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.

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.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest Drive Sales, But Differently

snapFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all directly drive sales of products, both online and in stores, but there are some big differences in how, according to new data from Vision Critical. Most interesting, Facebook and Twitter help drive sales of products that people were already considering buying, but Pinterest is more effective at driving spontaneous sales. Among people who had made purchases based on information from one of these channels, 70 percent of Twitter users and 60 percent of Facebook users said they were at least “vaguely” considering purchasing the item before they saw it online. However, only 49 percent of the Pinterest users said they were thinking of purchasing the item before seeing it there.

Other key findings: 43 percent of social media users have bought a product after sharing it or favoriting it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Nearly 4 in 10 Facebook users say they’ve gone from liking, sharing, or commenting on an item to buying it. And half of all social-driven purchases occur within a week of sharing or commenting on it.

Read “Moving Customers from Pinning to Purchase,” from the Harvard Business Review, and download the full report, “From Social to Sale: 8 Questions to Ask Your Customers,” from Vision Critical.

What products did social purchasers share March-June 2013? Here are some color-coded examples representing purchases influenced by Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest:
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Tips to Stay Private with Facebook’s Graph Search

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While Facebook’s new graph search — which was rolled out to all users this week — offers users an easy way to find information, it also involves some changes to privacy settings that you should be aware of. In announcing the new tool a few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that users are still in control of their privacy settings. What he didn’t say is that it’s getting more and more complicated to know what you’re sharing with whom, especially when settings are changed so often.

When I checked my own settings, the first thing I noticed was that the default setting for “share future posts” was for “public.” To make it easier for you to take control of your content, take a look at Business Insider’s simple step-by-step guide to protect your Facebook page from unwanted searches.

Noting that some have called Facebook Graph Search a “privacy nightmare,” Slate offers this warning: “If You’ve Ever Posted Anything Embarrassing on Facebook, Now is the Time to Hide It.”

What do you think? Do you like the new search tool? Are you concerned about how it affects your privacy, or is that just part of being a Facebooker?

 

Are You Too Old to Innovate?

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photo by CutandChicVintage

With the Rolling Stones celebrating their 50th anniversary, I was surprised to hear recently that the average age of the band (69) is older than the average age of the Supreme Court Justices (67). More specifically, the Stones are one year and 10 months older than the Supreme Court.

I was less surprised to read last week that the average age of employees at technology companies is significantly lower than the overall median age of U.S. workers, which is 42. See “Technology Workers are Young (Really Young)” from the New York Times blog Bits. Among the companies with the youngest employees are Facebook (28), Google (29), and AOL (30). PayScale, a company based in Seattle, looked at age, gender, and turnover at 32 of the most successful technology companies. Some of the companies with older workers are Cisco Systems (35), Samsung (34), and Microsoft (34). Turnover in the industry is also very high. At Amazon.com and Facebook, the average stay is just 12 to 13 months.

Katie Bardaro, the lead economist at PayScale, explained there are a number of factors in the youth of these workforces. One is skills: “Baby Boomers and Gen Xers tend to know C# and SQL. Gen Y knows Python, social media, and Hadoop.” Another is the current focus of these companies: “The firms that are growing or innovating around new areas tend to have younger workers. Older companies that aren’t changing with the times get older workers.”

What do you think? Does innovation have an expiration date?