Guest Blogger: This post was contributed by Lauren Schultz. Lauren loves to talk about dogs, social media, and her favorite team The Ohio State Buckeyes. Say hello at gplus.to/lashleyschultz or @lashleyschultz.
“Should I be on Google+?” That might be a common response to a new-ish social channel, but not for long. Your organization or business might have a blog and a presence on Twitter, Facebook and maybe even Pinterest — great! While we would never categorically recommend getting on a social network without knowing more about your organization, Google+ is definitely worth a closer look. You probably already know this, but Google+ is stepping up in social. Everyone wants to be one step ahead on social marketing these days. If you do decide to test out Google+, here are a few easy ways to get the most out of it:
Google+ is many things, but one thing is certain: It dominates the search-engine space. If you are a B2C business owner, this is gold. By simply entering in your information in Local Places, your business can be found online by more people in your area. Start by filling out your Google+ Local page, making sure to include relevant keywords. Check out my favorite half-smoke spot Ben’s Chili Bowl and its use of Google+.
Did you know Google+ just launched new features with larger photos? Posts with images typically perform better. The larger photos make the page more visually appealing and may get you more +1s (Google+’s equivalent to likes). World Wildlife Fund (WWF) does a great job at using visual content.
Did you know that you can host a free Google Hangout of up to 10 people? Consumer Electronics Association did a fantastic job of keeping attendees and non-attendees updated on happenings at its huge annual gathering with Google Hangout. Check out a Hangout on Air from the 2013 CES. Now there is a way to snap your favorite moments with Capture; a camera component that allows you to take pictures during the Hangout. You can repurpose the Hangout for content on your page, especially the organic pictures from the Hangout!
There are many tools to explore in Google+, but I want to highlight this one. By simply logging into your Gmail account, you can sign up your site for Webmaster Tools. The next step is to create a Google+ profile and include a link to that profile on your site to let Google know that the site is yours. To learn more, head over to https://plus.google.com/authorship and explore this feature. This will help Google find your site and increase your site’s visibility in searches. The Google Webmasters Tools blog has very easy-to-understand guides including photo and video tutorials. There’s also a super-helpful cheat sheet for beginners.
These Google+ features will improve engagement with potential customers and the odds that users will navigate to your page or follow you on other social channels!
What social channels do you use most? If you don’t use Google+, what’s stopping you?
Facebook recently announced a new design of the Facebook News Feed. The design reduces the left and right sidebars and expands the main News Feed to show full-size vibrant images, offering more real estate to visual content and a set of new sub-feeds.
According to Facebook, the same stories will appear as did before, meaning that Facebook has not adjusted Edgerank, the algorithm that determines what content is posted on your News Feed. However, the design will be much more vibrant and colorful, centering around larger images.
Facebook says that this change will provide a more seamless experience between mobile and desktop viewing, but we surmise that this is an attempt by Zuckerburg to position Facebook as the premiere advertising platform for digital marketers.
With the redesign, companies’ promoted posts and sponsored stories that use images will be given more real estate in individuals’ News Feeds. So what does that mean for marketers in charge of managing organizations’ Facebook page?
Up until now, many marketers have seen huge ROI in promoted posts and sponsored stories, partly because of Facebook’s lower-than-market-value advertising rates.
Advertising experts expect that Facebook’s shift in focus on visual content will allow them to gain higher ad prices in the future. This means that the days of cheap advertising on Facebook will likely be coming to an end. We expect ad costs on Facebook and other social networks to significantly rise in the future, so plan your budgets accordingly.
Facebook already favored visual content, but this News Feed redesign further reinforces that focus. When planning your editorial calendar, try to figure out how you can share your information visually, through a photo or photo album.
Infographics are a great way to share information (and have high virality), as are images with overlaid text (think memes). If you are using text in your images, make sure you follow the <20% rule!
With the new sub-feeds, Facebook users will now have the ability to choose to filter content more heavily. As with many of the changes to News Feed, this will positively affect some marketers view rates and negatively affect others. Among other options, users can now view content posted by only their friends, effectively opting out of content from organizations who they aren’t friends with but may follow.
Users can also see content posted by all the pages they follow, content just relating to Games or Music, as well as a variety of other filters. You’ll be able to advertise in any of these feeds, but you’ll want to be mindful of the context. For example, an advertisement that shows up in the “All Friends” feed may be viewed as more disruptive as one that shows up in the “Pages You Follow” feed.
Regardless of these changes, competition for space on Facebook’s News Feed is becoming more and more cutthroat. Not only do you have to compete with other organizations, you now have to compete with larger and more prominent ad spaces integrated into the main News Feed.
On average, about 15% of your followers will see the content you publish for any given post. That means that the chances of spamming your followers is nearly impossible, unless you are posting more than 10 times a day.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at an event for the Public Relations Society of America – National Capital Chapter (@prsa, @prsa_ncc). We fielded some fantastic questions from the audience, and many asked how many social media channels, tools, or platforms is the right number to use.
I reused a very appropriate analogy I heard last year (more about that later). Have you ever been to a house party, where everyone ends up crowding around in the kitchen, while the host tries to herd folks out to the living room, where the cupcakes and comfy couches are? You have to decide what type of host you want to be – the ones who tries to interrupt good conversations and push people into the other room, or the one who goes with the flow and remembers that the point of the party is to have a good time, not to show off the new furniture.
When it comes to reaching your audience online, you need to figure out where they are, not where you want them to be. That probably means:
So what’s the right social media channel, tool or platform for your organization? The answer is, find out where and how your audience is spending time, and go to them. So go ahead, grab that tray of cupcakes and take it into the kitchen. Your audience, and your sanity, will thank you.
I’ve taken the liberty of appropriating and modifying the kitchen analogy from the very insightful Mary Nahorniak (@maryvale), Social Media Editor at USA Today, who spoke at the “Get It Online” lunch discussion group I host at The National Press Club (@pressclubdc). She probably tells it better than I do!
Relationship management is the key to creating and sustaining success between a nonprofit and its constituents. It is critical to understand how much your organization has raised, who is donating funds, and how the organization can maintain these relationships and create new ones through various campaigns. Along with having a defined digital strategy, nonprofits can improve their organization’s constituent relationships with a Customer Relationship Manager, or CRM.
In this article we’ll take a look at some of the best CRMs and how they can work for your nonprofit.
Blue State Digital’s BSD Tools can support you with anything from engaging target audiences to executing calls to action. The company’s suite of fundraising tools uses innovation and experience to reach organization targets. Among the many unique features in BSD Tools is The Mailer which can segment and target specific audience groups for email campaigns based on a list of variables including past actions and demographics. BSD Tools also includes Canvass, a way to effectively track and manage all your organization’s offline outreach.
NeonCRM provides numerous options that are very reasonably priced for systems of all constituent sizes, from 500 records to over 500,000. NeonCRM is an All-in-One solution that allows tracking of fundraising, membership, event registration, online store purchases, email communications, and volunteers within one system. The integrated online forms also make it easy for donors to set up recurrent payment schedules and see the impact they’re making in real-time with real-time payment processing.
Ideal For: Nonprofits looking for a user-friendly, one-stop-shop for their organization’s needs.
Salsa’s platform provides options that are not only great for tracking the bottom line, but for organizing data that’s crucial to growing your organization. Salsa offers different pricing options based on the number of campaign managers using the product. Some unique features with Salsa include access to Salsa Commons, a network of over 100 partners committed to helping you succeed, and options to add and manage organization chapters.
Ideal For: Nonprofits looking to track and organize fundraising and donor data, as well as better organize communication at every level within the organization.
DonorPerfect is a widely used CRM that can either be installed as software on your computer or accessed online from anywhere, even your mobile devices. DonorPerfect’s system allows anyone within your organization to track and organize constituents. The DonorPerfect CRM comes with over 100 reporting options, or options to create your own reports, so any metrics your organization could need are right at your fingertips.
Ideal For: Medium to large nonprofits wanting an extremely customizable product to work alongside your organization’s accounting software.
For organizations with a large constituent base, Convio Luminate provides a robust system, accessible from anywhere, that can be used by everyone involved in fundraising for your organization. Some key attributes for Convio Luminate include tons of customizable application add-ons, and TeamRaiser. TeamRaiser is an online application through Luminate which mobilizes and engages peer-to-peer fundraisers.
Ideal For: Large nonprofits seeking an enterprise level, customizable CRM to manage large and expanding amounts of data.
Salesforce’s Foundation CRM system for nonprofits is a cloud-based system with up to the minute reports, real-time tracking, and analytics. The CRM platform for Salesforce provides scalability to grow with your members and donors. Your organization can also customize your CRM with specifically designed and developed apps for the Salesforce platform.
Ideal For: Medium to large nonprofits analyzing large amounts of constituent data who want to pick and choose specific CRM features to meet the organizations needs.
Need more help figuring out which solution is right for you? Email us at: email@example.com
At a recent Social Driver's Ed, Adam Gerber, a Senior Associate from M+R Strategic Services, discussed Facebook's promoted posts. He talked about how this tool has worked for some of his clients, sharing a step-by-step process of how to use the tool, what it does, who it reaches, and how much exposure your business could potentially receive for relatively low cost. Check back later for the video, but in the meantime we want to give you three takeaways from his experience with Facebook promoted posts:
Do not worry about slick infographics or a polished image-shares. The best images are the ones that capture your organization's goal in the most authentic way possible. All you need is a camera, a piece of paper, and a marker. Photograph a colleague holding the paper with your key ask handwritten out and sa
ve yourself the photoshopping.
If you can wrangle $10-20 bucks, then you have the budget for a couple great experiments with your promoted posts. Most people will never visit your Facebook timeline and will only see your posts in their own newsfeed so the risk of re-running similar posts is minimal. Try two variations on your call-to-action on the same day and see which wins.
Facebook wants to show your posts to people who will engage with it. Oddly enough, many of those people live in Asia where Facebook has high penetration and but little original content. That means that, unless you target your post to the United States only, you're going to get a lot of unexpected international comments, likes, and shares. It may boost your ego to see that level of engagement, but unless it contributes to your business goals, they're just a waste of money.
All things are going digital… Even the census records from 1940!
On April 2nd, The National Archives and Records Association (NARA) released individual records of the 1940 Census. Every 72 years, the census is released and this time it was scanned and digitized for the public to find online.
NARA and the US Census Bureau teamed up for a joint effort in the “40 Days To The 1940 Census” campaign to promote the release. I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Smits, Public Affairs Specialist at the US Census Bureau and Hilary Parkinson, writer-editor of NARA to find out more about the campaign. The overall purpose of the campaign was to build excitement and anticipation for the historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in their family histories. Below are some of the lessons learned from the campaign that we can all takes bits and pieces from in the future.
The Census Bureau and NARA posted photographs from the 1930s and 1940s of civilians, enumerators, farmers, and The Great Depression. Slideshows and infographics were also posted as visual comparisons from the 1940 Census to the 2010 Census, as well as YouTube videos.. All of these images helped boost engagement, especially when asked to like, comment, and share. By posting daily facts, quiz questions, and slideshows about the 1940s, the curiosity and interest of the public grew with excitement because they had the opportunity to be involved participants in the campaign.
You do not need to create a new Twitter account to embrace your campaign because you can use hashtags instead. The hashtag proved to be beneficial for increasing engagement because users had a general hashtag “#1940census” to look for and use themselves.
The Census Bureau even reached out to popular genealogy shows on NBC and CBS. Tweeting to celebrities and television shows during air time was successful in spreading awareness to people, who may otherwise not have known about the census, and led them back to the campaign with the hashtag. Actress Rita Wilson even tweeted back! Twitter chats and Q&As provided an opportunity for users to share their curiosities and after the release, share what they found. These chats were also posted on Facebook to reach those audiences not on Twitter.
The US Census Bureau created their first 3 infographics ever to share the 1940 Census story. Story telling is important when sharing large amounts of data because people do not want to read large amounts of data. Infographics proved to be the best way to tell the 1940 Census story in a visually entertaining way. A visual of comparisons and differences between 1940 and 2010 were more appealing and engaging than words alone. This is especially true when posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr (by NARA), and Pinterest because users then had the chance to share, retweet, and pin. This created a larger sharing of the infographics that reached users on all platforms of the Internet, especially when picked up by the media. The Census Bureau has continued to create infographics for other data releases due to their success, and will continue to do so in the future.
On the US Census Bureau’s landing page for the 1940 Census, the interactive app of an old 1930′s Uncle Sam poster became a major hit for engaging the audience. To promote engagement, users were able to upload their favorite head-shots and place them in the face of Uncle Sam. This app provided an excellent source for people to personally connect with. Users had the chance to create and tell their own personal 1940s story by uploading their own photos and then sharing the updated poster across social media platforms. Aspects of personal connection helped promote the census by reaching out to people on a deeper level regarding their own family histories and stories.
When the census was released online, computers were really slow due to the amount of people trying to access the data. People grew quickly irritated and posted on Facebook and Twitter to NARA out of frustration. Social media once again pulled through because NARA was able to post on Facebook and Twitter that they were aware of the issues with the 1940 census server and were working on it as best they could. This provided an excellent way to reach out to mass groups of people in a time of need to clear the confusion and let them know what was going on. Once users viewed these posts, they were much more understanding of the issue and patiently waited instead.
A big thank you to Jennifer Smits and Hilary Parkinson! And If you’re interested in searching for your family, head to the digitized census here!
Social Driver’s Anthony Shop will serve on a panel at The National Press Club on Tuesday, October 30th discussing how social media has been used as a part of presidential campaign strategies, the role of social media in future elections, and why it’s important for communication executives to pay close attention to these trends pertaining to your the goals of your clients. Audience questions will follow. Get your tickets to attend this event now!
The election is now two weeks away and our Facebook news feeds, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels are exploding with opinions, facts, disagreements and discussion. Digital media is more important to the election than ever before, and we’ve got some numbers to show it.
Blogger Devon Glenn at SocialTimes shares an incredibly revealing infographic created by iProspect to give us a “Digital Summary” of the election. From Obama and Romney’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers to your friend’s very opinionated political posts, social networks are affecting how we talk about the election, as well as what we are talking about. It’s no wonder why the online campaign budget jumped 616% from 2008.
Last week, we shared links that will make you think. This time around, it’s all about doing! According to Adobe’s infographic, two thirds of businesses say social media is integral to their marketing. Brands are using multiple social media sites to engage to their customers, with Facebook and Twitter as the most popular platforms. Check out articles below that describe new functionalities and tips to take advantage of these new tools for your own marketing and social engagement efforts!
Combining CRM technology with Facebook user information, businesses can now target their advertisements to multiple customer segments. For example, Starwood can position their St. Regis hotel advertisements to high-end customers while also promoting their economical hotel brands to budget conscious customers. Announced at last week’s Dreamforce Conference, Facebook’s new advertisement tool called Custom Audience means you’ll soon see advertisements with messages directly tailored to you.
According to Ad Age and Blue Fin Labs, Starbucks, FIFA Soccer, Google, and H&M are a few of the brands with the biggest gains in social mentions on Twitter this past week. What was a key theme across these brands’ top gains? TV Advertisements! Takeaway: integrate multiple media platforms to engage your audience. As this shows, engaging and compelling television ads support customer engagement on social media and vice versa.
With LinkedIn’s new function called Endorsements, your colleagues can now recommend skills and expertise you may not even knew you had! LinkedIn will alert you via email whenever your peers either suggest a new skill or vouch your existing expertise. Your colleagues’ pics making the endorsement will also be featured in the Skills & Expertise section of your page.
Pretty soon you’ll be able to “like” and comment on shared documents through Facebook’s Groups page using Dropbox. Facebook will be rolling out this new feature where Group members can link their Dropbox accounts directly onto their Facebook Groups page, making it easier to alert members of document edits and changes.
The above are just a few new tools we’ve discovered. Here are a handful of other articles that sparked the interest of the Social Driver Team:
We are so happy to welcome Julia Rocchi, the Managing Editor for the National Trust for Historic Preservation back to the Social Driver blog (see her previous post 5 Essential Tips for a Successful Nonprofit Website Redesign). At our most recent Social Driver’s Ed, Julia shared 5 tips for finding and engaging influencers through social media.
Julia talked at our event about a multimedia documentary project called “Buffalo Unscripted.” They initially wanted to do a documentary of Buffalonians talking candidly about their city, but what started out as a marketing piece just for Buffalo turned into a great marketing piece for the Trust because of the incredible engagement they found with the people of Buffalo. Here are the 5 tips that Julia talked about in her talk:
This past week, we attended the NGLCC Certify Your Success 2012 Conference. The NGLCC have been longtime partners of Social Driver and we were ecstatic to see the conference sell out for the first time. To add a little buzz to the conference, we decided to rank all 118 of NGLCC’s Corporate Partners (Top Companies like HBO, American Express, Southwest Airlines, etc.) based on their web, social, and mobile. We picked 12 criteria to grade everyone by, weighted each criteria based on how important we thought it was, and thus came up with each companies’ Social Leader score.
We put together a simple microsite to show how each company stacked up – sortable both by name or by score. Our 12 metrics included: