Using social media to extend reach


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Dan Martin, editor, on how to use social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and Cover It Live to boost marketing and drive up profits.

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  • Twitter, Facebook and a host of others you’ve never heard of Definitions: “ Software tools that allow groups to generate content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchange of content” “ Online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other.” “ A category of sites that is based on user participation and user-generated content” Not all will work for you and your organization. Key thing is finding the ones which do – takes some time but it’s well worth the effort!
  • In the old days, if someone had a complaint about a company/organisation they’d gossip to a friend, talk over the garden fence
  • Complaints and praise are on the internet within seconds!
  • A wave of negative comments about Dell’s customer service sparked by US blogger and journalist Jeff Jarvis Jarvis wrote: “Today, when you lose a customer, you don’t lose just that customer, you risk losing that customer’s friends. And thanks to the internet and blogs and consumer rate-and-review services, your customers have lots and lots of friends all around the world.” Initially Dell was slow to respond but in the end it created Direct2Dell, a platform through which Dell interacts with customers and other interested parties.  
  • Also created IdeaStorm – customer can suggest ideas which the community votes on and Dell puts into practice It also employs a team of ‘customer advocates’ who monitor social media mentions of the company and runs IdeaStorm, a platform allowing users to post suggestions for Dell products and services which the community discusses and votes on.   Dell has also embraced Twitter and runs more than 80 feeds. While some are corporate branded, many are personal to particular employees.   Dell’s social media activity has reduced the proportion of negative comments about the business from 40% to under 20%.
  • Other examples include MyStarbucksIdea – Starbucks customers can suggest ideas and debate.
  • All of this means money and greater customer satisfaction! Dell’s social media activity has reduced the proportion of negative comments about the business from 40% to under 20%. Wiggly Wigglers has harnessed the power of social media. Building on its mission for the public to embrace sustainable gardening practices, the company produces weekly podcasts which have led to press coverage around the world, increased sales and an 80% reduction in advertising costs. The company also posts ‘how to’ videos on its website and on YouTube, while Wiggly Wigglers’ pages on Facebook and Twitter are followed by more than 1,600 people.
  • Key learnings – Dell/Starbucks uses external social media to interact with customers but it drives that traffic back to its own website/own community which IT CONTROLS
  • The American Civil Liberties Union tried to stop members using the organisation’s name when arranging get-togethers through . Were saying that although we as an organisation and you as members of that organisation share values, you can’t use our names to arrange your own meetings. The wrong attitude in the world of social media – must accept that members can use your name
  • Internet expert Clay Shirky’s argument. Old model – a one-way relationship – you send a newsletter, members read it. The member organisation at the centre like a star broadcasting light to its members. But through social media, people have got used to answering back – you need to facilitate that and allows members to feedback to you but also to each other – your members expect it You need to work out which groups are most relevant to the organisation and to each other at particular times and in particular circumstances ----------------------------------------------- “ But the line back is much less radical, and represents a much less dramatic shift than the lateral lines, the lines drawn between members that are in a way using the idea of (the organisation) as a platform for co-ordination but don’t need help or permission from (the organisation) to come together. The biggest determinant for the role of the nonprofit is what do you do about those lateral lines. The negative thing is, if your principal role is to stop those lateral lines from forming you’ve got a wasting asset, because your membership base will start to move away - because things that they expect in a room will be in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Key to successful use of social media is pitching yourself an expert – give stuff away for free! One way to do this is through LinkedIn – one often overlooked section of the site is the Q&A area Search it on a regular and find questions which are relevant to you and your organisation’s expertise – answer them Users can rate your answer as ‘best answer’ which appears in your LinkedIn profile LinkedIn also allows you to link to relevant websites – your website! Also create a group – can be used to automatically/manually post links to your website content – and other websites and network with your existing members and NEW members
  • Free, social media technology means you can broadcast live from events. This technology is been used by organisations including Sky News and the New York Times. During conference, seminars and workshops, set up a Cover It Live session and blog about the event as it happens. Can also set it up to pull in Twitter feeds and create polls which display audience reaction in real-time. Value of hashtag – create a hashtag about the event - # symbol followed by text and get the Twitter community talking about your event – take questions from the live and external audience. Could even consider running Cover It Live only events which you charge members for or free as a way of demonstrating to potential members what you’re all about. I used the technology at the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies annual conference in York recently – went down very well.
  • Smart registration Your profile is searchable – use keywords relevant to what you do and who you want to find it. Mention sector, target audience, location – whatever’s relevant Change it on a regular basis – it’s a marketing tool that’s completely free! Twitter uses can search profiles based on location through and directories such as
  • It’s isn’t all how many followers you have; it’s the quality of those followers. Use search engines like and to find people relevant to your organisation and follow them; chances are they will follow you back
  • Use every opportunity you can to promote your social media presence – these buttons are on Put them on your website, your business cards, your marketing material It is also possible to embed your Twitter feed into your website – Google loves new content so use it!
  • You must still give value and pitch yourself as an expert so regularly search for topics of relevance and answer questions – services like Twitalert – like Google alert – will allow you to keep track of particular keywords/subjects Also use Twitter to ask questions, gather information, ask people what they think of you/your organisation/your Twitter feed Also use Twitter to special events – get your CEO/directors online for an hour and take questions from the community – accounting software company Sage recently did it and it worked well – even answered questions from competitors – I wrote about it!
  • Despite benefits/popularity of online, face-to-face is still important so tweet-up! Tweet-ups are meet-ups arranged through Twitter. Tools exist which you can use to promote them – e.g. – set up online invitations, track mentions, print names badges If running a conference, arrange a tweet-up in lunch/coffee breaks – the chances are at most events they’ll be someone tweeting. Use them to discuss ideas for your organisation, find out what’s on the mind of your members, are you addressing their needs, what added value do they want?
  • Use the real-time search engine on Twitter. Find out who’s talking about your brand. If they are, respond. If no-one is talking about you, you need to ask why!
  • Twitter may be on the internet but use it to make local contacts. Build up local networks. Services like will help.
  • Using social media to extend reach

    1. 1. Social tools to extend reach Surviving a recession: What member organisations can learn from the commercial world Law Society, 6 October 2009
    2. 2. Who am I? <ul><li>Editor of, website for entrepreneurs </li></ul><ul><li>Administrator of </li></ul><ul><li>Part of Sift Media, sister company to Sift Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Publisher of 11 B2B community websites </li></ul><ul><li>Audience of 250,000 business professionals </li></ul><ul><li>10 th most influential political blogger on Twitter </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is social media?
    4. 4. Then… Sift Media win
    5. 5. Now…
    6. 6. Negatives into positives Sift Media win!
    7. 7. Generating ideas
    8. 8. Generating ideas
    9. 9. Money, money, money
    10. 10. Jeff Jarvis, 2007 “ Dell realised that engaging in the conversation wasn’t just a way to stop blogging customers like me from harming the brand. We, the customers, bring them great value besides our money: We alert them to problem. We will tell them what products we want. “ We share our knowledge about their products. We help fellow customers solve problems. We will sell their products. But this happens only if you have a decent product and service and only if you listen to us.”
    11. 11. Make love not war v
    12. 12. Join us, join up, join in Source:
    13. 13. Give stuff away
    14. 14. Broadcast live
    15. 15. Tips for Twitter success 1. Smart registration
    16. 16. Tips for Twitter success 2. Make friends & influence people
    17. 17. Tips for Twitter success 3. Promote, promote, promote
    18. 18. Tips for Twitter success 4. Questions and answers
    19. 19. Tips for Twitter success 5. Tweet-up!
    20. 20. Tips for Twitter success 6. Are your ears burning?
    21. 21. Tips for Twitter success 7. A local place for local people
    22. 22. Get in touch [email_address]