Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Public transit has a new plug thanks to social media

If there was ever a doubt about the ripple effect social media and technology would have in our daily lives, all you have to do is walk out your front door to find out. According to a recent article by The Wall Street Journal even a commute to work will suffice. The article reported that workers are enjoying their commutes to the office more because they can use their mobile devices, check email, listen to podcasts or read the news. In a study of 27,556 British rail passengers, those who found commuting a waste of time in 2004 dropped by a whopping 37 percent in 2010.

This study and many others underscore the meaning of Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward’s new book Social Change Anytime Everywhere. In the book, the authors stress the importance of engaging your community via multi-channels consistently over time—not just when you need support or dollars.

“After so many examples of using multiple channels for advocacy and fundraising, it’s important to remember that you can’t build real community around your work and move the needle on your cause if you invest in doing so only during campaigns or fundraising drives. Community building has to be an anytime, everywhere goal too.”

Reaching your community anytime everywhere requires understanding them and knowing where to find them, even if it’s on their mobile device while riding public transportation. I asked Allyson and Amy about getting to this answer through collecting data in our Page to Practice™ interview:

CausePlanet: One of the social media hurdles you acknowledge is accurately collecting data about your online community while facing the complications imposed by intermediary platforms. How should our readers go about proactively tackling this issue?

Allyson Kapin: While it’s important for organizations to communicate with their community on what channels they prefer, it’s important to have a plan to move these people up the ladder of engagement. Capturing data such as their contact information, including emails, their mobile phone numbers, etc., gives your organization an opportunity to reach these stakeholders wherever they are on more urgent campaigns in case they did not see your tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook. Once you have this information you can also survey them to learn more what their specific interests are, conduct A/B testing to find out which messages resonate with them, etc.

See also:

Cause for Change

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission

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Social change everywhere: From Russia with gov

“Weekly paychecks and free food!” was an excerpt from an ad that ran on Russian social media networks this summer offering full-time work for about $800 a month (the average Russian wage). Reporter Alexandra Garmazhapova of the Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based independent newspaper, was curious so she went undercover to investigate.

Signs reading “Administration of Bloggers and Commentators” and “Rapid Reaction Department” hung over the offices within an enormous mansion in St. Petersburg. Employees are told to comment on articles or posts “praising Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and President Vladamir Putin, abusing opposition leader Alexei Navalny and America, and defending Syria.”

If you ever doubted the power of social media, I’m sure a conversation with the Russian activists on the government payroll in this pro-Putin operation would set the record straight. While many of us wish we had an office bursting at the door jams with people working in our own Rapid Reaction Department, the reality is that we do more with less in the nonprofit sector.

Fortunately, we have experts on our side like coauthors Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward who just released Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money and engage your community.

Kapin and Sample Ward establish beyond a doubt and with great specificity just how much the online world is changing the way we live, work and engage with our communities. Nonprofits that raise more and leverage new heights in advocacy relate with their constituents through a variety of online channels in tandem, meeting each group where it already is: on the Internet.

In the U.S., 78 percent of the population uses the Internet, according to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union or the United Nations agency for information and communication). Nonprofit leaders must embrace not just one or two online channels but launch a coordinated effort that incorporates simultaneous online platforms, mobile devices and offline efforts.

In their book, Kapin and Sample Ward encourage readers to adopt a start-up mentality when launching a multichannel effort. We asked the authors in our interview, “What are some of the behaviors you admire about startups that nonprofits should consider?” Kapin answered:

Startups prefer to fail fast and iterate. This gives them an opportunity to experiment with new ideas that they think have potential. Plus there is a lot to be learned from failing: It can lead to much better products, programs and initiatives. But in order for nonprofits to adapt this mindset, they must stop being so risk-averse and develop a plan to communicate with their funders, donors and board about learning from failure. One of the organizations we work with–Ask Big Questions at Hillel International–lists specific questions they are asking themselves about their programs, which they share with their funders. They talk about what they have learned and the exciting journey ahead of them.

See also:

Twitter for Good

The Networked Nonprofit

Cause for Change

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Multichannel efforts: Your path to social change

“Social media is a tool, not the tool with Gen X and Millennials,” said Fundraising and the Next Generation author and consultant, Emily Davis. I hosted Davis at a live author interview for the Colorado Nonprofit Association’s fall conference yesterday and whenever we discuss fundraising with younger generations, social media inevitably comes up. Other questions that always surface are about what platforms to use, what social media preferences these generations have and so on. In short, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the best use of our time online with our nonprofit communities. On the heels of this session with nonprofit leaders, I’m pleased we can offer our latest book Page to Practice™ feature about creating change through multichannel efforts.

The authors of Social Change Anytime Everywhere challenge those of us who are setting up one or two online profiles and calling it good. Social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are among the top five ranked websites for traffic in the U.S. More than 5.2 billion people have mobile accounts, which means there are five times as many mobile phone subscriptions as there are personal computers or landline phones.

With jaw-dropping statistics like these and many more, coauthors Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward establish that online multichannel efforts are a necessary bridge between you and the bright future for your cause. With literally dozens of illustrative examples, case stories and specific guidance, the authors describe how you can boost fundraising, spark advocacy and build community with a multi-pronged approach. They explain how you can earn the collective support of everyone in your organization—even the critics—as well as actualize your online plans.

Kapin and Sample Ward

I asked Allyson Kapin about how the book adds to the discussion about social media efforts:

CausePlanet: With a wealth of rhetoric and written material about social media, what do you want readers to know about how your book uniquely adds to the discussion?

Kapin: Social media is not a silver bullet for fundraising. It’s also not a replacement for your website, email or direct mail list. It’s one of multiple channels that organizations should be using to engage their communities. It’s important that organizations integrate these channels into their communications and outreach efforts. They should not be siloed.

Join us next week when we’ll highlight why Allyson Kapin and her coauthor, Amy Sample Ward explain why nonprofits should adopt a start-up mentality when trying to instigate social change.

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Six ways to get more website traffic from your Facebook page

One benefit of having a Facebook Page is that once you build up a healthy community, you can start directing it to your website to join an email list, sign a petition, donate or take some other action.

But have you optimized your Facebook Page for this purpose?

Here are six ways to increase the amount of website traffic you’re getting specifically from your Facebook Page:

1. Optimize your Info Tab–-Your info tab should be optimized for search and viewers (overlapping goals). You optimize the info tab for search by filling in the appropriate fields with keyword-rich content. You can research the best keywords by using Google’s Keyword Tool and Google Analytics. You optimize your info tab for viewers by writing compelling copy for your info tab.

Within your info tab, make sure your put your website URL in the URL field. Also, enter specific URLs to pages related to each section. For example, in the “mission,” add a link to the page on your site that talks about your mission.

2. Create a Custom Tab–-Not only will this convert more Facebook users into fans, it will be another way to drive more traffic to your website.

3. Add your URL in your About Section--Within your info tab, you can include your website’s URL in the “About” field. This creates a clickable link just below all the tabs on your Page (as shown below).

4. Post Links in Updates–-It’s great to put links to your site in your website, but the reality is that most Facebook users see your content in their news feed. This is why you also want to publish Facebook Page stories that include compelling headlines, excerpts and of course, links to your website.

If you have a blog, you can use Networked Blogs or Post Planner to automatically post blog posts on your Facebook Page with an RSS feed. And don’t use URL shorteners!

5. Post a Short Video–-A creative and unique way to drive traffic to your site is to post a video talking about specific content on your page. For example, you could post a video talking about a petition or a fundraising campaign. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create these videos. (Hint: Flip camera or iPhone). Bonus points if you use YouTube.

6. Use Google Analytics–-You can use Google Analytics to measure visits, page views, exit pages, time on your site and more by using UTM tags. Simply put, UTM tags allow you to easily append existing URLs on your site so you can track them easier.

For example, on the Inbound Zombie Facebook Page, I know exactly how many people click on the links and the banners on this tab with UTM tags.

Special thanks to John Haydon for this post, which was originally published on March 9, 2012 at The Nonprofit Facebook Guy powered by Inbound Zombie

See also:

Facebook Marketing for Dummies

Social Change Any Time Everywhere

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

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Are you measuring what matters?

Having just led a lively author interview with social media measurement gurus, Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, about their latest book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, you can imagine what a timely surprise it was to read this morning’s headline, “Why your social media metrics are a waste of time” by Ivory Madison in the Harvard Business Review blog.

“Vanity metrics” are false idols. Ivory says, “If you think page views, unique visitors, registered members, conversion rates, email-newsletter open rates, number of Twitter followers, or Facebook likes are important by themselves, you probably have no idea what you’re doing. Those metrics are the most common false idols of analytics. They’re what Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, calls ‘vanity metrics.’”

Ask “So what?” Vanity metrics are tempting to tout, but they don’t measure what really matters, explains Ivory. Our featured authors at CausePlanet agree. Ivory, Kanter and Paine claim you have to ask “So what?” when you look at your metrics. Before you get excited about thousands of Facebook fans, ask yourself what metric actually reflects a connection between increased donations and the prompt you provided on your social media network.

Measure what matters. In the social sector, we know that relationship building is the prequel to the main event: giving. It’s no different with social networks, says Paine. Interact with your online community just like you would at a social event in person. Demonstrate humanity, transparency and passion when sharing about your cause. Measure what matters, say Kanter and Paine. Measure how your relationships move up the engagement ladder so your community is there for you when you need them, the authors add.

Read more about Kanter and Paine’s advice in our recent posts about Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. You can purchase their book at www.wiley.com or read a summary in our latest Page to Practice™ feature of the book. Check out the summary store or subscribe to the library for full access to all of our recommended titles.

See also:
More Page to Practice™ recommended reading about social media and marketing

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Social media measurement: Avoid the most common mistakes

When I read a book for CausePlanet, one of my favorite tasks is highlighting great quotes or passages that underscore important themes. We call these “keeper quotes.” In Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, there were so many to choose from. Here’s one that made it into our Page to Practice™ book summary:

“The most important thing to remember about measurement tools is that they will do only what you tell them to do. Collecting data is easy, but collecting the right data to answer your questions requires careful planning and appropriate tools. There are currently more than 250 tools that a networked nonprofit can choose from to measure its results.”

Kanter and Paine’s sentiments about measurement planning are paramount. In fact, when I asked them in our author interview about common nonprofit mistakes, the issue was raised again. Join me in learning from the mistakes our authors have observed:

CP: What is the most common mistake nonprofits make when attempting to measure their social media activity?

Kanter: Many nonprofits start with the data collection tools or the data. This is natural because it is way more fun to talk about the tools and collect data than to figure out what works and to really think about what your data means and how to apply it. I’ve decided I want a t-shirt that says, “Spend More Time Thinking About Your Data Than Collecting It!”

Paine: I totally agree with Beth. The worst mistake I’ve ever seen was a nonprofit that called me in to help it define its metrics. At the end of an eight-hour conversation that defined its metrics as increasing messaging and increasing engagement with employees, the staff asked me if the new “platform” – for which it had just written a  -$60,000 check would measure what it intended to measure. I was very familiar with the tool and sadly it did not.

The other big mistake nonprofits make is to not bring their different data streams together. They frequently have member data siloed from web analytics which is further siloed from media results. In fact, it is only when you bring the three together and correlate what tactic has the biggest impact do you get the real insights.

CausePlanet members: Register for our live interview on Monday, December 17 with Kanter and Paine. You can purchase this book at www.josseybass.com or download our summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles.

More book titles about social media

Illustration credit: Rob Cottingham

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Kanter and Paine share their favorite book passages

Creating social change is everyone’s goal within a nonprofit organization. Authors Kanter and Paine argue you can’t get there without a map. “Measurement is your map and metrics are your signposts.” Furthermore, they claim connecting people, deepening their engagement and inspiring donations are relatively easy to measure.

While nonprofits realize social media is a cost-effective tool for growing their base of friends and supporters, they must set goals and strategically network online just like they would with in-person donor cultivation. In my interview with Kanter and Paine about Measuring the Nonprofit Network, I asked them about their favorite chapters in the book as well as what was left on the editing floor. You’ll appreciate their insights and surprising answers to the questions below.

CausePlanet: In your opinion, what’s the most important chapter in the book?

Kanter: I think my favorite chapter is the chapter on becoming data-informed. My big “aha” moment was when I spent several days interviewing the staff at DoSomething.org and speaking with some of the board members (http://www.bethkanter.org/switch-data-driven/). They are the poster children for being data-informed. That led to contemplating the practices of what being data-informed looks like at different levels. The other important chapter is chapter five where we talk about defining the value of using networked approaches and social media–understanding the difference between activity and results.

Paine: From a writing perspective, I loved pulling together the chapters on influence and transparency because we were really pushing the envelope there, suggesting measures no one is really using yet. In terms of the reader, it’s chapter nine–getting to that “aha” moment–which to me is the greatest seductress of measurement.

CausePlanet: What ideas were left on the editing floor and perhaps we’ll see in your next book?

Kanter: I’m not sure I’ll write another book–just joking. My next book will not come from the stuff we edited out of this book, but it will come from ideas that have been percolating with me since I turned in the manuscript! I am most interested in the notion of learning from failure and how nonprofits can embrace innovation by adapting more creative ways to plan, manage and adapt their programs.

Paine: Beth’s contacts exposed me to so many wonderful measurement case studies. The next book will be something about “Tales from the Measurement Trenches,” telling more of the stories that didn’t fit into the book.

CausePlanet members: Register for our live interview on Monday, December 17 with Kanter and Paine. You can purchase this book at www.josseybass.com or download our summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles.

More book titles about social media

Illustration credit: Rob Cottingham

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Kanter and Paine share their favorite social media insights

Creating social change is everyone’s goal within a nonprofit organization. Authors Kanter and Paine argue you can’t get there without a map. “Measurement is your map and metrics are your signposts.” Furthermore, they claim connecting people, deepening their engagement and inspiring donations are relatively easy to measure. While nonprofits realize social media is a cost-effective tool for growing their base of friends and supporters, they must set goals and strategically network online just like they would with in-person donor cultivation. In my interview with Kanter and Paine about Measuring the Nonprofit Network, I asked them about their favorite chapters in the book as well as what was left on the editing floor. You’ll appreciate their insights and surprising answers to the questions below.

CausePlanet: In your opinion, what’s the most important chapter in the book?

Kanter: I think my favorite chapter is the chapter on becoming data-informed. My big “aha” moment was when I spent several days interviewing the staff at DoSomething.org and speaking with some of the board members. They are the poster children for being data-informed. That led to contemplating the practices of what being data-informed looks like at different levels. The other important chapter is chapter five where we talk about defining the value of using networked approaches and social media–understanding the difference between activity and results.

Paine: From a writing perspective, I loved pulling together the chapters on influence and transparency because we were really pushing the envelope there, suggesting measures no one is really using yet. In terms of the reader, it’s chapter nine–getting to that “aha” moment–which to me is the greatest seductress of measurement.

CausePlanet: What ideas were left on the editing floor and perhaps we’ll see in your next book?

Kanter: I’m not sure I’ll write another book–just joking. My next book will not come from the stuff we edited out of this book, but it will come from ideas that have been percolating with me since I turned in the manuscript! I am most interested in the notion of learning from failure and how nonprofits can embrace innovation by adapting more creative ways to plan, manage and adapt their programs.

Paine: Beth’s contacts exposed me to so many wonderful measurement case studies. The next book will be something about “Tales from the Measurement Trenches,” telling more of the stories that didn’t fit into the book.

We’re obviously in store for more great things from Kanter and Paine. CausePlanet members, register for the live interview with these measurement experts on Monday, December 17. You can purchase their book at www.josseybass.com or download our Page to Practice summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles. Watch for our next installment of our Page to Practice interview with Kanter and Paine in our blog.

See also:

More book titles about social media
Illustration credit: Rob Cottingham

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Social media measurement: art, science or both?

It’s not very often when we recommend a book that we get double the enjoyment of recommending its sequel. In the case of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, more is actually better. Its forerunner, The Networked Nonprofit, is an exceptional resource for nonprofits that are breaking ground in social media and expanding their circles of influence on various social platforms.

We’re delighted to bring you highlights of Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine’s fresh views on measuring your social media to further mission impact. Today I give you some insightful interview highlights on the art and science of measurement as well as their most important take away:

CausePlanet: Can you talk about the art versus science of measurement?

Kanter: As we say in the book, measurement is a formal discipline, governed by rules and processes established by academics and researchers. You don’t need a Ph.D. from MIT and pocket protector to measure your nonprofit’s social media and networked approaches. Far from it. But casual approaches are a waste of time. You have to use the formal approach or “KD Paine’s Seven Steps of Measurement.” I think the art part is the interpretation and understanding of your data to improve your program’s results.

There is a tension between the formal process of measurement and the innovation required for networked approaches. Measurement is definitely a left-brained activity: very linear, very structured, very disciplined. On the other hand, networked approaches can be very organic, creative and right-brained. So that’s another way to look at the art and science–I think you need both ways of doing and thinking in a nonprofit to be successful, which requires new ideas, reflection and improvement of what you do.

Paine: For me, the art is definitely in the interpretation: figuring out what the data really means. I’m a creative type locked in a quant body, and I have the most fun looking at data and finding that “aha” moment, so it doesn’t just come from number crunching. It comes from understanding the projects and the mission as well as the metrics.

CausePlanet: What’s the most important idea you want our readers to take away from your book?

Kanter: That nonprofits, no matter whether they are small or large, can get started with doing measurement themselves! And to start with baby steps so it becomes an organizational habit. The “Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly” framework we describe in chapter two is something I have used in my  nonprofit technology work for the past 20 years. If nonprofits want to embrace a new technology or embed a new way of working, whether it be becoming a networked nonprofit or using measurement and data to learn how to improve what they’re doing- they have to do it with small, incremental steps.

Paine: Do NOT worry about the tools. Focus on finding a clear definition of your SMART objectives and defining the really meaningful metrics. Tools and platforms are the last thing you should consider but only after you’ve defined the goals, the metrics, the stakeholders and the benchmarks.

Watch for details about our live interview in January with Kanter and Paine. You can purchase this book at www.josseybass.com or download our summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles.

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Using Facebook as an advocacy tool

While it’s natural to assume that social media has permeated all aspects of business, nothing rivals face-to-face meetings in grassroots advocacy, says The One-Hour Activist author and Soapbox Consulting CEO, Christopher Kush. I caught up with Kush in our interview and asked about the popularity of email and other social media. He cited one client in particular that used Facebook to generate interest in face-to-face advocacy events. Here’s the excerpt:

CausePlanet: In Part Two, you present several helpful sections on writing an effective letter or email to your legislator so it gets read and circulated versus simply counted. Additionally, you cover skillful phone calls. Since the book was published, have communication preferences changed at all with the growing prevalence of email? And, are faxes still viable? (All coming in second to face-to-face, of course.)

Kush: It is fascinating how face-to-face interactions with lawmakers have remained powerful despite the social media explosion. Candidates for office love the prospect of clever video appeals “going viral,” but after the elections, the legislative process has proven difficult for social media to manipulate. I think one reason is that some core aspects of social media are a mismatch with legislative influence. Things like anonymity, speed of communication, depth of understanding and lack of geographic awareness all mitigate against social media’s effectiveness in the Capitol.

And now for some praise: This year, I saw several of my clients use Facebook to generate interest in face-to-face advocacy events. The Fragile X Foundation in particular was able to double the number of families who attended their 2012 Washington, DC, conference by providing a place where people could post their excitement about returning to the conference, seeing other folks they had met the year before, and following up in person with their legislators. Now, that was an example of social media making a strategic contribution by complementing more traditional approaches to influence (like face-to-face interaction).

See also:

Charity Case

The One-Hour Activist

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