Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Huba’

Finding time is the new hitch

One of my colleagues came to a social media workshop where I presented highlights from a book we featured in 2007 called Citizen Marketers. Her question afterward struck a chord with me because it reminded me of how I felt when I started experimenting on Twitter. She asked me “How am I going to find time for social networking when I’ve got an overwhelming schedule already?”

I think this is how a lot of us felt early on until we started to hear from authors like Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell of Citizen Marketers or more recently, from Beth Kanter and Allison Fine of The Networked Nonprofit.

We began to connect the dots and realize that because social media presented a world of opportunity if we were willing to make time and strategically incorporate our online networking into the way we already do business. And, that social networking could boost our outcomes in many areas like fundraising, public relations, constituency communication, and advocacy.

And even those of us who try to keep the time we spend online at bay, more myths are debunked about social media, including just how many of us are online. More recently, my sister got involved in a community emissions campaign to increase carpooling and asked “Can I really use social media to reach all ages?”

In Kivi Leroux Miller’s new book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide she says “The biggest increase in Internet use between 2005 and 2008 was within the seventy- to seventy-five-year-old age group and the gap between their usage and other generations is closing quickly.” So it’s time to embrace all that social media can accomplish for nonprofits—even if it requires finding the time. In the spirit of those who are still hedging, I’ve included an excerpt of this month’s Page to Practice™ where Beth Kanter and Allison Fine talk about taking the first step in social media and how they got started as early adopters.

CausePlanet: What advice do you have for readers who are under-resourced and over-extended but want to take the first step toward social media?

Kanter and Fine: They have already started. Everyone has a website, is using email and cell phones. Many are reading blog posts and have set up an account on Facebook. One important first step, and an easy one, is to start to systematically listen to what others are saying about your issue and your organization. Listening includes reading blogs, following influencers on Facebook and Twitter and reading what they say and the articles that they link to. Then an organization can decide what it wants to say online and for what purpose. It does not have to be terribly time-consuming to get started, but it helps tremendously to be purposeful.

CausePlanet: Rather than try to use all social media avenues, you make the point of choosing which work best for you personally. Which tools appealed to each of you when you began working heavily in social media and why?

Fine: We were both early adopters, so at that time, five years ago or so, blogs were the way into social media. I still blog, but my favorite channel of the moment is Twitter because it’s so easy to get in and out. My key influences (like Beth!) save me huge amounts of time by pointing out interesting articles and blog posts, and 140 characters forces everyone to just get to the point!

Kanter: When I first got started, I took on one tool at a time and lived in it until it was second nature. I tend to gravitate toward visual tools because I’m a visual thinker. One of my favorites is Flickr, especially because I do a lot of presentations and I find the creative commons licenses photos really valuable.

Learn more about The Networked Nonprofit or our Page to Practice book summary.

See also:

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

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Who owns your organization online?

Citizen Marketers is about how amateurs and professionals are working together—intentionally or unintentionally—to assume new forms of ownership in the companies, brands, products and people they closely follow—and how this widespread publishing and distribution of ideas is disrupting traditional models of corporate marketing.

As social media—which is defined as the sum total of people who create content online, as well as the people who interact with it or one another—remove barriers to widespread distribution, they create new challenges for companies and organizations that are used to closely stage-managing their reputations.

The authors divide these citizen marketers into four categories: Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators and Firecrackers.

Filters are human wire services. They collect traditional media stories, bloggers’ ramblings, podcasts or other creations about a specific company, organization or product and then package this information into a regular stream of links, story summaries and observations. Filters are usually objective, although they occasionally cross over into analysis. They are amateur brand journalists, and sometimes they turn pro.

Fanatics are true believers and evangelists. Their role as citizen marketers may include filtering work, but they mainly focus on analyzing a brand, product or person—even if the company or organization isn’t listening.

Facilitators are community creators whose primary tool is a Web-based bulletin board or community software. According to the authors, Facilitators are like the mayors of online towns—and some online communities exceed the population of small cities.

Firecrackers are the one-hit wonders of citizen marketers. Typically, they attract a great deal of attention because they have created a song, animation, video or novelty that initially generates a lot of interest but then dies out quickly. However, Firecrackers illustrate three principles of amateur content in the world of social media: Memes—cultural transmitters that distinguish one idea from the billions of others out there—can live indefinitely on the web; social media networks accelerate the spread of memes; and people love to mimic what entertains them.

The work of citizen marketers is defined by three commonalities:

Personal expression. Their opinions or journalism are their own, not unlike what a professional journalist, pundit or analyst would do.

Amateur status. They are usually volunteers and are transparent about their motives and associations.

Freely given. Their work is not meant to steal money, time or attention away from the company or organization of their affiliation; instead, it’s meant to enhance it.

Read the full summary of Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message by subscribing to our Page to Practice™ library, visit the CausePlanet summary store for single summaries, or you can purchase the book online.

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Managing citizen marketers – when people are the message

Throughout the world, people with a broadband connection and several inexpensive or free tools are influencing people’s perceptions of billion-dollar corporations—and turning traditional marketing on its head. These “citizen marketers” are everyday people who are using the power of “social media”—blogs, podcasts and social networks—to create content about products, brands, services or people—whether companies like it or not.

Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message examines the role of citizen marketers in today’s marketing world, as well as the significant changes caused by social media. The authors also provide a framework for working with—instead of against—these new consumer evangelists.

Citizen marketers don’t often represent the average person, member, customer or citizen. Instead, they are driven by passion, creativity and a sense of duty, oftentimes spending thousands of their own dollars—not to mention their time—to help a person or brand about which they feel passionate. The authors divide these people into four categories: Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators and Firecrackers.

Find out more about these self-made marketers by attending a new workshop series called “Fast Food for Thought” where WorldWays Social Media, Colorado Nonprofit Association and CausePlanet will host one action-packed hour, featuring the highlights within our Page to Practice book summary and expert views on social media: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 1 – 2 p.m.

Read the full summary of Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message by subscribing to Page to Practice™ book summaries. Single P2P summaries are available at the CausePlanet summary store. Learn more about the authors and the book.

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