Archive for the ‘social media’ tag
Social media’s great. I’m on Twitter and Facebook nearly everyday (and LinkedIn once in a while). It’s how I stay current with people, organizations and issues in my networks and fields of interest. I can instantly connect with lots of folks and keep my finger on the pulse for things I need to do my job effectively…or just kill time.
You don’t have to look much further than success of Facebook or Instragram selling for $1bn to know that tons of people take this stuff seriously. Last year 73% of Fortune 500 companies were active on social media and 88% of nonprofits have experimented with social media. And a McKinsey & Co report found that there is up to $1.3 trillion in untapped value from improved productivity using social media. Impressive stuff.
But I don’t just want to add to the existing heaps of others praising the virtues of social media. Rather, I want to highlight some of the “traditional” forms of communication that are likely to be essential to nonprofits and businesses forever.
The very definitional of “social”, interacting with people face-to-face is what helps to forge lasting relationships – both personally and in business. Part of building connections and trust with people is providing them with the cues and authenticity that can only come from body language and tone of voice. There’s that famous research on the effectiveness of a speaker that found the impact of a presentation is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% the words you say. So, yes, face-to-face contact is pretty important. In the nonprofit world, think about how many six or seven figure gifts are secured without in-person contact. Few to none.
Encompassing face-to-face contact, but also other forms of communication, like phone, handwritten notes, personalized emails, etc, meaningful contact shows a level of care and consideration that is pretty hard to achieve in social media. Tweeting to someone is nice and all, but it’s not personal. It’s publicly viewable by literally everyone. Ditto other social networks. And direct messages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are really just another form of email. Social media is definitely a great added value piece on top of other forms of communication (i.e. multichannel comms), but it would be very hard to build real, meaningful connections with donors and other stakeholders through social media alone. Facebook has shown that by its abismal track record as a fundraising platform.
What I hope I’ve got across here is that social media changes everything and changes nothing. It has revolutionized how we consume and disseminate information and connect to others, but still takes a backseat to personal contact when it comes to building meaningful relationships.
I was watching the Daily Show the other day and Jon Stewart made some passing reference to the Kony 2012 viral video and the campaign by Invisible Children to capture and bring to trial Joseph Kony in 2012. The video was the fastest growing viral video of all time and managed to secure millions of views, supporters and money from donations. I even blogged about it, taking a fairly on-the-fence position at the time. So I wondered: what ever happen to Kony and the campaign?
The goal failed. Kony was never captured.
When I was looking into what exactly happened with Kony 2012 I came across this excellent article by Manuel Barcia, Deputy Director at the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Leeds. Barcia argues a number of points that could have led to this campaign’s failure: reinforcing negative stereotypes about Africa and black people, bad PR situations (i.e. one of the co-founders going berserk in public), naiveté about the political situation and power structures in Eastern Africa, etc. In fact, that last point about not comprehending or being prepared for the political complexity in the countries where the LRA operate is highlighted in Invisible Children’s annual report on Kony 2012 (under the section “Why hasn’t Kony been caught?”). But this post mordem on the campaign underscores a lack of thorough analysis for what they were up against.
This lack of due diligence brings up another interesting point made in Barcia’s article, and also powerfully conveyed in Teju Cole’s article in the Atlantic, “The White Saviour Industrial Complex”. Both Barcia and Cole argue that Kony 2012 is reinforcing the subtext that “black men and women can only be redeemed by the superior intellectual and humane capabilities of the white man” (Barcia). And that Kony failed to address “the idea that those who are being helped [Ugandans] ought to be consulted over the matters that concern them [foreigners getting involved in their lives and politics]“.
While I agree, along with Barcia and Cole, that Kony 2012 failed in many ways, I do think it succeeded in some respects as well. For one, I think that a previously unknown non-profit generating this must attention, earned media coverage from around the world, activism and financial support from a social media video is unprecedented and incredibly impressive. Non-profits constantly struggle to get public attention for their causes, so Kony 2012 making headlines globally in traditional and new media is very rare. And doing it all from an inexpensive video is even rarer.
The second success, which is more of a silver lining lesson for the NGO community in general, is that bold, ambitious experiments are necessary in order to drive innovation and new approaches for tackling social, political and environmental issues. Many nonprofits lack the resources, backing or (frankly) balls to risk failure on experimental campaigns/approaches.
So, yes, Kony 2012 failed in its primary goal, but it would be wrong to characterize the entire campaign as “a failure”.
Today’s post is a great guest article, and amazing infographic, by Logan Harper from UNC. Here it is:
Social media—through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content—is a powerful and accessible tool. With free online tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, governments, nonprofits, corporations, and individuals all have the ability to communicate their messages and participate in conversations with a global audience. Social media allows nonprofits and groups promoting social causes, even those with limited budgets, the opportunity to magnify their voices. In our hyper-connected world, individuals have the tools to effect change, raise millions of dollars, find volunteers, and make a global impact.
In our new infographic, Social Media for Social Good, we profile several successful grassroots and nonprofit campaigns, explain tactics that increase the impact of a message, and explore emerging trends in charitable giving and volunteering. Highlights include:
Making a Global Impact
- The day following the Haiti earthquake of 2010, CNN’s user-generated iReport had 1.4 million page views.
- Twestival, a global offline event supporting various nonprofits, raised $1.75 million in 45 countries.
- One in five adults in the U.S. has donated to a nonprofit online.
- TweetDrive 2011 harnessed the power of Twitter to organize 38 in-person events in which people donated more than 4,200 toys.
To learn more about the who, how, and why of Social Media for Social Good, take a look below at our infographic.
Okay, this infographic is called “The Social Enterprise” but it’s not about social enterprises. Huh? Well, it’s about organizations using social media, rather than social enterprises in the “social good” sense. But it’s still relevant to non-profits and, well, pretty much any organization really. For charities and non-profits in particular, sharing and collaborating with others is a powerful tool – what works well?; what problems are others encountering?; etc. Connecting with thought leaders is also important, as is keeping your finger on the pulse for events and other opportunities to meet with others face-to-face. Social media can keep charities current and ahead of the curve so they have a competitive advantage in their fields. So here’s the infographic:
How can charities grow their number of supporters and advocates with a small budget and limited number of staff? Get others to do it for them. This is the idea behind using volunteers or ambassadors to spread the messages and get others on board. Non-profits can amplify their reach and support by educating and empowering their closest allies. But how?
Take a look at your supporters to identify those who have the most influence into other networks (business, wealthy individuals, schools, general public, etc). These influencers might be donors, board members, volunteers, social media contacts, or even staff. Draw up a list of those that can help you reach new people/goals.
Define an objective
What are you asking your ambassadors and community to do? Encourage others to donate? Raise awareness? Ensure that people understand what the goal is for the work that they will be doing for you.
Educate and support
Okay, it’s well and good that you have your influencers identified and empowered with a goal, but they also need to uphold the integrity of your work and brand. That means having key messages, materials, logos, etc. I’ve seen lots of bad homemade materials because charities have neglected to provide their volunteers with the tools needed to do the job. This can taint the brand and have negative consequences. This is easily preventable with a kit for ambassadors.
Make use of social media
Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook can be powerful mechanisms for empowering others to spread your charity’s messages with ease. Those that follow or like you on social media participate in a common interest that is your non-profit’s work. So encourage them to be promoters of your charity.
Using volunteers to spread your message and get others on board is an effective way of maximizing your charity’s budget and resources.
Below is an interesting infographic from Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist. He set out to answer questions like ‘Do the highest earning nonprofits use social media the most effectively?’ and ‘How are people responding and interacting?’ The results of questions like these were put into an infographic.
As Craig states in his own commentary on this data, quality is better than quantity – both in terms of audience and budget. For example, YMCA of America has the highest income but one of the lowest number of Twitter followers, while PBS, which is near the bottom of the list in income, is putting up some of the highest numbers for followers and engagement.
So, while nearly every large charity is active on one or more social media channels, simply ‘being there’ is not enough. Social media is a two way conversation with audiences, and the biggest nonprofits aren’t necessarily the best at engaging stakeholders.
According to Mashable, as of February 2011 YouTube had 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who racked up an estimated 92 billion page views per month.
These astounding reach figures, are why many more charities are turning to ad and creative agencies, paying them to come up with fresh and innovative videos in the hopes that the videos will go viral in an effort to actively promote the charity’s message amongst millions of You Tube users. In previous blog posts, we’ve had a look at how funny television commercials and creative photographic campaigns can get you more donations.
Here is a great example of a charity campaign You Tube video that has racked up about 2 million views. The video is for the UK charity effort Sport Relief 2010 .
Smaller charities may not have a very large communications/marketing budget. There are however some simple, cost efficient ways that even the smallest charities can effectively ‘sell’ their charity to the public.
1. Keep in contact with the media
Especially regional press and trade magazines whose reader base may be likely donors. Sending out regular press releases and advance stories keeps your charity and cause on the media’s radar. Don’t neglect local newspapers and local popular bloggers just because they don’t have the circulation of a national news outlet. If you can tie in a local angle into your nonprofit’s programs of fundraising events, make sure to send an advance story release. Follow-up with a phone call to establish a more personal relationship with the writers. Building in regional elements into your fundraising campaigns can make them an easier sell to local or regional media.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of social networking
This is the best chance for smaller charities without much of a budget to level the playing field with larger charities with a big budget. Social media doesn’t take a lot of money but it does require commitment. Build up your twitter and/or facebook followers over the course of the year so when you are ready to launch a campaign or a fundraising drive you already have a set group of contacts. Also, make sure you dedicate the necessary time to regularly update your twitter account and/or blog feeds.
3. Project visits
For potential high net worth donors, project visits are a great way for them to see the actual work your charity is doing on the ground (see our previous post about project visits here). They are also a good opportunity to invite local journalists along. Just make sure you actually have something positive and professional to show them and make sure the people they meet and might interview on the visit have been briefed on the key messages you want to get across.
Use social opportunities to meet new people who may be interested in your charity and its cause and get your organization’s name out there. You can’t successfully market your charity by just sitting at your desk. Try and form connections with other organizations, businesses, universities or networking groups. Also, interact with other people in the charity sector. Get ideas of what other people may be doing and learn what has or hasn’t worked for them.
5. Consistent messaging
In any marketing material you produce, focus on your main messages and keep them consistent. Use case studies to highlight your achievements, and if you can, emphasize to potential donors that their money is going towards a cause and not just on administration running costs.
6. Thank your supporters!
A thank you note can go a long way to show your appreciation. Make sure that thank you notes for high level funders are appropriately signed by senior level management in your organization.