30 thoughts-social-not-for-profits

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Thirty thoughts on current social media best practice, trends and challenges for not-for-profit organisations, from discussions between some of the UK's foremost charities at the Social by the Sea …

Thirty thoughts on current social media best practice, trends and challenges for not-for-profit organisations, from discussions between some of the UK's foremost charities at the Social by the Sea conference.

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  • 1. 30 thoughts from social not-for-profitsPage 1St30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011 Max | John, Lead consultant, not-for-profit and public sector | max.stjohn@nixonmcinnes.co.uk | 01273 764023
  • 2. IntroductionSocial by the Sea is a one day conference that convenes some of the UK’sforemost not-for-profits to talk about the current challenges and opportunitiespresented by social media.Digital and social technologies are starting to play a part at nearly every levelof large organisations and this collaborative forum aims to help everyone learnfaster by sharing their problems, ideas and tips on best practice.For the first event WWF-UK, the RSPCA, Oxfam, Age UK and Marie Curie allmade it down to Brighton for a day of lively discussions and this report aims tocapture 30 ideas, challenges and current trends that came out of thoseconversations.Page 2 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 3. Our survey said…We surveyed all of our attendees, from digital, fundraising, campaigning, press,brand and programmes teams, across five of the UK’s foremost charities.We asked them how important social media is for their organisation, how well it hasbeen adopted and what impact it’s having on the internal culture.We found that while over half believed that social media is one of the best ways toincrease their charity’s impact, only 25% thought that social had been fullyembraced by the organisation.However, 55% of respondents thought that social media was changing the cultureof their charity, showing that the impact is being felt despite its wider adoptiontaking time.Conversations over the day showed that social media is now a part of mostpeople’s day-to-day work but there are still big issues to address – from who ‘owns’social media to whether team structures and planning processes need to change…Page 3 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 4. 30 ThoughtsAdvice & BestPracticePage 4 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 5. 30 ThoughtsGet the basics right, first. Makesure that social media is built into all of thetouchpoints (your website, printed collateral,email) you have with your audience. Don’t justlink, share content – publish Facebookdiscussions in your supporter magazine, allowpeople to follow you on Twitter without leavingyour website and sign up for your emailnewsletters through your Facebook page, forexample.Page 5 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 6. 30 ThoughtsDon’t leave social until last.Whether you’re redesigning your website orputting together the comms plan for a campaign,don’t wait until the last minute to work out howsocial media fits in. Make sure social media is partof the planning process and considered as a two-way channel, and you might produce a website orcampaign which generates a community ofadvocates. Leave it as an add-on and it will endup as another channel for push messaging.Page 6 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 7. 30 ThoughtsAsk them what they want. Don’tjust assume you know what your supporters wantto hear from you through social spaces – askthem, using tools like Facebook Questions, orSurveyMonkey, what they’re most interested inand how often they want updates. Use this notjust to inform the kind of content that you publishbut how your internal editorial process needs towork, to minimise the extra effort and to makesure people will get a respsonse.Page 7 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 8. 30 ThoughtsBe rigorous. If you’re planning acampaign, it’s essential that social media isfactored into your evaluation, and that you reporton it with the same degree of rigor that you wouldapply to your other comms channels. Buildingsocial into your evaluation reports in the right waydemonstrates that it’s a credible part of yourorganisation’s work, generates valuable insightinto what works and what doesn’t, and buildsconfidence. But, make sure you that you…Page 8 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 9. 30 ThoughtsThink before you measure.Social media is digital, so that makes it innatelymeasurable, but measuring everything is timeconsuming and not necessarily useful. Don’t justreport on Likes of a page or ReTweets becauseyou can – think about your objectives and themetrics that might demonstrate progress towardsachieving them, and if you can’t think of any,maybe you shouldn’t be measuring it at all.Page 9 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 10. 30 ThoughtsCrises don’t wait for sign-off.Mandatory sign-off periods and multiple approvalsdon’t work for social media. Time and again it’sbeen shown that sticking to the old rules meanthat a reputational crisis could be in full swingbefore the copy for a response has been finalised.Rethink the processes, ask hard questions aboutattitudes to risk, and make sure you can react fastenough to mitigate against potential negativesituations becoming full-blown reputational crises.Page 10 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 11. 30 ThoughtsDon’t lose sight of what works.We shouldn’t get carried away and prioritisesocial media over some of the tried and testedthings that deliver. Testing and innovating alwayscarries a degree of risk, so we need to managethat risk in a way that doesn’t compromise ourability to do what people support us for. Underpinyour plans with what you’re confident will work foryour intended audience and build the new stuff ontop of that.Page 11 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 12. 30 ThoughtsProtect your space. Everyone wantsto talk to your Facebook fans – from Fundraisingand Campaigns to your corporate partners. Thinkvery carefully about the mix of messages andtheir timing, or risk presenting a very confusingexperience and engaging with only a smallnumber of people, in a shallow way. Think abouthow you can integrate your messaging orwhether you need to segment your audiencesinto new communities.Page 12 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 13. 30 ThoughtsConversation vs education.Prompting and maintaining conversations is a lotmore time intensive than simply educatingaudiences, but if you carry on doing what you’vealways done, you’ll always get the same results(while everyone else moves on). Make sure youstrike the right balance between the pushmessaging that the organisation might be usedto, and the thing that social media is best used for– asking, listening and discussing.Page 13 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 14. 30 ThoughtsDon’t make an app for that.Innovating for the sake of it is not necessarilygood. The important thing is to find the rightsolution to the problem, not simply the mostinnovative. Focus on the problem, the people andthink about your strategy, before you startthinking about the tools or technologies you mightuse. This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t beallowed the time or space to try new things for fun– serendipity can be powerful.Page 14 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 15. 30 ThoughtsAppoint a curator. Empower andencourage anybody to create content for yoursocial media spaces, but manage this throughshared tools like a Google spreadsheet or aninternal wiki – but give the power to publish tosomeone who knows and cares about yourcommunity. Let them decide what goes up, andwhen, and how it’s framed with your Facebookfans or Twitter followers.Page 15 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 16. 30 ThoughtsEducation can be organic.There’s a lot of learning to be done around socialmedia, depending on who you are and what youdo within an organisation. Formal training andsocial media drop-ins can be really effective butsometimes just identifying a few enthusiasticpeople within your organisation – andempowering them to help their colleagues ‘get it’a bit more can be a low-intensity way ofencouraging a change in skills and attitude.Page 16 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 17. 30 ThoughtsIdeas andinnovationPage 17 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 18. 30 ThoughtsInnovation is not invention.Doing things differently doesn’t need to involvetechnology. Making social media work for ourorganisations or campaigns can be aboutchanging the way we think about howcommunications are planned, or setting up newforums for conversations around social media.Celebrate innovation in all its forms, call it out andencourage others – don’t exclude people bymaking it sound like they have to invent robots.Page 18 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 19. 30 ThoughtsTwitter is your new customerservice channel. Your audience will useTwitter to ask you questions, regardless ofwhether you’d like them to call your 0800 number,and expect a fast response. Supporter care/customer service processes and teams need toknow how to use the tools, how to talk to peopleand when there’s a question that needs theirattention – the same way they do email or phone.Page 19 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 20. 30 ThoughtsIt’s ok to fail… as long as you learn fromit. To innovate we need to try new things, and ifwe can’t do that with confidence we’re nevergoing to make significant progress. Explicitly saythat it’s ok to fail – make it clear that the lessonslearned from failing are valuable in themselvesbut make sure that everyone can learn from it.Have a monthly confession session or a space onyour internal wiki so people can be proud they gotit wrong because they did something totally new.Page 20 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 21. 30 ThoughtsFind your social champions.Give your supporter networks a greater voice anda bigger impact by finding who the ‘socialchampions’ are – the people who are passionateabout you and confidently, proactively use socialmedia to talk about you. Scour the country, bringthem in, give them your support, create a toolkitand provide them with guidance. Harness theirenthusiasm but be careful not to squash it.Page 21 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 22. 30 ThoughtsStart small and iterate. Whetheryou’re trying to convince senior management thatyou need to invest more time in social media orget the customer service team answering querieson Twitter as well as the phone line, it sometimesfeels like you’ve got a lot of work on your plate.Set your sights on small, achievable goals andyou’ll feel like you’re making progress sooner,and with a lower risk of failure than if you’respending months slogging towards a bigger prize.Page 22 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 23. 30 ThoughtsTV is social, join in. Lots of peopleuse Twitter while watching TV (the ‘two screenexperience’) to share their thoughts and opinionswith other viewers. Find popular programmesrelevant to you or your campaigns, that have alively debate around them and research thehashtags. Check out any earlier conversation, soyou know what people are talking about and thinkabout how you might join in.Page 23 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 24. 30 ThoughtsCreate a council. Social media steeringgroups, user groups or councils – whatever youcall them, they’re becoming more common inlarger not-for-profits. They convene what areusually disparate teams from across theorganisation to share best practice,collaboratively solve problems and draw up newworking practices or guidelines where needed.Anyone should be able to attend and over timethey help build out capability and confidence.Page 24 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 25. 30 ThoughtsChanging behaviour. Behaviourchange is a major part of some campaigns teams’objectives but can you measure it through socialmedia? It’s possible to find indicators thatdemonstrate changes in attitudes (e.g. uplift inmentions of specific phrases) or use closedgroups to run post-campaign qualitative research,but tying long term changes in behaviourspecifically to social media is difficult, so look atthe campaign as a whole.Page 25 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 26. 30 ThoughtsResearch can be quick. Qualitativeresearch can take a long time and cost a lot ofmoney but it’s vitally important if you’re going todo anything effective, especially if it’s a socialcampaign that you want people to engage with –find a small group of people to poll at an eventyou’re attending, or ask for feedback from yourFacebook fans. Make sure you’re confident thatyou’re framing your message in the right way,and that it’s going to resonate with your audience.Page 26 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 27. 30 ThoughtsQuestions andchallengesPage 27 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 28. 30 ThoughtsWhat’s our accepted wisdom?Some metrics that are relied upon for gettinginvestment are less than watertight (think Barbratings and TV) but because social media isdigital, there’s a risk we measure and report onthings because we can, not because theydemonstrate its effectiveness. What do you thinksocial media is really doing for your organisation?How could you report on it, confidently, in a waythat gets you more buy-in?Page 28 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 29. 30 ThoughtsIs it the role or the person? Ifyou actively want people in your organisation toget out there in social spaces and talk about theirwork, you can look for enthusiastic volunteers ormake it part of their job description. Both requirecreating guidelines (however light or heavy) andproviding support but adding it into new roles willalso start changing the kind of people you hireand create a more social-ready organisation. Amix of the two is probably the optimum choice.Page 29 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 30. 30 ThoughtsChange is coming. Sooner or later,job roles and team structures within not-for-profitsare going to have to change. Coping with theimmediacy of social media, changing audienceexpectations and making the most of theopportunities that digital tools present means weneed new ways of doing things and teams with adifferent mix of skills – campaigners that dofundraising or digital teams that are customerservices, PR and brand. Start thinking now…Page 30 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 31. 30 ThoughtsShould you ‘segment’? Unlikeemail, you can’t selectively publish messages tospecific social media audience segments, but youcan create separate spaces for people who wantdifferent things from you. If you’re not ready torethink how to integrate your messaging but wantto engage more effectively with differentaudiences, consider creating an issue-specificFacebook page, for example. But plan for it -know why you’re doing it and how you’ll sustain it.Page 31 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 32. 30 ThoughtsWho’s on call? Who should be doing outof hours monitoring of your social spaces andhow? Many charities are employing one of twomodels: the external agency that monitors andreports on conversations with a prioritised digestof issues; or a rota of nominated staff membersresponsible for keeping on top of conversations.But is this sustainable? Is the ongoing costjustifiable and do we need to change some staffmembers’ core working hours?Page 32 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 33. 30 ThoughtsWhat’s the R in ROI? Focusing on £generated as an immediate attributable return forsocial media is often a good way to end up withfrustrated stakeholders and stressed outfundraisers – think about other things that socialis good at doing, that also demonstrate a return –signups to an email newsletter or capturingmobile numbers, for example.Page 33 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 34. 30 ThoughtsWho’s the spokesperson now?Social media means that anyone in yourorganisation can be part of its external voice, andsome charities are actively encouraging people toset up Twitter accounts. As a result, not-for-profitsare organically becoming more transparent anddeveloping a more representative voice. Justmake sure you give people the support andguidance they need to get on and do it in a waythat manages risk.Page 34 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 35. 30 ThoughtsWhere does social sit? If it is thesole domain of the digital team, you might retainquality and consistency but you could create asevere bottle neck. Let anybody at it and seniormanagement might be nervously chewing theirfinger nails. Look at different models for managingthe organisation’s external voice – can digital actas the social media support team and help buildcapability more widely, with the help of a monthlydrop-in group to help, for instance.Page 35 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 36. 30 ThoughtsManage your partners. Corporatepartners might be champing at the bit to pay forspace on your Facebook page, but this can endup being a pretty big turn off for your audience. Ifyou can get them to pay per mention of theirbrand name, or for another supporter action, thisgives you licence to mention them as often asyou need to, in a way that feels appropriate foryour audience (as long as you’ve told them aboutit), with a financial return as a result.Page 36 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 37. About NixonMcInnesNixonMcInnes is a social consultancy that helps FTSE 350 companies,government and major not-for-profits take advantage of and adapt toemerging trends in technology, markets and the workplace.For the past three years we have been recognised by Worldblu on the listof the most democratic workplaces in the world – living and breathingthe principles of transparency, openness, freedom and participation.The same principles that are the key to success in social media.We work in partnerships with our clients – which include WWF-UK, theRSPCA, Stop Climate Chaos, the Department of Health and the CentralOffice of Information.Page 37 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011
  • 38. About NixonMcInnes Follow: twitter.com/nixonmcinnes Read: nixonmcinnes.co.uk/knowledge Call: 01273 764010 Visit: bit.ly/NMTowersPage 38 | 30 thoughts from social not-for-profits | October 2011