The Nonprofit Social Media Factor:Keeping It Fun, Fresh & Focused


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On March 1, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County attended the North Port Art Association's "Where Art Meets Community," an evening gathering of nonprofits staff, board members and others in the community. Presented by Susie Bowie.

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  • Social media can be a bit overwhelming, and though it’s something I’ve grown to really enjoy, it’s hard to constantly keep up with the new craze. I’ll admit that I didn’t really want to take the plunge until I got a friend request from Judi on Facebook just before she started working at the Foundation. Since she would be my new boss, I figured I better do it.
  • But as time moved on, I rapidly saw social media as an opportunity, and if there’s one thing I want to leave with you today, it’s this: Social media offers an opportunity for nonprofits, an opportunity to connect. So let’s talk about this question, which seems to summarize most of what’s important to us as nonprofits-even small businesses and sometimes government.
  • Now, I want to be perfectly clear about social media. Some folks turn their back to all of the social media buzz because the know that the good ole tried and true methods of relationship building and of marketing still retain their validity today. I do not argue with that. Am I saying that…? No. But what I am saying is that this is another tool for connecting, and it’s growing in importance. So whether you’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever the next new thing is, what’s changing is the expectation of how we process information.
  • I think we can boil down social media into four main principles.
  • It sounds silly, but social media is called social media for a reason—it’s social. In thinking about this, I want you to consider the elements of a conversation that you might have in person with someone. What are these elements? What happens in a bad conversation? And so these are precisely the things you want to avoid in the social media world.
  • It isn’t just courtesy, but it’s a HUGE opportunity. The potential for researching your fans—what they like, what motivates them to leave a comment, how they answer the questions you might pose to them on Facebook—they all provide excellent insight into how you can really reach them in regard to your mission. What are their hot buttons? Don’t miss out on that opportunity.
  • In this respect, it’s not that different from what you might do with a prospective donor on a first luncheon. You don’t sit right down and ask them for money. You get to know them, you ask them a few questions, find out what interests them, maybe invite them to get further involved, learn more about them, etc. Many nonprofits make the mistake of slapping up event announcements on their Facebook page or on Twitter and then don’t know why they aren’t receiving a response.
  • This is true with every aspect of marketing/ communications. And one of the most common things we hear when we ask who you needs to hear your message. The response is “everyone.” Your audience is never everyone. And using social media, your audience certainly isn’t everyone, it’s a subset of the larger audience you market your programs to. For example, many of the Community Foundation’s donors have either passed away or are in their mid-80’s. Now I don’t want to generalize about age groups, because social media is anything but a teenager’s place. But we aren’t focusing on this group using social media because there just aren’t enough of them using tools like Facebook and Twitter to justify it. Our audience is largely younger generation prospective donors; staff/ board members of nonprofits; and scholarship students.
  • Another way to segment your audience-- are you talking to clients? To donors? To would-be members? To volunteers? In some cases these groups are certainly in need of the same message. But think about this. These will all provide valuable insights about how to connect with people to benefit your organization.
  • Yes, there is time involved in social media and we’ll talk about that in a minute. The trust factor is big. A lot of the greatness in social media is the 3 rd party credibility factor—when things go viral and when others say good things about you instead of you saying good things about you.
  • So how to you establish trust? By offering value. You must offer some value other than “come visit our site,” “please donate,” “come volunteer,” if you want people to join you on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Think of it as water.
  • You may be at the point now that you just want to learn more about how social media works, but eventually, it’s going to be every bit as imperative as having a website. When people Google an organization, many times, their Facebook page will come up first. And that may be because it’s more frequently updated (hopefully) and content that’s more frequently updated generates better search engine rankings. What does that tell you?
  • Sometimes we can learn a lot by tell a lot about the future of things in our nonprofit world by looking at the big boys—the big corporate brands. Did you all hear that Pepsi cancelled its advertising for the SuperBowl and announced a multi-million dollar social media initiative called Pepsi Refresh? The company is giving away $1.3 million each month to ideas that can change the world for the better. Users vote on the best ideas.
  • The top 2 anxieties we hear about social media are 1. we don’t have the time…this takes a lot of time, and 2. people can say bad stuff about you. I can’t tell you these aren’t true. You can spend lots of time on social media, but with a good plan you can minimize distraction and you can also use the time you do spend on it well. Regarding people saying things about you—we’re going to talk about this to try and calm your fears about it. But one thing to consider is this: whether or not your nonprofit is actively using social media, people can and will still say bad things about you. It’s actually completely independent of whether you’re participating. The third “evil side,” which is true of anything, if you don’t plan your social media campaign, it probably won’t serve you well.
  • I ‘m just going to be honest about this. The time management gripes about social media drive me nuts. In the end, you’ll just have to decide if social media is worth some of your time or not. And if it is, there are a few things you can be mindful of that will really help…
  • Think about how you can be pro-active in managing reputation.
  • These are your “ground rules.” Written social media guidelines that are incorporated into your nonprofit’s employee handbook will help protect you, give your staff and volunteers an idea of what’s okay to mention in this sort of forum. If you did get an inappropriate post, they’ll also provide a framework for reporting that person so they aren’t able to post or comment any longer.
  • We all know this to be true.
  • Mention SeaWorld. Shut down comments on Facebook page after the incident last week with Tilly the Whale. Now they are allowing comments—many very bad, many very good. It’s sort of self-policing because fans of Seaworld are doing the talking and protecting of the brand. They’ve said that they are only sensoring comments that include profanity or that are insensitive to the trainer’s family. They did however make the decision to shut their entire Twitter following of 10,000 down. They set up their account as if Shamu was speaking. A cute idea at the time, but obviously difficult to carry out now.
  • We have 660 fans on Facebook and almost 2,000 followers on Twitter.
  • That’s a lot of competition
  • Fastest growing social media channel among Fortune 500 companies
  • Discuss different parts of the page
  • Very cool new features: safety mode, Youtube will ad captions to your videos (auto-captioning tool) to provide a text-based approach for increased accessibility, Annotations let you add on-screen text to your YouTube videos – like live links to your blog, donations page, membership pages, etc.
  • The Nonprofit Social Media Factor:Keeping It Fun, Fresh & Focused

    1. 1. The Nonprofit Social Media Factor: Keeping It Fun, Fresh & Focused
    2. 2. “ I hear YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are merging to form a super-social media site: YouTwitFace.” − Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show
    3. 3. Question: What’s the common denominator in steady media coverage, committed donors , loyal volunteers , good board relations and engagement with community partners?
    4. 4. Answer: Relationships.
    5. 5. Is social media the right communications tool for every relationship? For every audience? For every need? Is it another tool? No. No. No. Yes, and it’s an important one.
    6. 6. What is social media? 4 core principles.
    7. 7. <ul><li>Social media is SOCIAL. </li></ul><ul><li>What are the elements of conversation? What bothers you during bad conversations? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Listen with enormous ears.
    9. 9. Social media is not a billboard for your nonprofit’s announcements. We’re officially begging you to donate & come to our events we invite you to on Facebook. Now be quiet.
    10. 10. 2. Social media—like other forms of communication—insists that you ask: “ Where does my audience live & what do they like?”
    11. 11. <ul><li>Primarily male or female? </li></ul><ul><li>Youth? Working? Retired? </li></ul><ul><li>Middle class? Wealthy? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they talk? </li></ul><ul><li>What interests do they have that relate to your mission, values or brand? </li></ul>
    12. 12. 3. Like dating, social media involves TIME and TRUST.
    13. 13. If you’re using social media, you have to water it or it will die. Value = Water
    14. 14. 4. It’s not if you’re going to play but when you’re going to play.
    15. 15.
    16. 16. The Good Side <ul><li>The tools are free. </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to use. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a way to meet new audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a new way to connect with existing fans. </li></ul><ul><li>Drives traffic to your website. </li></ul>
    17. 17. The Evil Side 2. People can say bad stuff about you. <ul><li>Time isn’t free. </li></ul>3. No plan, no power.
    18. 18. <ul><li>1. Managing Time </li></ul><ul><li>Time Management is nothing new. How do you manage your time with current tasks? </li></ul><ul><li>Tips: -20 minutes per day? -Delegate…several accounts? -Establish boundaries/ policies -As you start getting results, consider investing more time. </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>2. Managing Reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Focus not just on what they’re saying about your org., but what they’re saying about issues related to your mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that your biggest talkers are often your own staff and volunteers. </li></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>Social Media Guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>For you. </li></ul><ul><li>For your fans. </li></ul><ul><li>For your employees. </li></ul>You need written social media guidelines in your employee handbook .
    21. 21. Dirt Travels Fast. And the delete key doesn’t work once it’s out there. “ Viral. It’s so…viral.”
    22. 22. <ul><li>Be honest and truthful. </li></ul><ul><li>Be respectful of timing. (Does your board know it?) </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect your nonprofit’s values. </li></ul><ul><li>Respect privacy. (Of clients, donors, members, volunteers, staff, confidential “insider” info) </li></ul>It’s mostly common sense. (See Kodak, IBM, Intel SM policies)
    23. 23. <ul><li>Look at 3 things: </li></ul><ul><li>Tone. Totally negative, neutral, seem like they could be talked to? </li></ul><ul><li>Influence. How many followers, friends, subscribers do they have? </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency. Is this a standalone argument / complaint or does there seem to be a trend brewing? </li></ul><ul><li>-Carrie Lewis, Humane Society of United States </li></ul>So what if people DO say bad things about your business?
    24. 24. <ul><li>3. Managing the Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Elements of a good social media plan: -Your goals. -Your content/ frequency of posting. -Your Czar, Your team members. -Your policies? (Yes, this again!) -How you plan to measure outcomes. </li></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>Content is King. </li></ul><ul><li>To be interesting , you must be interested . (It’s not all about you.) </li></ul><ul><li>Use a variety of post types: video, links, photos, status updates </li></ul><ul><li>Be diverse in your content, but never go off mission, brand. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Straight from the horse’s mouth. “ I want something that touches me in some way. …Then, after I click - don't inundate me with crap.”
    27. 27. Straight from the horse’s mouth. “ Some organizations are SO serious all the time Facebook is a de-stressor, social activity.”
    28. 28.
    29. 29. Straight from the horse’s mouth. “ It bothers me when an excellent nonprofit asks for feedback and does not respond. Makes me nuts, and it tells me that at the end of the day they are really just trying to fill the page.&quot;
    30. 30.
    31. 31. <ul><li>“ Value Added” Posts </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes, Tips, & Did You Know’s </li></ul><ul><li>Questions (Informal polling) </li></ul><ul><li>Fun links to videos & multi-media (yours or not) </li></ul><ul><li>Even if it’s not directly about your nonprofit, keep it relevant to your mission/brand. </li></ul>
    32. 32. <ul><li>Tone, frequency & oversight. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t talk like a text book. Formal = lame= people don’t care. </li></ul><ul><li>Overkill is easy to achieve possible. Don’t over-post. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t disappear off the radar with fleeting appearances. </li></ul><ul><li>One person should oversee SM plan, encouraging others to participate. </li></ul>
    33. 33. <ul><li>Example </li></ul><ul><li>Goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Branding us as a friend of nonprofits, causes. Caring. Compassionate. Responsive. </li></ul><ul><li>Driving traffic to our website for events, scholarships, grants, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a national awareness for our Nonprofit Resource Center </li></ul>
    34. 34. <ul><li>Example </li></ul><ul><li>Content. </li></ul><ul><li>Links to advocacy info for the arts & health. </li></ul><ul><li>Tips for nonprofits. </li></ul><ul><li>Spotlights of nonprofits in our area & their work. </li></ul><ul><li>Research/ questions </li></ul><ul><li>Inspirational quotes about community, giving. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Nonprofit social media isn’t one size fits all.
    36. 36. <ul><li>Establish your brand with your nonprofit’s own Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr accounts/ pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about your nonprofit on your own individual profile. </li></ul>
    37. 37.
    38. 38. By the Numbers <ul><li>More than 103 million US-based users. 50% log on in any given day. </li></ul><ul><li>Average user spends more than 55 mins/day on FB </li></ul><ul><li>More than 700,000 local businesses/orgs have active pages. </li></ul><ul><li>Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans </li></ul>
    39. 39. Terminology <ul><li>Fan = Someone who elects to receive updates from your organization’s Facebook page </li></ul><ul><li>Friend = Someone who elects to receive updates from your personal profile </li></ul>
    40. 40. Tips <ul><li>You want a Page , not a Profile (for individuals). </li></ul><ul><li>Make multiple (trusted) staff or volunteers administrators. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the “Suggest to Friends” when appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not blast invites to events. Use updates sparingly. </li></ul><ul><li>Use “Facebook Insights” to monitor. </li></ul>
    41. 42. Suggest to Friends
    42. 43. Facebook Insights
    43. 44. Facebook Insights
    44. 45.
    45. 48. Tips <ul><li>Create an account name that makes sense & brand your page. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow others with a similar mission focus. And follow their followers. </li></ul><ul><li>Re-tweet valuable content from others. </li></ul><ul><li>Use HootSuite or another tool to automate & track clicks. </li></ul><ul><li>Think research, trends. </li></ul>
    46. 50.
    47. 51. Tips <ul><li>Apply for a free nonprofit account & take advantage of its features. </li></ul><ul><li>Post short videos—no more than a few minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in a FLIP camera. Inexpensive & effective. </li></ul><ul><li>Use your Facebook page, website, Twitter pages to make your videos more viral. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure there’s an emotional component. </li></ul>
    48. 52. Is it actually interesting to people outside of your organization? Interview with your CEO? Or interview with a client who has been helped by your agency? Clip of a speech given at a special event? Or several donors saying why they care?
    49. 53.
    50. 54. What About Fundraising Using Social Media?
    51. 55. Cause Announcement from ASPCA - the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Hooray! Thanks to everyone who recruited and to all those who donated! Every $ and bit of awareness helps!!! We finally broke our $3,000 donations goal! Let's see how long it takes us to reach $4,000! Over 35,000 members in this cause.
    52. 56. Promoting Your Social Media Presence <ul><li>Link everywhere: website, e-newsletters, all electronic communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Include “become a fan” on all printed material— business cards, newsletters, rack cards, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Make other (trusted) employees administrators </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage others to visit you with special contests & discounts </li></ul>
    53. 57. Measuring Effectiveness <ul><li>Track referrals to your website Google analytics is free. </li></ul><ul><li>Observe activity Comments, Likes, Re-tweets, (+)(-) in Followers, Fans </li></ul><ul><li>Survey your clients, members, customers “How did you hear about us?” or Special discounts for Facebook fans </li></ul>
    54. 58. “ What Specifically Has SM Done for Us?” <ul><li>Driving traffic to our website/ blog. More traffic to our blog & events. +200/month. </li></ul><ul><li>Building our brand. We care about people. We care about nonprofits. </li></ul><ul><li>Providing a new way to connect. Old & new constituents are contacting us w/ questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent, free peer to peer research. Nonprofit, foundation trends. </li></ul>
    55. 59. Take a Plunge: Next Steps <ul><li>Try just one social media tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have 20 minutes a day? </li></ul><ul><li>Follow others. </li></ul>
    56. 60. “ Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” − Seth Godin
    57. 61. We connect people who care with causes that matter.
    58. 62. Let’s Connect Susie Bowie, Communications Manager [email_address] 941.556.7104 On Twitter: @NonprofitSRQ On Facebook: Community Foundation of Sarasota County