Social Media for Beginners (Taking Action for Animals Conference 2010)


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This is a beginner's level introduction to social media given to animal advocates and rescue organizations at The HSUS' annual conference.

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  • There is a huge learning curve with social networking – for some it’s a huge part of their everyday lives, for others, they are afraid and stay away from it.
  • There is a huge learning curve with social networking – for some it’s a huge part of their everyday lives, for others, they are afraid and stay away from it.
  • Websites are one way = social networks are two way.
    It’s another way to reach out to people that you may not reach any other way = they prefer to communicate this way (I’m one of them!)
    Memos > email > instant messaging > text messaging > social networks > next big thing?
  • Social networking should not be looked at as replacing your website. Email is still our strongest driver in terms of response. It should be a part of your overall communications – email, website, web / print ads. Come together and push your programs via all available channels.
    Social networks are not a silver bullet for fundraising or any other goal = take an integrated approach!
    They are spending large amounts of time - Average facebook session is 20 mins a day 3 times a day
    They want to! The easiest and most popular way is online
    Pardon the expression.. “fish where the fish are”
  • We take on an “umbrella” structure – meaning all of our campaigns can have a presence, but it’s coordinated through us and has certain restrictions.
  • That way, when you find yourself in a Social Media Storm and in need of
    help / support / additional resources – they will understand
  • Named “Best Use of Facebook Tools” by Mashable
    Named “Best Promotion of Social Media Efforts by a Big Brand” by Fast Company
  • Put all of your friends into a friend list
    Start with Family, Friends, Work
    Go to Friends > All Friends > Create New List
    Then arrange
    Go to Settings > Privacy Settings > Profile
    Go through each setting and choose “customize”
    Under “except these people” choose the friend list you want to exclude for a certain section of your profile.
    Go to Settings > Privacy Settings > Search
    Set if you want people to be able to find you in Facebook’s search engine.
    Set what items people can see about you when they click on your name and are not your friend
    Set if you want Google to include your profile in search results
  • DO not post sensitive HSUS information (photos, etc)
  • Change frequently or people will get bored and won’t come back - Viral aspect (telling friends, reposting, new friend requests, comments) will die off
    People don’t read, limited attention span – average youtube video is under 1 min
    Write everyone back - That person took the time to reach out to you and that’s what social networks are all about
    Show pride, people use to personalize their profile which is what MySpace is all about and why it has become so successful.
    We put the code in boxes on our page for people to grab to make it easy – instead of them having to right click, save as, host, etc. Create supporter badges that link back to your myspace page. this is the #1 way we've recruited friends! side note: we do an ongoing survey about how people found our myspace page and the #1 answer is "from a friends profile".
    Build your friend list by starting with an existing network, sending friend requests to like minded people, celebs you work with, other orgs
  • If you’re worried about the time investment, create a new position.
    If you can’t create a new position, shift resources within the organization.
    If you can’t shift resources, hire an intern.
    Whatever you do, do NOT hire a social media agency to manage your presence.
    Find someone who is tech-savvy to show you the ropes.
    Social media enthusiasts love to share their knowledge (social media is all about sharing)
    Common presentation questions
    Isn’t it just a bunch of teenagers:
    NO. the median age on myspace is 33, the fastest growing segment on facebook is 25+.
    Real people are having real conversations.
    How do I know if it’s worth it?
    Measure. Use website stats and tracking codes to determine if people are paying attention. Facebook gives stats. Measure trends of friends over time.
    What if people say bad things?
    Approve everything
    Build trust and your community will stick up for you and reinforce your mission
    Members of your community will be your voice, eyes, ears, and police.
    What if im a small nonprofit? Don’t have the time or manpower?
    Find it. get volunteers, interns, family members, young staffers. They are already doing this stuff and know it inside and out. Theyd probably be happy to help if they are already engaged in your cause.
    How do I find someone?
    Assign someone internally to recruit – website manager, volunteer manager and have them advertise on craigslist and your website, schools, events, your newsletter and your networks.
    What if I don’t’ have fancy equipment?
    Camera, video recorder, you can use your cell phone or digital camera!
    You can create a video with a bunch of photos in a slideshow program!
    Myspace layouts are free – google them – you don’t have to know HTML or CSS (but it really helps)
    What if I’m afraid of people running off with our message?
    Get over it.
    people are already spreading your message, using your logo.
    Provide them the tools to do it right.
    They are already talking about you.
    Perfect opp to provide them with credible, accurate info.
    Many times the info you come across is negative, incomplete, or one-sided.
    How do I handle blog comments?
    Don’t hide your identity.
    Acknowledge the other side’s argument.
    Don’t say anything youll regret later.
    What goes on the internet stays on the internet
    Trust your employees by empowering them with tips and guidelines. They can be your most successful advocates.
    Doesn’t it take a lot of time?
    Yes, to get started. I spent 2 hours a day recruiting friends. But once your profile goes viral, you no longer have to recruit and you just have to keep up with the correspondence. Set aside a certain amount of time a day to do this and it won’t take over.
    How do I make my campaign sexy (without images of cute puppies like you have)?
    Use storytelling – ask people to share – make it personal
    Create a contest – user generated content with a prize
    Assign a personality to the campaign (sunny)
    Don’t be afraid to use humor (lolseals)
    Keep the tone conversational
    Write everyone back
    Use your most compelling images in slideshows and communications
    Create web badges that convey a sense of pride
    Embrace pop cultire and celebrities
    How do I convince higher ups that we should put resources into this… that its not just a fad?
    Expirement, get into everything, find what works, get results. We did this and I was able to hire two full time staffers.
    With volunteers its different – have them expiriment. If it doesn’t work out, you havent lost any $$
    (Great resource:
    Don’t get slowed down with a heavy legal / approval process. If they’re not ready to let go, its not time.
  • Cost – reach an unlimited amount of people with the same amount of staff effort (similar to email)
    Wider reach – can go viral Easy registration and participation Some offer peer-to-peer fundraising, allowing participants to fundraise on your behalf Provides a sense of community Allows you to communicate quickly and regularly about event details
    Get free and original content and engage your users at the same time – encourage participation!
    Other orgs are participating already with positive results
    Learn to let go = do not squash evangelism!
    Use google alerts, look at technorati for blogs, inbound links from Google syntax
  • To speak to this crowd, you have to know how they think.
    One of the reasons we are so successful is because everyone on my team was engulfed in social networks in their personal lives before they were even hired.
    You don’t need a fancy stats or CMS. Google analytics is free!
  • Offer Downloadable banners with code linking to your page
    Post your banners as comments on others pages
    ASK: top friends (MySpace), share profile (Facebook)
    ASK: invite friends to Causes (Facebook), repost bulletins (MySpace)
    Build a page on your website (or consider homepage!)
    Link to profiles in related emails / webpages
    Email to your file about ways to connect to you
    Join related groups and participate
    Put your URLs in your email signature
    Cross promote on other networks
    Friend request: other orgs, nonprofits, partner companies, celebs
    Visit similar profiles and send friend requests to active par
  • Social Media for Beginners (Taking Action for Animals Conference 2010)

    1. 1. Social Media for Beginners Carie Lewis Director of Emerging Media The Humane Society of the United States
    2. 2. How many of you have… • A personal Facebook profile? • A Facebook page for your org? • A personal or professional Twitter? • Watched a video on YouTube? • Read a blog? • Looked at pictures on Flickr? These are all social networking venues and opportunities for recruiting and engaging supporters!
    3. 3. My name is Carie, and I’m a social networking addict.
    4. 4. What is social networking? Connects people online by similar interests or other individuals. Fosters two way communication, collaboration, and sharing among users. Used to expand the number of one’s business and/or social contacts by making connections through others. There’s a huge learning curve with social media. Welcome to 101!
    5. 5. By people: ■ Connect with their favorite organizations ■ Recruit & network with others ■ Obtain useful resources ■ Self expression ■ Keep in touch with friends and family By organizations: ■ Connect and build community ■ Educate people that you might not reach any other way ■ Raise money and awareness ■ Get your message out to a hard to reach demographic ■ Turn friends into online advocates and donors (build email list) ■ Give a “face” to the organization using a conversational tone How social networks are used
    6. 6. Terms to Know Tweet Hashtag Tagging Like Publisher Others?
    7. 7. The difference You have a website. Isn’t that enough? Website Social network One way communication Two way communication Content generated in house Content generated by users Organization’s voice People’s voice Talking to people Talking with people Marketing Conversations Expect information Expect interaction Social networking has revolutionized the way we communicate and share information with one another in today's society.
    8. 8. What does this mean? We must not ignore traditional channels, but embrace the new ones, and fit them into our overall communications strategies. We must adapt by having a presence in places where people are. This means: • Finding new ways to engage our existing supporters. • Recruiting new supporters, donors and advocates. • Giving people a way to show they support us. • Giving people an easy way to recruit friends, family, and strangers.
    9. 9. Where We Are
    10. 10. HSUS Social Media Strategy •Be where people are •Stay on top of latest trends • Research new opportunities • Train staff • Have guidelines • Take an integrated approach • Measure everything! • Executive participation • Showcase successes • Listen • Don’t be afraid to fail • Learn from mistakes
    11. 11. Facebook Options & HSUS Structure Facebook Fan Page for businesses, organizations, public figures official HSUS presence – only one Facebook Groups organized by interest each state / campaign can have one Facebook Causes for specific movements each state / campaign can have many Facebook Profile a real person each person has one – but only one
    12. 12. We started out with one person Went under the radar Began by recruiting like minded members and participating in discussion boards Built up a supporter base We proved its worth by speaking their language We compared the ROI to our paid banner campaigns Got a tech-savvy employee to train executives and staff Sensitive to all curiosity and comfort levels (we got some on Facebook, some just a daily digest of our Twitter feed to their email …Don’t just tell them about it: get them involved! How we did it
    13. 13. • Sharing information, successes, failures with other orgs • Elevated importance within the org • integrated into all communications plans •featured on redesigned org homepage • sharing links on every email, webpage • Exponential program growth from 08 to 09: • 312% increase in number of fans • 585% increase in number of Cause supporters • 249% increase in amount raised on Causes • Recognition by Fast Company, Huffington Post, Mashable • Facebook is now the #1 referring site to our website • Raised over $300k from social media outreach in 09 It’s working…
    14. 14. Success is no longer just about how many friends you have. Do those friends do what you want them to? • Sign advos and petitions • Donate • Recruit friends • Share your content • Subscribe to your email list Measurement
    15. 15. A Note About Facebook Privacy It’s a GREAT idea to have someone teach your employees about online privacy, particularly Facebook. Dual accounts are a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service Use Friend Lists to organize Categorize friends based on what you do (or don’t) want them to see Set up friend lists > set privacy settings > set search settings
    16. 16. NEVER post something you wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times! (Or something you wouldn’t want your mother or boss to see!)
    17. 17. What Does… And Doesn’t Work • Decide where you want to be and why, and how it fits in to your goals – DO NOT just be everywhere because everyone else is. • Keep the tone conversational – DO NOT just repost press releases and web stories – provide links • Keep content fresh - DO NOT create a page and walk away from it – stale info is annoying and discouraging • When you have new content, alert people passively (post to your newsfeed) – DO NOT over-use messaging features – only when you want people to do something • Use visual content – DO NOT make your profile text heavy – use photos, videos, graphics • Take the time to build your friend list and customize your profile – DO NOT assume that if you build it they will come • Respond to every message / comment back • DO NOT ignore messages – you’ll be missing the point of social networks • Provide downloadable content (I support X org) • DO NOT make it difficult for them – give them the download code
    18. 18. NOW.. DON’T FREAK OUT. Isn’t it just a bunch of teenagers? How do I know if it’s worth it? What if people say bad things? What if I’m a small nonprofit? How do I find someone to do this? What if I don’t have fancy equipment? What if people run off with my message? How do I handle blog comments? Doesn’t it take a lot of time? How do I make my campaign sexy? How do I convince the higher-ups?
    19. 19. The Good Stuff! • Low cost • Wider reach • Obtain free and original content • Follow in other’s footsteps • Take advantage of the viral nature of the internet • Another, new venue to reach your goals • Reach a hard to reach demographic (start lifelong relationships) • Reach people you may not reach any other way • Take existing content from website and repurpose
    20. 20. How to Get Started #1 - Decide if you’re ready. You are ready if: • You have the time and resources to invest in getting started. • You’ve gotten over the fear of losing control of your message. • You are okay with opening the door to criticism. • You know how to measure your success. • You’ve got buy in from the top – down. #2 – Google yourself. See where others have already established a presence for you: • MySpace profiles and groups • Facebook Fan Pages, Groups, Causes, and other Apps • Flickr photos and YouTube videos • Blogs • Social bookmarking sites (Digg, StumbleUpon)
    21. 21. #3 – Assign resources. • Get a volunteer, intern or existing staffer • Young, internet savvy, on social networks ALREADY!  SO important #4 - Pick one venue and build it up • Take what you learn and expand to other networks • Repurpose your Flickr, YouTube content on MySpace, Facebook #5 – Track your successes (and failures!) • Referring stats for visitors from your website • Source codes for conversions from your CMS • Friend and commenting trends from the networks
    22. 22. What You Can Do Now #1 - Decide on one network and focus on building it up. #2 – Get a tracking system. Google Analytics is free. #3 – Sign up for YouTube Nonprofit Program and Google Grants. #4 – Subscribe to industry publications like Mashable and SmartBrief. #5 – Look up your org’s profile on Facebook Causes to see the what’s already created for you. #6 – Set up daily Tweetbeep and Google Alerts for your name. #7 – Build your friend list first. Don’t assume that if you build it they will come. #8 – Replicate all of your events on Facebook and determine Twitter hashtags early. #9 – Make all of your content shareable with a tool like AddThis. #10 – Make your page media-driven by uploading content and embedding.
    23. 23. Get started by joining the fun here at TAFA! y
    24. 24. Thank you! Carie Lewis Director of Emerging Media The Humane Society of the United States Email: LinkedIn: Twitter: @cariegrls Blog: