get brainstorming now to connect your cause with days coming up—St. Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day and Earth Day. It’s a proven way to connect with supporters and move them to give, donate, volunteer or spread the word. Here’s how:
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Guest Blogger on February 22, 2013 in Relevance Rules | 0 comments
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(Watch author interview video: Social media experts Melanie Mathos and Chad Norman share their recommendations to power your social media activities, especially useful for small- and medium-sized organizations.)

There are two major paralysis points that detour orgs from putting social media tools to work most productively. Either you have:

  1. Been experimenting (sometimes for a few years at this point) with what you think are the right tools—with some successes and some flat lines—but haven’t integrated this work with the balance of your marketing or found a useful way to prioritize your focus and time; OR you have…
  2. A  social media plan  (goals, audiences, integration with other communications channels, content focus), have dabbled with a range of social media tools, but haven’t been able to put the right combo of tactics into play to support your plan.

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Nancy Schwartz on May 22, 2012 in Social Media | 3 comments
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We would like to welcome guest blogger, Laura Quinn. Laura is the executive director of Idealware, and a frequent speaker and writer on nonprofit technology topics.

With the new year upon us, it’s a good time to make resolutions for both yourself and your organization. Why not resolve to improve your social media efforts? More than 800 million people are using Facebook alone, and chances are good your constituents are among them.

Planning is vital to success with social media, and thinking ahead can ensure the best return for your efforts regardless of the channel you’re using. We created our free Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide specifically to help organizations like yours strategize their approach to social media.
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Guest Blogger on January 25, 2012 in Social Media | 2 comments
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Guest blogger Joe Waters writes on cause marketing and social media at Selfishgiving.com, and is the co-author of Cause Marketing For Dummies

I’m all about the food truck right now. We have a number of food trucks here in Boston, and I just finished watching The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network. I’m fascinated by the phenomenon and impressed by how food trucks market themselves via social media and other creative approaches.

Nonprofits can learn a lot from these mobile eateries that have a nose for where the business is and know how to keep fans coming back. I challenge you to try these relationship-building strategies to up your fundraising and marketing results:
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Guest Blogger on December 19, 2011 in Strategy | 1 comment
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Guest blogger Holly Ross has spent seven+ years at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), working with community members to identify technology trends that are reshaping the nonprofit sector. Brett Meyer, NTEN Communications Director, co-authored this post.

As nonprofits have flocked to the e-newsletter as an inexpensive and timely way to communicate with stakeholders, the number of newsletter tips has also proliferated. While subject lines, “from” addresses, and your template design are all important, they aren’t the biggest challenge to putting out a quality newsletter.  The most difficult part is creating good content, content your subscribers want to read.

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Guest Blogger on December 1, 2011 in Content Marketing, Email and E-Newsletters | 1 comment
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I recently returned from Boston, where I co-presented a session titled “How to Tame the Social Media Monster” at the Communications Network conference.

Just two years ago, I moderated a similar session at the same conference. And although the focus was a bit difference (back then we recommended listening as the almost-always way to start, and talked mostly on that), the motivation for most participants to join our session was the same — fear of social media. READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on September 27, 2011 in Social Media | 2 comments
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I’m pleased to welcome back guest blogger Kimberlee Roth. Kim usually blogs on annual reports (one of her specialties) or effective writing for nonprofits, but steps outside the norm today to cover this very compelling webinar on social media.

As a writer who often works with nonprofits, I’ve become increasingly interested in how social media can support an organization’s other communications efforts and, on the flip side, how it can detract.

That’s why I was excited to learn about “Using Social Media for Social Good,” a live discussion (a.k.a. online chat) with Allison Fine, presented by The Chronicle of Philanthropy in late March. Fine is co-author of The Networked Nonprofit and she presents a weekly podcast for The Chronicle, called “Social Good.”

What ensued was an informative and lively virtual discussion with participants candidly sharing challenges, advice and experiences.

At the end of the chat, I closed my browser window with a list of takeaway messages worth sharing. My summary doesn’t do the whole event justice, though, so make sure you check out the full transcript here.

  1. When it comes to social media, strategy should trump tools.
  2. Think about social media in terms of your audience(s) and goals–and how it fits into your overall communications plan. You may detract from your org’s overall communications if you’re putting mixed messages out there. (I would add that you’re also undermining your organization’s branding and positioning, something you’ve likely worked extremely hard to establish.)
  3. Content should reflect your organization’s personality; be open and honest.
  4. To translate an engaged social media following into donors, focus on building relationships first. Listen to supporters, learn what they’re interested in, then share information about your org and cause.
  5. Broaden your definition of ‘involvement’ from donations to include participation. Young adults in particular may be enthusiastic about devoting time to your org but unable to make monetary donations.
  6. Think about social media in terms of conversations with individuals. Interact. Be generous. Celebrate others’ successes. Grow your network by deepening existing connections. (Quality over quantity.)
  7. Don’t let fear of losing control of the conversation about your org keep you from using social media. If you encounter negative feedback, admit mistakes. Being open about shortcomings can win you long-term fans.

What has your org learned about using social media to communicate with your target audiences? Please share your experiences here.

Guest Blogger on June 29, 2011 in Social Media | 1 comment
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Welcome back to guest blogger, Susie Bowie, Communications Manager at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Over reliance on numbers—particularly when it comes to measuring the impact of social media—is getting pretty annoying. The problem isn’t a new one, so why do I find it especially bothersome?

I hear a lot of frustration from nonprofit communicators about leaders and board members who still insist on measuring social media success solely by the number of fans or followers. To be fair, it’s probably the only way they know how to justify the investment of precious staff time.

We have to move our leadership past a social media question of “should we?” to the question of “how do we do it best?” And it’s our responsibility to provide them with more guidance and a supplement—not substitution—for numerical metrics.

We’ve moved from a culture that receives information to a culture that begs to participate in information. Our organizations have to figure out which stakeholders we’d like to engage online and set some goals about what we’d like to accomplish through that engagement. After that, we do have a big, ugly ROI question staring us in the face.

Social media has worked well for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. And I feel fortunate that our organization embraces a culture of innovation and technology. What do I think it’s done for us?

  • Broadening Our Knowledge:

We can easily follow our grantees in quick updates on Facebook, track philanthropic trends using Twitter, and see what foundation work our colleagues are doing in other areas.

  • Shedding Light on What We Do and Who We Are: We’re better able to showcase the personality of our staff and convey that we’re real people here. We truly care. Social media has provided a vehicle to share stories and quick updates of our donors, grantees and the impact of both.
  • Participate in High-Value Conversations: Asking open-ended questions has provided insights into our stakeholders’ thoughts about philanthropic and community issues. And now that we can comment on other Facebook pages (as a page), we can congratulate our local nonprofits for a job well done on a frequent and informal basis, sending the message that we support their impact and their work.

Most small to mid-sized organizations just don’t have the budget or the staff time to spend on heavy metric analysis, but there is a really simple way to test whether your social marketing is effective.

We recently decided to ask our followers to answer a quick online survey to test our suppositions—that our social media goals up to this point are being met. I’m excited about what we’re discovering.

More than 90% of our current respondents have said our Facebook page has helped them to better understand what we do. This is huge, considering how mysterious and complex the community foundation world often seems to those who aren’t on the “inside”. Comments like “your page has helped me connect the dots”, “I feel like there’s a more personal connection to the Foundation”, “serves to humanize the work of the foundation” have been so affirming.

Nearly 70% of respondents at this time have indicated that our Facebook page has helped them feel like they better know our staff. That’s important for us. Our success is based on relationships.

We asked other questions about our blog, our Twitter presence, what kinds of posts our respondents like best, and what they would like to see less of, but the main message for you is this:

If you’re immersed in the world of social media fairly regularly for your organization, consider a simple survey. Although it’s not the absolute answer—it’s only part of this constantly evolving ROI challenge—it will facilitate a better understanding of what your followers have gotten out of your social media presence. It’s powerful and may take you far away from the Count von Count Sesame Street method of social media evaluation.

P.S. Get more in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Guest Blogger on June 6, 2011 in Social Media | 3 comments
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