Tag Archives: facebook

Nonprofits: Now Where Do We Go With Facebook?

fbLogoCh2In a new “Social Good” podcast, Allison Fine and guest Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud, take a look at Facebook a year after the company went public. Describing Facebook as “the social network so many people love to hate,” Allison asks: “Is Facebook more interested in us as a product than customers?” and “Is Facebook shifting more to shareholder interest than user interests?” My answer is yes. And yes. Listen to the podcast.

Several years ago, when I first heard that Facebook was going public, I expressed concern about what that would mean for nonprofits. So many charities were finding creative ways to leverage the free tool to engage and expand their supporters, but were also facing challenges because Facebook was making decisions that seemed less about meeting the needs of their users and more about developing revenue streams.

The truth is, Facebook will continue to make changes that are good for its bottom line. Many of those changes will also be good for nonprofits, but that will simply be a side effect. In 2010, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes launched Jumo — a social network created specifically to allow people to follow and support causes — which some described as “a Facebook for causes.” At the time, I wondered, “Why can’t Facebook be a Facebook for causes?” (Despite Hughes’ success in raising $3.5 million in grants, the vision and execution of Jumo was flawed from the start, and magazine publisher and digital platform GOOD bought Jumo in 2012 for $62,221.)

As algorithms change for news feeds, what works one day might not work the next. What used to be free may now require a fee. But nonprofits have more influence than they may think, Barry says in the podcast. “If we started using the platform in different ways instead of just consuming it in the way they serve it to us, it would set off signals on their end that the users are changing, and we need to adapt.”

Listen to the podcast for other tips about how to leverage Facebook as it continues to evolve.

The Best Platform for Brands? a) Facebook, b) Twitter, c) G+, or d) none of the above

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According to a new study by SumAll, Instagram is the “clear winner” as the best platform for brands for 2013, beating out Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Why? Because Instagram’s increases in fan and follower engagement is almost triple those of the other platforms, said SumAll CEO Dan Atkinson. “If a company has a visual product to sell and it’s currently not on Instagram,” Atkinson said, “that company is missing out on significant brand awareness and revenue.”

For businesses that use all four networks, Instagram showed the largest increase in new followers and engagement. The revenue impact of Instagram for U.S. businesses ranged from 1.5 to 5 percent.

With Facebook and Twitter becoming the big players, look for other platforms like Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, and Pinterest. And soon we’ll be talking about networks that don’t exist today. Which brand do you think is best for businesses and nonprofits?

Infographic: Make the Most of Your Posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine

I recently posted tips for Facebook posts, and My Clever Agency just released another good resource that provides simple tips for many of the other popular social media platforms. An important caveat is that your content, and the timing of your content, should be tailored to your particular mission and audience. But you may see more engagement if you follow these simple guidelines.

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Read the original post from My Clever Agency.

Use Facebook as a Community, not a Commercial

If you could watch TV or listen to the radio with no commercials, would you? What if you could opt out of those pesky “sponsored posts” on Facebook?

It’s very convenient to have access to hundreds of TV channels, free radio, and powerful tools like Facebook, but commercials and ads prove that nothing is really free. If you’re using Facebook Pages for your nonprofit, a company, or your own business, ask yourself whether you would choose to read your own posts. If not, your followers may find your posts as annoying as ads and commercials. (And they may have already hidden your posts.)

Your content strategy should aim to give your followers want they want when they open Facebook, and build a relationship before asking them to give money or support you in any other way. Here are some ways to do that:

Be real. Talk to your followers they way you would talk to your personal friends. Don’t market to them; engage with them.

Listen. Listening to your followers doesn’t just mean reading the comments and counting the number of likes your posts get. Look at the posts that get little or no response. What can you learn from that?

Show, don’t tell. There’s a reason Pinterest, Tumblr, and other platforms are so popular. Photos, infographics, and other visuals meet our needs for quick information without requiring us to read a lot. On Facebook, Google+, and increasingly Twitter, photos and short videos are among the most engaging and successful content.
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Be relevant. Keep up with cultural news, trends, and fads. The nonprofits that do this best adapt popular memes to bring their work to life, tap into major events like the Super Bowl, and even leverage celebrity scandals to engage their audience in serious ways. But they do it selectively, they don’t overdo it, and it doesn’t seem forced. Being relevant also means recognizing when a fad has passed or grown tiresome, so please don’t make a Gangnam Style video, even if your boss suggests it.

Entertain. You don’t have to be a standup comedian when you post, but don’t be afraid to show some personality — it will make your cause more interesting. Remember, people choose to follow you and invite you into their news feed, and they can just as easily change their mind. Give them a reason to stay engaged.

Here are some other tips from ShortStack and the Social Skinny:

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Make a Difference with Social Media: Start Here

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A professional colleague called me last week for advice about social media. Her nonprofit has decided they need to boost their digital presence, and her boss has asked her to lead that effort (in addition to her other responsibilities). She has a Facebook page and uses LinkedIn, but she hasn’t used social media channels professionally — and she didn’t know where to start.

My answer was easy. I told her to start with the Case Foundation’s Social Media 101.

I was fortunate to lead communications for the Case Foundation at a time when Jean and Steve Case were ramping up their efforts to leverage technology to make philanthropy and civic engagement more accessible and efficient for nonprofits and individuals. There was no better place and no better time to learn about the potential for technology to make a greater social impact — and keep up with trends that continue to shape social activism.

In my first week working there in 2005, I learned that my top priority would be to leading the development of the foundation’s first website. It was both exciting and intimidating to be asked to develop a plan and launch a site within a few months — for the founder of AOL, nonetheless. But what I learned over those months, and over the entire time I worked there, was that the Case Foundation was the ideal place to apply my experience while constantly learning new things and developing new skills.

The Case Foundation was (and is) a think-tank for changing the world in new and innovative ways. It’s a culture that expects, demands, and rewards big thinking and “swinging for the fences” (one of Steve’s favorite metaphors). As an employee, you’re surrounded by talented people who are passionate about making a difference, and all staff at all levels have a chance to contribute.

By the way, the website we launched nearly eight years ago — a robust journalistic site about philanthropy and civic engagement — looked nothing like the Case Foundation’s site today. Always looking to leverage new tools and capabilities, the foundation ‘s site is now a real-time hub for blogs, videos, and social media feeds.

Which brings me back to where I started this post. Whether you’re new to social media or are ready to take the next step, “Social Media 101” offers carefully selected articles and videos to help you “harness social media tools and platforms for good.” You’ll get helpful tips for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Foursquare, mobile, blogging, video, photography, and more.

The Case Foundation’s website also has videos, publications, and other resources on philanthropy, social activism, and corporate responsibility. And if you’re trying to convince your boss, board members, or others about the value of social media for nonprofits, show them this video:

What resources would you recommend for someone getting started in nonprofit social media?

Facebook is the Suburbs, while Twitter is the City

A good analysis that explains why I find both Facebook and Twitter valuable, both personally and professionally.

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Social networks enable varied forms of interaction between their users, through spectrums of openness, hierarchy, and discovery. Facebook and Twitter are the most used services to connect people socially, but bring people together in surprisingly different ways. Facebook’s strengths rely on easily connecting with established networks, showing highlights, and sharing meta-actions (like posting pictures or events). Twitter’s advantages lie in instant communication, building ad-hoc networks, and providing public and widely accessible information.

Why compare social networks to geographical networks? I’ll argue that the same openness, hierarchy, and discovery also applies to suburbs and the city, greatly affecting our modes of relationship. Suburbs span a large area, creating both silos of community and a greater privacy. Suburbs aren’t great for meeting people, but they do provide a framework for connecting disjointed entities to a center.

In comparison, cities move quickly and connect people through greater density. People gather at the local events…

View original post 1,058 more words

Google+ at 2: They Grow Up So Fast

Happy birthday, Google Plus! Two years ago today, Google launched its own social platform, hyped as the network that would make Facebook obsolete. That hasn’t happened, and is unlikely to, but G+ has done a lot of things well and is rising in popularity. It’s the second largest social platform (behind Facebook) with 500 million members, and as many as 350 million of them are active monthly. And it’s grown by 27 percent in the past three months.

I’ve been a fan of G+ since the beginning, and I prefer its design and functionality over Facebook and Twitter. When it first launched, I played around with my personal account for a while, and then on the first day company pages were made available, I launched the page for Children’s National Medical Center. Getting an early start and being chosen as a featured nonprofit has allowed Children’s National to attract more than 270,000 followers (compared with 25,000 on Facebook and about 24,000 on Twitter). Of course, it’s not a popularity contest and not just about numbers. We continue to have the greatest engagement and conversions on Facebook, where we have a more loyal (and more local) following. Each of these networks adds value in their own ways. (Read my post from August 2011, “Should Hospitals Add Google+ to their Social Mix?“)

In Ad Age Digital, B.L. Ochman writes, “Google+ Turns Two: You Can’t Ignore It for Another Minute.” One of the big advantages of G+, she writes, is the power and ease of Hangouts On Air. I remember organizing webcasts nearly 10 years ago, before things like GoToMeeting were available. They were expensive, complicated, and you needed technical consultants to pull it off. Today, with Hangouts on Air, you or your organization can broadcast to thousands of people with virtually no sophisticated technical skills and NO COSTS. Of course, you still need to promote your broadcast if you want to have an audience, but the actual execution of a public broadcast is simple and free. Score 1 for Google.

G+ has also paved the way for improvements to other networks, most notably its intuitive organization of circles. What many people didn’t realize then was that you could include or exclude anyone on Facebook too, but it wasn’t as easy or user-friendly. Facebook has made some improvements to make it easier to share with specific people or groups, but even after many rounds of updates, it’s still not as simple as what G+ started with on day one.

On Mashable, Jennifer Warren offers “Google+ at 2 Years: An Assessment.”  I agree with Jennifer that “Google+ is not a ghost town. By the same token, the service doesn’t have the immediacy of a Twitter or the ubiquity of Facebook. Still, for certain types of content and certain groups of users, it’s the best sharing platform on the web.” Two years after its launch, I still say G+ has the highest quality content of the three platforms.

Twitter is instantaneous. Facebook is where most of my friends and family are. But I get more knowledge, insights, and professional value from G+. Unlike Google Buzz and Google Wave, it’s proven that it has staying power, and — have you noticed? — it still has no advertising.