Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day WORKSHOP


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This workshop was part of the 2012 Grassroots and Groundwork conference, at Mystic Lake, MN - given June 8, 2012 by Amy Sample Ward. learn more at and

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  • Social media is broadly defined as any technology that enables social activity; social activity meaning anything that’s back and forth, conversational, networked, or otherwise allowing collaboration or exchange. There are, though, hundreds – thousands even – of social media tools out there. Shiny object syndrome is highly contagious. People are often persuaded or interested in using tools because of their “coolness,” “newness,” or the fact that someone else is doing it. It’s important that social media be seen as something to support all of your work, and not a separate thing - as such it should be used strategically as part of your other communications, outreach, and engagement strategies.
  • So how does it fit into what you’re doing? Think of a party, that you’re hosting. The party is your overall strategy (combines communications, outreach, volunteer recruitment, donor management, everything). Your website is the kitchen – where most of the resources are stored and most of the preparation for the party is done.
  • As more and more folks arrive at your house, you want to circulate with the goal to listen for interesting conversations that you can join in or contribute to. You also want to help by answering questions (“where’s the bathroom?”) and making introductions.
  • Notice which groups are congregating where, what they may be interested in, what they are talking about. This will help you put out food and start games based on where people are and who may be interested in what. Same with your communications or calls to action online, you want to be able to talk in a way and deliver information that is appropriate to the groups you’re talking with, wherever they are. The key is that you encourage everyone to create and participate – whether they bring food or a bottle of wine or a board game. All the places you engage online should be two-way spaces so that your community can start conversations, ask questions or share content just as much as you can. This should be a space where people feel comfortable contributing and being themselves – even if they do have blue eggs.
  • Lastly, you have to put out balloons, signs, or other decorations to sign post your location for those looking to join in the fun. This is the same as connecting your website link to all your various profiles or including it every time you comment online so people know how to get back to you. Creating bread crumbs that people can follow online could even be things like using common hashtags or tagging other people or organizations when posting.
  • These rings are true whether you are talking about an organization or an individual. You can put yourself in the gray circle.
  • Community – These are people you can share with directly. You know them, you know how to reach them. You probably even know what they like, think, do.
  • To reach the network with a message, it needs to go through someone in the community. Phone tag.
  • The crowd is really the rest of the world, at the largest scope, but usually seen as all those in the city or region or topic area you wish you could talk to but don’t have a connection to yet.
  • The way we communicate with each layer, and what we communicate, is different.
  • For many people and organizations, our natural instinct is to try to map it all out, create our PLAN for how it will all go. Unfortunately, working with communities is rarely straightforward and simple. The benefit, though, is that even though it isn’t going to go exactly to plan, you can make some assumptions and some estimates because, after all, you do know these people and you can ask them for feedback directly.
  • Working with the crowd on the other hand, means you could end up with way too many voices for anyone to really feel satisfied. Most often, connecting with the crowd takes the form of crowdsourcing. Is anyone familiar with that term? Crowdsourcing means putting out an end-product or output to the greater public and letting people respond. This could mean a contest for a new logo or a new application, or it could mean launching a public search for a campaign video, etc. Ultimately, in order for most crowd engagement to “work”, you have to pick a judge.
  • For many individuals looking to manage engagement on social tools alone, scale is really an issue. Focusing on your community first means you can treat the unique flowers directly. The big crowd is tempting, but if you don’t have the capacity to maintain it, you can be in for trouble.
  • There are a few elements to engaging with your community and the crowd that are important to think about as they impact your strategies and content.
  • The first is time: Do you want to communicate just once, or do you want to have a long-term conversation. One time or sustained. Community wants to be your long-term, sustained relationship. The crowd doesn’t know you, though, so a one-time piece of content is easier to pay attention to, absorb, react to, and possibly even share.
  • The next is action: is your ask or offer something passive or active? The community is interested in taking action for you, but the crowd doesn’t necessarily know you or trust you so something passive like learning more, watching a short video, or reading an article is must more appealing – especially when it is something that could help or interest them, whether or not they are interested in you.
  • The last element is the audience. If you are trying to connect with only the community, you may not even need to interact in public. If you are trying to reach only the crowd, then your strategies are going to be dramatically different. You also have the option of a hybrid, as I mentioned before, where you may focus on the community, but provide opportunities for the crowd to see and join.
  • Let’s dive in to Community Mapping! You might be an avid user of flickr, and love sharing photos. But that doesn’t mean all your volunteers are. Mapping your community helps you identify where everyone is, likes to be, and wants to engage with you. The Community Mapping exercise is most valuable when you can do it as a full organization or a team of people from across the departments. Plus - If you want to start listening to the community but not sure where they are, there’s a resources slide at the end of the presentation with a link to Build your own Listening Dashboard!
  • Step 1 – Identify all the groups within your community. As I said before the definitions, community is a huge, nebulous thing. To start mapping the community we need to first identify which groups are within it. Do you have volunteers, interns, or adjunct staff? Maybe you work with schools so you have segments for teachers, administrators, parents, students, and then groups outside of the school. Here are some questions that can help get people talking to start sharing the groups they work with. In my experience, the more diverse group you can get together to have this conversation and work through this planning together, the more complete a picture you can draw of your community. When people who work in services, programs, grant writing and fundraising, for example, all share their view of the groups in the community, not only can you start mapping the network but you can also have really rich discussions about the way different parts of your organization view the community.
  • The next step is to define the goals that match each group. There are two sets of goals to be discussed here: the first are the goals of that group – what do they want from you, why do they want to come to you, what do they get out of it? The second are the goals your organization has for that group – what are you hoping they will do, how will they contribute, what are you asking for from them? Again, this conversation can be really eye-opening as a part of building the community map, but also as far as encouraging dialogue within your organization and providing clarity around the organizational goals and the way they play out with the community engagement.
  • The third step is to identify the tools. This means identifying the spaces, platforms, and applications where each group congregates and where you can communicate with them. Even though much of these will be online social technologies, don’t forget about the offline spaces, too. Identifying the mechanisms you can use to communicate with each group can help you target your efforts, but in many cases illuminates areas where only one or a couple groups use a certain platform, while others use another – not only will this help you figure out where to say things, but can dramatically change what you say where.
  • Here’s what your Community Map could look like. If you’re doing this as a group in the office or at a retreat, you can use a whiteboard or a flip chart, or even have someone do it on their computer so long as everyone can see it in real-time with a projector or something. You’ll see there’s a column for each area we talked about: the groups first, then their goals, your goals, and finally the tools. I also have a template of this chart set up as a public google doc so you can use that link to get the template and save it to your computer for your own use. Before I move to the next section – does anyone have any questions?
  • When it comes to creating great content, there are four important elements, especially with social media. You’ll notice that the goal is in the middle of all three because it is always the core of your success and the first step in any decision. The people you want to talk to are closely connected to the goal and if one changes, the other may react. Your tools are defined both by the goal of what you want to do, but also by the people – are they tools that that audience uses and likes? And the content – is that a platform or application that supports that kind of content? Similarly, the content is defined by the goal, but also by the tools at your disposal and the people who will consume it.
  • So, what is the content you want to share? Do you want to be sharing what you know and learn with other volunteers? Inspiring and recruiting your friends to volunteer with you? Or are you trying to promote the organization? Maybe even using these tools to document and share back with the organization all that you’re doing. What you want to be doing with your voice and story via social media will shape the tools and content. Anyone in here want to share what you are now or want to start doing?
  • Many people think of social media as something that exists in their browser when they are looking at facebook. But social media can be many things.
  • Content planning! This is where we start to get a little bit more messy as we pull in even more data to make our plan. The questions on this slide are great questions to help you in your content planning. You’ll see as we work through this planning template how you can start to pull in or create answers to all these questions.
  • The first step is identifying all the content. Now, for this content map to be as valuable across your organization as possible, you want to be as specific as you can be with this section. I’ve listed some examples to get you started, but really think about all the various pieces of content you have. Instead of listing “blog posts,” instead, list what those blog posts are about: maybe job openings, volunteer opportunities, news about your work, examples of your services or people you have helped. New grants or new programs. There will probably be a lot of things to list. And that’s okay!
  • The next step focuses on goals. These goals should primarily come from the Community Map where you have two columns’ worth of goals and actions. There will be additional goals as well, but you do want to ensure that the goals you have already identified from the community map are included here. The additional goals could be things like, increase visibility, recruit new funders, find new staff or volunteers, etc.
  • The third step is listing all the possible outlets. Again, you can draw a lot of these from the community map, but you will probably find that this is an opportunity to be really specific, more specific than you were in the community map. For example, the community map may have identified facebook as a platform that one group uses. And in the content map you may list a facebook page as well as facebook events as you can create an event that’s tied to your page but publicizes and manages RSVPs for a one-time event.
  • Here’s an example of what your content map might look like. You’ll see that the goals and the content are listed on the left, and then along the right are all the various outlets. I like to use X, O and blank to denote that x=that content is always posted to that outlet; o=content is posted only if relevant; and blank=content is never posted to that outlet. You can use yes no maybe or any other set of indicators that work for you. Again, I’ve created this template as a public google doc so you can use that link to grab the template and save it to your own computer to use with your team. Before we go ahead with the metrics and tracking, does anyone have any questions?
  • The first step to getting valuable metrics is having access to analytics. I imagine many people on this webinar have used google analytics before or have it hooked up to your organization’s website now. You can use google analytics with a lot of other places you may be investing time and energy online, too! Including blogger and wordpress, wikispaces and even facebook. There are links on the resources slide for more information about how to get set up if you are interested. The point here is that even if the online space isn’t “yours” it is still a place you can and should feel empowered to track and measure.
  • In addition to creating a listening dashboard, you can use all kinds of tools to ensure you get alerted to important actions. These are just a few of the dozens of applications and companies out there. If you aren’t already using Google Alerts, then get started today! You can even set up google alerts as RSS feeds that are part of your listening dashboard! The one I recommend as well from this list is social mention, as it’s free and you can search for any key word or hashtag etc and see what’s happening across the web.
  • Here’s where the big template comes in. Even if you’re using google alerts and google analytics, you may not really be able to look at data over time in a critical way. You will have a good sense of where things are going or how people respond to content and actions, but tracking it like this means you can point to specific data to support your case. This template, like the others, is available at that link as a public google doc that you can save and reuse. It is not intended to be an end-all-be-all template, but it is designed to show you just how much you can be tracking. And get you thinking about where you may have more data points to add in. You’ll notice there are tabs for various platforms so that you can concentrate each view to one platform and measure points over time.
  • It’s best to always start at the beginning. And with social media, there are so many options that the place to begin is by listening. This means using tools that will let you find conversations, discover which platforms or tools your community is already using, identify the best places to start contributing, and identify how you can include social media in your other strategies.
  • Much of listening is fueled by RSS. RSS means really simply syndication and the way it works is actually pretty simple. You often visit many of the same websites in any given day or week, you may visit news sites, other organization’s websites, and so on. You might also visit youtube channels or blogs. All of these sites have RSS and by subscribing via RSS you are essentially subscribing to any new content. So, if the site is updated, if there’s a new video posted, a new blog post, or any other new content, you don’t have to visit the site to see it; instead, it will be delivered to you either in email or an RSS reader. The RSS icon is the orange signal-like square. You’ll see this in a browser bar or as an image that is linked in a sidebar.
  • You can also subscribe to the RSS of a search. You can search on google or another search engine, or you can be more targeted by searching for content where conversations are more likely to happen: blogs. This is Google Blog Search and Technorati. Searching on these sites will let you zero in any new content from the blogosphere.
  • Google Alerts is a tool from Google that lets you set your search criteria - just like you would use in a web search - like your organization’s name, key words related to your services or sector, project names, and so on, and then determine how often you want to be alerted with any search results (daily, whenever it happens). For example, say you work at NetSquared and you want to know whenever you name appears online. You’d put your organizaiton’s name, “netsquared” in the search terms box. Select what type of content you want to search - if you are only looking for videos or blogs etc. Comprehensive will search all content types. Select how often you want to be notified and then enter your email address - voila! You have an alert set up! You can set up more than one; I like to have an alert for the organization name in and out of quotes (as the google alerts function just like google searches where the use of quotes means it looks for the exact match and no quotes means it looks for those words), the key words for the sector like technology, innovation, or social change, and then the names of key staff members like the executive director, communications or PR director and so on so if they are mentioned or quoted we can see that, too. What is great about alerts is that you can deliver results to your email, or to RSS.
  • Twitter search is a great example of how you can listen to conversations without having to use the tool. Facebook would require you to join the platform before you could see or listen. Twitter search lets you search for names or words, just like google or a blog search, but see what’s being said right now. And, as you can see from the orange signal icon, you can subscribe to searches of Twitter content via RSS as well.
  • Now that you have all of these various RSS feeds, you need to put them into a dashboard, or an RSS reader. There are a few free tools you can choose from including Google Reader or igoogle (the google home page tool). I like to use Netvibes because of the personalization options and flexibility it offers.
  • Here’s an example of my public-facing RSS. I’ve created this as a resource page for anyone interested in reading what I read and finding content from the larger nonprofit technology field. You can see that I’ve created tabs for topic areas and each feed has it’s own box. To create another tab I would simply click on “new tab” that you can see in line with the others; and to add content (another feed), I would just click on the big green “add content” image. This is where you can start adding your google alerts, your blogs, news sites, twitter searches or anything else. You can arrange the tabs however you like but I think that it’s important to consider timeliness as you are listening in order to respond. So, consider arranging your tabs and the corresponding feeds by things you would want to reply to immediately, soon, fairly quickly and then only if you have time, with a tab or two of things you may never respond to but might want to follow (like searches about technology news in general opposed to netsquared’s programming).
  • Now you’re listening, observing, and understanding where conversations are taking place, what kinds of topics are of interest where, and which groups are interested in what kind of content. This means you know where your community is strongest and where you can jump in!
  • Signposting is another way to start joining in. Wherever you may have a profile, whether it is actually on a platform like facebook or twitter, or if it is on a working group, a network, or other online space, be sure to always include information and a link back to your website so people can follow the breadcrumbs to find you.
  • Now you’re listening, your starting to engage – it’s time to create! You can really start having a party now that you have friends (new and old) over to your house, you’ve circulated and checked in to know what folks are up to and interested in, and started making introductions and recommendations so people know each other and know you (plus where the bathroom is – or your website). It’s now time to start creating content and creating spaces for your community to share content. Remember, even if you’re a wine snob and someone brings boxed wine, that’s okay. So long as it’s appropriate (as in, it’s not a children’s party!).
  • Because you know where your community is, you can begin creating a presence on the corresponding networks or tools. When it comes to creating profiles, you have a few options. Remember that social media is about being social, and it’s pretty hard to be social with a building. Your organization is a building. But your staff are real, lovely, people! You can have an organizational presence on twitter, for example, but your staff don’t (and shouldn’t) be confined to that account.
  • First of all, be real. Say who you are and who you work for. Signpost back to your organization’s website or even to your staff page. Use a real picture. This works for both organizational accounts and staff accounts. For example, we have a NetSquared twitter account but in the description it shows who (with their Twitter names) are actually contributing to that stream.
  • Be engaging. Actually talk with, not to people. If they wanted to listen to broadcast messages, they could watch for news on your website. If they are connecting with you online in social media it’s because they might just want to chat! Remember that conversations with just one person, in social media (so long as they are public and not in private messages or email) will really be with everyone. Others might learn from listening, might have the same question or answer or maybe will find something else to talk about based on hearing your conversation with someone else. This means replying publicly online whether it’s a forum, a blog, a tweet or a facebook post.
  • Lastly, be valuable. This doesn’t mean you have to push your content – don’t confuse being valuable in conversation as being valuable as an organization. Your services, programs, and efforts will speak for themselves. But in social media, where it’s all based on content and conversation, you want to be a valuable voice. When there are opportunities to point people to your research, data, or services, then do it. But don’t be shy about point people to resources or information from other groups. What’s most important is not where you point them but that you are the one with the answers; you become a valuable resource. Share your ideas, experiences and observations just as much as data or information – remember, you’re being real!
  • I’ve said already that you want to be sure you let your community create and share content just as much as you do. Often, though, groups can concentrate on the community and completely forget about those in the office! Your organization has a lot to offer and it’s important to find ways to tell stories from all departments, all efforts or projects or programs and to do so authentically. Meaning, you want to let everyone in your organization tell a story, instead of just one person speaking for everyone. There are lots of ways to do this including having different blogs for different people or departments, creating content series’ around various projects, and so on. You aren’t the only host, you have a partner or a family or a group of friends all pulling together to make it a success – it’s okay to share the credit and share in the responsibility.
  • Thanks again to all of you for coming! Please feel free to connect with me online for more resources or conversation!
  • Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day WORKSHOP

    1. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SOCIAL IMPACT Even when you have only 30 minutes a day! Amy Sample Ward, NTENGrassroots & Groundwork 2012
    3. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    5. WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT IT? • Real-Time • Public • Shareable • Multi-directional • Personal
    6. SOCIAL MEDIA IN PRACTICE • Be Real • Be Engaging • Be Valuable
    12. DISCUSSION • What do you want to do with social media? • What scares you or your organization about social media? • Which organizations do you admire on social media?
    13. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    14. COMMUNITYFlickr: efleming
    15. NETWORKFlickr: thefangmonster
    16. CROWDFlickr: SashaW
    17. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTFlickr: cambodia4kidsorg
    18. CROWDSOURCINGFlickr: James Cridland & billypalooza
    19. VALUE ADDFlickr: Hamed Saber & jimmcclarty
    21. TIMEFlickr: joelanman
    22. ACTIONFlickr: juniorvelo
    23. PEOPLEFlickr: rileyroxx
    25. STEP 1: GROUPS Questions to ask: Do different programs or departments connect with different groups? Do services or products target different groups? How would you describe your community or audience to someone unfamiliar with your work, and if it is relevant to them?
    26. STEP 2: GOALS Questions to ask: Why does the community continuing needing your services, programs or work? What is in it for others to participate? ----- What do you need help with or involvement from the community to do? How can your work improve with engagement?
    27. STEP 3: TOOLS Questions to ask: Where does this group already talk or engage online? Which tools are most appropriate to the kind of message or content? What kind of engagement is required to match the goals?
    28. COMMUNITY MAPPING TEMPLATEGet this template!
    29. DISCUSSION • What groups and segments did you come up with? • How did you identify the goals? • Did you notice any tools that aligned with only one or two groups?
    30. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    31. YOUR STORY • Sharing your knowledge and experience with other volunteers • Inspiring your friends & family to join you • Showcasing your work/organization to the crowd • Reporting your contributions to NYCares
    32. YOUR TOOLS • Phone • Computer • Software (open source options for most everything you may need) • Social networks
    34. STEP 1: CONTENT Examples: Program or service updates/changes Staff announcements Jobs Volunteer opportunities Fundraisers Events
    35. STEP 2: GOALS Examples: Increase visibility of the organization Increase participation Raise funds Build leadership Find sponsors or partners Recruit volunteers Build community
    36. STEP 3: OUTLETS Examples: Newsletter or mailing Email newsletter Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Website Blog
    37. CONTENT PLANNING TEMPLATEGet this template!
    38. DISCUSSION • What were some of your content types? • Which channels did you identify? • How did you decide which channels you marked content for?
    39. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    41. GOALS + METRICS • Start with your organization/department goals • Identify the data that will help tell that story • Test and modify, and again
    42. GOALS + METRICS NTEN Example: Establish NTEN Reputation: NTEN is a trusted leader for information, resources, and education on all aspects of using technology across your organization to meet your mission. NTEN is an early adopter; transparent and open with our evaluations and experience.
    43. GOALS + METRICS NTEN Example: • % of Conversation • # of outside articles & speaking engagements by NTEN staff • RT’s • # of requests from Members for specific information • positive mentions of NTEN • guest content (NTEN blog) promotion • leading referral sites (external) • leading referral platforms (social media) • referral site w/longest on site time
    45. ALERTS
    46. METRICS TRACKING TEMPLATEGet this template!
    47. METRICS: REPORTING Internal reporting: •Weekly metrics for various platforms •Add metrics as you go •Look at long term, not just short term changes •Monthly reporting of trends and insights External reporting: •Share when there is something worth sharing •Reporting context, not just numbers •Ask for input and feedback
    48. DISCUSSION • What are you tracking now? • How do you think reporting could help in your organization? • What are some of the goals you identified, metrics that measured them?
    49. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    58. JOINING
    62. CREATING
    68. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    69. Tying it to your own practice Instructions: 1. Circle up in groups 2. 4-part grid 3. Lots of questions and conversation 4. Sharing with the whole room
    70. AGENDA • Social Media Overview & Discussion • Part 1: Community Mapping • Part 2: Content Mapping • Part 3: Metrics & Evaluation • Part 4: Your 30 Min/Day • Social by Social Game • Questions & Discussion
    71. RESOURCES Templates: Community Map Template: Content Map Template: Metrics Template: Books & Collections: We Are Media: Social by Social: #SOCIALMEDIA NONPROFIT tweet Book01: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission:
    72. RESOURCES“like”-into-lasting-change/
    73. THANKS! @AmyRSWard