Mobile engagement for your community


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Cell phones are inherently engaging -- people carry them everywhere and check them frequently, in all kinds of situations. Here's what some community funders and local nonprofits are learning through leveraging mobile technology to engage their communities.

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  • This is the stereotype about how cell phones affect society.

    I beg to differ.
  • You may think this woman is just messing around with her cell phone, probably doing something stupid on FB, right?

    Right. And the phone # is clickable on a mobile device. These are phones, after all.
  • Mobile phones: key to community info & engagement during Boulder floods

    They had a downloadable version of this, too.
  • How many people here have mission to engage underserved/marginalized communities?

    Empowerment: Tell Oakland bus story

    Cell-mostly internet access
  • You’re engaged. Via cell phone. Sorta
  • When you get some answers to these questions, you understand which device types to target first, and which services (esp. social media) to include as part of your mobile strategy.
  • Design mobile-first now. Get ahead of the game. You know it’s going there anyway.

    Don’t wait until your metrics start to show a ton of mobile traffic. That’s too late. You’re already missing out!

    VERY LEAST: Have a mobile landing page for everything important that you do.
  • $200-$5000/month

    Partner with public media, they probably have access
  • Mobile engagement for your community

    1. 1. Mobile Engagement for Your Community July 31, 2014 Amy Gahran @agahran
    2. 2. Amy Gahran @agahran 2
    3. 3. 3
    4. 4. 4
    5. 5. 5
    6. 6. What is engagement? • Attract someone’s attention • Involve people in interaction or discussion • Motivate amplification, action or participation 6
    7. 7. Who to engage? • Communities • Donors 7
    8. 8. What is mobile? (Primarily) • Cell phones (not always smartphones) • Texting (SMS) • E-mail • Mobile web • Social media 8
    9. 9. Smartphones: fastest consumer adoption of any technology! - Lee Rainie, Pew Research (Me: Because mobile is inherently engaging.) 9
    10. 10. The future is here. It just isn’t evenly distributed yet. 10
    11. 11. Mobile is PERSONAL! 11
    12. 12. Take out your phones! 12
    13. 13. See what I did there? 13
    14. 14. Mobile mindset dare: Use your phone for EVERYTHING! …for 1 week 14
    15. 15. 15
    16. 16. What mobile engagement can look like… 16
    17. 17. Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo 17 Citizen journalism project that relies on you to report what’s happening in your neighborhood. Report specific environmental concerns through one of the Grow 716 text campaigns, or tell us about other issues. Follow your campaign to see what others are saying and
    18. 18. 18
    19. 19. Catch of the Day campaign • Missions: Environmental justice, public health, educate at-risk populations (sustenance fishers) • Partner: Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper • Mobile channels: Interactive texting, web (fish consumption guide), photo messaging, social media • Other channels: On-location reps, print version of guide in five languages 19
    20. 20. Campaign launched at Family Fishing Day at Broderick Park (6/29/13), continued through September. Anglers were encouraged to text COD to 877-877, which directed them to online info about local fish consumption advisories and healthier ways to eat local fish. Anglers shared pictures of their catches on the GROW 716 webpage. 20
    21. 21. 21
    22. 22. Result: Reached 1,000 people who fish local waterways. Plus: WSJ coverage 22
    23. 23. LA County Bicycle Coalition 23
    24. 24. • Campaign mission: Empower communities to create safe walking and bicycling routes along streets in 3 LA neighborhood • Events: Bike rides, walks, community workshops. • Partners: LA DOT, LA County Public Health Dept., TRUST South LA (grassroots community group) • Activities: Storytelling, spotting problems, suggesting solutions 24
    25. 25. Active Streets LA 25
    26. 26. 26
    27. 27. Result: 236 stories by 24 community members in 1 day 27
    28. 28. 28
    29. 29. Uses Mobile Commons to text on behalf of grantees • Broadcast alerts: Issues (immigration reform, etc.), events, workshops, deadlines, opportunities. • Grantees. Made it a priority for grantees to get text alert signups. Get people to sign up on the spot at live events. • Unique links in texts allow tracking across social media, text forwarding via MC analytics • Web portal: People can resubscribe if phone number changes. 29
    30. 30. What works • Topical and/or time-focused campaigns • Interactive (location, photo sharing) • Solid SMS support service (Mobile Commons, RedOxygen) • Alongside: events, signage, in-person help, online and print materials • Multiple language support (perhaps call-in line) • Expand engagement past initial campaign: next steps 30
    31. 31. Which of these examples seem relevant to your challenges? Other examples you’ve seen? 31
    32. 32. Tools 32
    33. 33. What makes killer mobile engagement? ASK YOUR COMMUNITY! (well, sorta...) 33
    34. 34. Local Mobile Market Research • Short, easy to do: 8 questions • Not demographics! • Devices, access behavior • Actionable info: Which mobile channels to use first? • 25-50 every 6-12 months • Yes, mobile changes that fast 34
    35. 35. Google Analytics mobile dashboard 35
    36. 36. Mobile = Primary Use Case ASSUME that MOST of your audience/community is on mobile devices, at least sometimes. 36
    37. 37. Mobile Commons: Use for programs, grantees, donors 37
    38. 38. Mobile Commons • $2000-$4000/month. Some foundations get it and use on behalf of grantees. • NPR, CPB, APM, PRI also use it - partner! • Text messaging: broadcast alerts, interactive, custom reminders, etc. • Mobile analytics • Surveys, reports, quizzes • Text-to-give • Customer relationship management (CRM) 38
    39. 39. Groundsource 39
    40. 40. Texting plans 40
    41. 41. HUGELY POPULAR on mobile!!! 41
    42. 42. 42
    43. 43. Text-to-give: Mgive study 43
    44. 44. Active Streets LA 44
    45. 45. They are PHONES, after all • Interactive voice response (IVR) • 311-style call-in info lines • free open-source software • Commercial platform with large developer community. Voice as well as text, video, e-mail services. 45
    46. 46. Tips 46
    47. 47. Is your website mobile-friendly? 47
    48. 48. Is your e-mail newsletter mobile-friendly? 48
    49. 49. Campaigns & Events • Tie mobile signups/campaigns to live kickoff events • Mention mobile at other live events in your community, encourage on the spot signup • Photo/video storytelling booth at your events • “Timeboxing" works to increase mobile engagement: texting signups, etc. 49
    50. 50. 50
    51. 51. 51
    52. 52. Partners • Media: Public radio/TV often have Mobile Commons access. • Community/grassroots groups — good outreach in-person or via live events. • State, local county government. Especially if they offer 311-style call-in info lines. • Colleges & universities. Typically already have text alert services set up. 52
    53. 53. Speak their language • Good mobile is mostly like good social media • Hire someone who is already interacting well with that community via social media • Short, clear, direct. • Simple sentences, bulleted lists, active verbs • Invite their input, content — amplify and respond • Follow your community’s lead. 53
    54. 54. Amy Gahran @agahran 54
    55. 55. EXTRA STUFF 55
    56. 56. Catch of the Day campaign WSJ coverage 56
    57. 57. Western NY’s immigrant population, many of whom are culturally connected to subsistence fishing, has grown significantly over the past decade on the west side of Buffalo. The program seeks to educate low-literacy and at-risk populations — including immigrants, particularly women and children — about healthier ways to consume locally caught fish. Materials created for the program have been translated into five languages to make fish consumption information accessible for those whose first language is not English. 57
    58. 58. Kristen Kaszubowski, CFGB enviro comms coordinator • Immigrant anglers may not use social media or the web, but they do text. • Posted signs in places where local anglers go, telling them they can text to see if the fish they catch is safe to eat. 58
    59. 59. 59 • Response: Where you are fishing? Are you planning to eat the fish you catch today? • Then links to fish consumption guide. Or get one mailed to your home.
    60. 60. 60
    61. 61. • Asked anglers to submit a picture of fish. Sport fisherman loved that -- increased participation beyond immigrant sustenance anglers • Great social media content, increased awareness (amplify) • Told Riverkeeper where to deploy reps. 61
    62. 62. LA Bicycles: Bryan Moller, Policy/Outreach Coordinator • Last weekend, we gathered a wide representation of community members, and taught them how to use Vojo. • Challenge: How would you want to change your street — sidewalks, crossings, car speeds, etc. — to make it more bicycle friendly? • Went on walk/ride, stopped frequently. Take a picture, upload to Vojo, explain the problem, suggest solution. 236 postings by 24 community members. • Upcoming: LA Bureau of street services engineer will come in, review the stories, talk with community about what street treatments could address. Public charette. 62
    63. 63. • “Vojo is the starting point we use to get people thinking about what the problems are on their streets. Pictures highlights the need.” “It’s really quick and not hard to use. We had teens and older people using it.” “Even if you don’t use it much, you get people to think about what and where the problems are. That’s the biggest gap — letting people know what they should do and what they should know to solve community problems, without a long winded conversation.” 63