Category Archives: Social Media

Cradles 2 Crayons Guest Blog: Getting Your Nonprofit Online. With Oomph.


The harsh reality: social media isn’t a “buzzword” anymore. It has infiltrated and disrupted the marketing space, enabling anyone with a message and the ability to type to find an online community they can engage with. This is not a passing phase – something to be ignored and thrown wayside while developing your nonprofit’s marketing and outreach strategy. Social media should be adapted as one of the key ways nonprofits grow their communities.

The Basics: Social Media Tips

As with any marketing effort, there is a certain way to go about using social media for your nonprofit. Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. always be sure to stay transparent through everything. People enjoy knowing what’s happening on the “inside” of an organization, and will be more willing to trust you – as a nonprofit – if you’re upfront about what is happening behind the scenes. Do this within reason, so you don’t divulge confidential information.

While there are various “do’s” and “don’ts” to adhere to while creating, growing and maintaining your social media community, each platform has its own set of “rules”.

Facebook

  • Pages vs. Groups: Often a tough question.  Facebook itself has done a great job outlining the key differences between the two.  My recommendation: create a Page.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Don’t go haywire with Facebook updates.  Individuals on Facebook don’t like to have their News Stream bombarded with status updates about one specific organization. Also be sure to make each post count – think through each update before hitting the “post” button!
  • Numbers Don’t Matter: Rather than trying to gather as many fans as possible for your page, focus on growing a community on your Facebook page.  Engage in dialogue with fans and be sure to answer questions/follow-up to comments whenever you can.
  • Be Kind – Tag Others: When you’re making a Facebook post that involves another brand/organization who has a Facebook page, be sure to tag them in the post! All you have to do is use the “@” sign, and then select the page name in the drop down menu (i.e. typing @Cradles2Crayons will let you select their page from a list, thus automatically post your update to their Facebook page).  However, be sure not to tag individuals without their consent, as not everyone wants to be directly linked to your page.
  • Engage With Other Pages: Facebook has recently allowed users to use Facebook as the page they administer.  This is a great way to interact and create relationships with like-minded individuals and organizations on behalf of your own organization.  Learn how to do this here.  You can also have your Facebook page “favorite” other pages of interest.
    • While I was leading the marketing/social media efforts for a prior employer, I would go to the Facebook pages of other organizations and comment on their updates with thoughtful and relatable posts (i.e. not spam).  With this strategy, I was able to form multiple relationships and partnerships this way, with some rather large nonprofits.

Twitter

  • Be Personable: Don’t setup an auto Direct Message (DM) that goes out for any new follower.  If you want to message them – privately or publicly – be sure to use their real name as opposed to their handle.  People notice these little details and trust Twitter users when they go out of their way to create more personal connections.
  • Pick Your Niche: Twitter users love following brands that own their space and educate the “Twitterverse”.   For example, if your nonprofit deals with the homeless setup a Google Alert for terms relevant to homelessness and keep up to date on the field.  When you find information that seems relevant, Tweet about it.
  • Follow Your Niche: Find other leaders in your field and begin following them.  Make sure to interact with them by mentioning them or Re-Tweeting (RT) messages they’ve posted that you feel deserves a larger audience.
  • Use The Right Tone: Never be afraid to use humor and wit when you Tweet.  People on Twitter often respond well to a sarcastic, yet still professional, tone.
  • The Legendary Hashtag: Hashtags – the # symbol – is widely used in Twitter.  As noted on Twitter’s Help Section, it’s used to mark words or topics in a Tweet, helping categorize messages.  For example, if you’re Tweeting about a clothing drive, you can include a hashtag such as: “@C2CBoston is holding a #clothingdrive this weekend. Bring on the shoe piles! #clothethehomeless“ 

“Checking In”: Moving Beyond “Tweeting” and “Liking”

A few months ago on my personal blog I wrote about going beyond Facebook and Twitter, focusing on the platform Foursquare.  While it’s an application that can greatly help businesses and merchants, it also holds great value for nonprofits.

Although Foursquare is a pretty well-known app for a lot of the “tech geeks” out there (or those living in larger cities), I’ve run into a lot of who don’t know what Foursquare is.  Foursquare can do a better job describing what they do, so here’s their description: 

“Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges.” ~ Foursquare.com

Foursquare is a great way to attract new supporters – whether through your social media sites or actual advocates.  When someone checks-in to a venue, they have the choice to promote that check-in on their Facebook and/or Twitter page, which can bring you even more publicity.

After you create your Foursquare Venue or Brand (read about the differences here, and my recommendations here – scroll a little), start promoting it on Facebook and Twitter to grow your Foursquare community.

If you’ve set your nonprofit up as a venue, make sure you create an incentive for people to come visit.  This would work best if you are representing a homeless shelter, advocacy group who hosts events at your office, and any organization that typically has volunteers come work.  Also make sure you can offer an incentive for people to come back.  Make sure your supporters know that the Mayor of your venue will receive a free “x”.  As Foursquare explains, there are various types of specials: Mayor Special, Frequency Special, Count Special, etc. Obviously, the better the prize, the more enticed people are to come, check-in and volunteer.

On the flip side, if you set your organization up as a brand, you should push your team to create a custom page and badge.  People foam at the mouth for a new badge (trust me, I’m one of them).  I promise you, they’re much more likely to follow your brand and accomplish the tasks on your “To-Do” list if there is an incentive like a shiny, good-looking, new badge.

Even campaigns that are specific to the web can use Foursquare to create a strong community.  For example, a rather new technology startup I’m working with – 33needs – has created a Foursquare brand. Our mission at 33needs is to help crowdfund for startup companies focused on social impact.  We’re using Foursquare to help drive foot traffic to other businesses and merchants with a focus on positive social impact by adding “Tips” at these locations, create a community of socially conscious shoppers and eventually reward these shoppers with “badges”.  This will also help us at 33needs to connect with these great merchants and create more of a word-of-mouth marketing strategy for our website.  This idea can be replicated for any type of online campaign.

Tying It Together With Limited Resources

As with most nonprofits, you and your team probably don’t have the time or manpower to sit at your computer all day long to stare at your Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare pages.  If you have an employee dedicated to your social media outreach that’s great! For those of you who don’t here are some tips:

  • Set aside about 15-20 minutes, twice a day to catch up with your online community, respond to any questions or comments they have, post relevant news about your organization/news articles you’ve found, etc.  You really don’t have to sit at your computer all day long to be fully engaged with your online fans!
  • Try using applications such as HootSuite or TweetDeck, where you can post to your Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts all at once.
  • Create Google Alerts to inform you whenever your organization is mentioned online (typically on blogs/news articles) so you can respond to the mention and send the link to your supporters.
  • Give some of your co-workers access to your social media account so it’s more of a team effort.  However, make sure everything is fully coordinated and that each employee has read and understands the social media strategy of your organization, and the tone you are trying to set online.   It’s great to get different perspectives.
  • Use social media analytics platforms like Crowdbooster or WildFire for deeper analysis of your social media presence and figure out what works/doesn’t work for your community.

The last tip I’ll leave you all with is the most important one.  Be sure to always…

Engage through transparency!


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I’m Lovin’ the (Survey)Monkey!


Looks like hard work pays off!

Last night – errr, early this morning (around 3am) – I received an email from one of the top Survey Monkey Marketers asking if I’d like them to feature me, my idea for SoGo (which has since changed – new post needed on that), and my survey on their company blog!  I’m putting together some final edits of the pitch and my goals with SoGo and sending them over.

I’ll update everyone as soon as it’s posted.  This is an exciting time!


5 Facebook Giving Campaign Success Stories


Found this story on Mashable a few days ago, and thought people would find it interesting. Written by Sarah Kessler, it highlights five great organizations who used Facebook to create fundraising campaigns. What do you think of these campaigns? Had you heard of them before?

Article5 Facebook Giving Campaign Success Stories.


(Four)Square for Nonprofits. It’s Not the School Yard Game.


I’ve been an avid Foursquare user for over a year now.  I’ll admit, I didn’t really get into the application until I was running the Marketing strategy for a company, but even since leaving, I’ve been hooked.  Not only is Foursquare addicting, but it’s very useful for brands and businesses.If you remember from Monday’s post, one of the investors in Foursquare has also started another venture of his own, Square.

Although Foursquare is a pretty well-known app for a lot of the “tech geeks” out there (or those living in larger cities), I’ve run into a lot of people – especially back home in CT – who don’t know what Foursquare is.  So, here goes…

Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. Foursquare guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues. Merchants and brands leverage the foursquare platform by utilizing a wide set of tools to obtain, engage, and retain customers and audiences. ~ Foursquare.com

What’s the Point? Why Would You Ever Want to Use Foursquare?

You might be asking “why would my nonprofit event want to use Foursquare?”  For starters, it’s a great way to attract new supporters – whether through your social media sites or actual advocates.  When someone checks-in to a venue, they have the choice to promote that check-in on their Facebook and/or Twitter page.  Most people will opt-in to this choice, thus spreading your good name and getting their friends/followers interested.  Great – now you’re spreading your brand even further!

So, how can your nonprofit best use Foursquare?  To start off, you need to create a page. You have two options in doing this:

  1. Venue Owners: If you want people to be checking into your actual office space, click “Venue Owners“.  That is, companies like Starbucks, Sports Authority, and the Museum of Modern Art have created venues.  This can help you attract new supporters by offering rewards for checking into your office, attending an event, etc.  Think t-shirts and bracelets or – on a larger scale – iPhones, iPads, jewelry.
  2. Brands: Most nonprofits create a “Brand” account, which might be a better route.  This is for organizations not tied to a specific location.  For example, NOH8 CampaignLIVESTRONG, NWF, NAACPHistory Channel, Bravo, and Zagat, have all created brand pages.  If you choose to create a Brand page, Foursquare lets you create a customized page and badges.

I’ve Created a Page. What Now?!

Now that you’ve created your own page, there’s so much you can do!  If you’ve set your nonprofit up as a venue, make sure you create an incentive for people to come visit.  This would work best if you’re a homeless shelter, advocacy group who hosts events at your office, and any organization that typically has volunteers come work.  Also make sure you can offer an incentive for people to come back.  Make sure your supporters know that the Mayor of your venue will receive a free “x”.  As Foursquare explains, there are various types of specials: Mayor Special, Frequency Special, Count Special, etc.  Obviously, the better the prize, the more enticed people are to come, check-in and volunteer.

On the flip side, if you set your organization up as a brand, you should push your team to create a custom page and badge.  People foam at the mouth for a new badge (trust me, I’m one of them).  I promise you, they’re much more likely to come follow your brand and accomplish the tasks on your “To-Do” list if there is an incentive like a shiny, good-looking, new badge.

Tips: Help Your Supporters Become Insiders

This brings me to my next point: Tips.  Since you’re an advocacy group, you obviously have an area of expertise.  Tips allow you to spread the knowledge to your Foursquare followers.  For example, The History Channel used Tips to leave historical factoids around the country in advance of its America: The Story of Us miniseries.  Make sure that the tips you leave are relevant, interesting, and provide information that only an insider would know (ex: buy a (RED) Starbucks product to donate 3% to Project RED or other secret details).

Other than creating a Foursquare account, here’s one piece of advice: as with your other social media platforms, promote your Foursquare page – whether it’s a brand or venue – through your other social media sites.  Get it up on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account – everywhere!

Can I Have an Example, Please?

Imagine you’re running a homeless shelter.  Foursquare is a great way to get new volunteers and online supporters!  Offer incentives to repeat volunteers, create tips about nearby grocery stores who donate food to your shelter, create a venue for an upcoming advocacy event.  There are so many ways to get the most out of Foursquare!

Get Out There!

Not sure why I made this a separate section…

Anyways.  That’s enough chatting.  What are you waiting for?! Make an awesome Foursquare page and get that thing rocking!

For more information, you can check out the following Mashable articles:


Foursquare and (RED)


I’m aware this is old news. Old, because it happened all of 8 days ago.  Some of you may have read about it on   article: Foursquare and (RED) Team for World AIDS Day written by Austin Carr. If not, I’ll explain…

For those of you who are unaware of what Foursquare is (because I know some of you probably read this blog), Foursquare is an application that you can download on your iPhone, BlackberryAndroid and a few other devices.  Here’s how Foursquare describes the app: Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with.

In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1st, Foursquare and (RED) teamed up for something epic.  Anytime a Foursquare user checked-in with the #turnRED, and broadcasted that check-in on Twitter, the geographic area they checked-into turned dark red.  The more people in that area who checked-in with #turnRED, the darker the area became.

Why do I think this is an epic feat for (RED)? Well, for starters, they partnered with a great social media tools – Foursquare.  It allowed people to find others who share a common interest, as well as fellow advocates for HIV/AIDS organizations.  In a world where people rarely say “hi” to people passing by, this partnership brought a true sense of community to the cause of AIDS, where a community might not exist.

Two other things I liked about this partnership/campaign: First, the fact that (RED) is campaigning for the first AIDS-free generation by 2015.  It’s become part of their brand (as you can see in the picture on the right).  I also love the idea that (RED) is thinking out of the box. Instead of doing a “routine” campaign (i.e. fundraiser, etc.), they decided to go digital. (RED) created a virtual community and allowed people to check-in for a cause they care about.

Imagine the day when every major social good organization gives their grass-roots followers the opportunity to check-in and show their support for the cause. Talk about creating a community for the common good! As with the joint (RED)/Foursquare partnership, this could lead to city-specific MeetUps where fellow supporters come together and create city-specific campaigns for the cause they care about most.

How do you foresee partnerships between nonprofits and social media/tech companies looking like?  Do you think the Foursquare and (RED) partnership was a good idea? Leave your thoughts below.

Oh, and if you’re on Foursquare, connect with me here!


Vote It Up: Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation


My friends over at the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF) are in the running for $250,000 this month! Well, they were in the running last month as well but lost by only 3 SPOTS – it was a sad, sad day. To make up for the fact that most of you didn’t vote for CABF everyday last month, they’re giving you the chance to make up for it.

CABF is back in the running for the Pepsi’s Refresh Project and the lovely $250,000.  Why should you vote for them and not the other 500 groups in the running?  Well, here’s what they plan on using the moola for:

  • Expand awareness of depression & bipolar disorder in youth
  • Educate parents about symptoms and treatments
  • Enlighten the public about teen suicide
  • Eliminate the stigma associated with childhood mental illness
  • Extend hope to families raising children with a mental illness

With plans like these, how can you refuse to vote for them?

One incentive they’re throwing into the mix is that you’re eligible to win 1 of 3 FREE iPads if they win the contest, so make sure you sign-up to receive the daily e-mail reminders.  Yep, it’s a free iPad. That’s $500 you don’t have to spend yourself on something you’ll end up getting anyways.  Think about what you can do with the $500 you don’t spend on an iPad because you won one from CABF.  Personally, I’d buy a dog.

Just one reminder: in this competition, you need to vote everyday! To remind all of you good-doers, CABF is pulling out all of the stops.  You can receive voting reminders via e-mail from CABF by going here.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Vote for them here.

P.S. – You can connect with CABF on Facebook and Twitter (@bpkids). They’re fun to follow and won’t annoy you (like I do). Promise.


Jumo (not a made up word)


There has been a plethora of media around this epic event, so you’ve probably heard about this new website.  If not, you’re lucky enough to be hearing about it from me!

On Tuesday Chris Hughes, Co-Founder of Facebook, launched his newest venture – Jumo (a Yoruba word meaning “together in concert”).  As described on their website, Jumo is a social network connecting individuals and organizations who want to change the world.  I must confess to you all: I started using Jumo as soon as it launched on Tuesday, so I think I can explain what Jumo does for the most part.

What does Jumo do? Why is it important?  More importantly, why is it labeled under “Cool Stuff”?

Yay, I made it to the Jumo homepage!  Now what?

Very good question. Although, if you can’t figure that out, maybe you should just stick to Facebook (just kidding, Mom). No, but seriously, just click “Sign Up” and you’re all set! Just as a heads up – you can only use Jumo if you have a Facebook account.

Not only can you follow non-profits, but overall causes as well.  Those of you who know me can probably figure out what cause I began following right off-the-bat: mental health. From there, I can find the various projects and organizations listed under this cause as well as find my fellow mental health advocates.  They’ve created pages for virtually every cause both on a micro and macro level, including: homelessness, peace, governance, freedom of the press…and the list goes on (and on, and on). Aside from following an overall cause, you can also follow non-profit organizations, projects, and other users on Jumo.

One word of caution: follow the causes you truly care about.  I’ve found you can easily get carried away and find it in your warm heart to follow almost EVERY cause they’ve listed! It came to the point where I was telling myself “why, yes, I’d like to follow World Faith,” and realized I was in too far.

Really, what’s the big deal?

Jumo is a site unlike any other.  Aside from Facebook. Oh, and MySpace.

No, seriously, it truly is an incredible website.  Yes, it has similar characteristics to Facebook and MySpace, however the Jumo mission is much different.  While Facebook is working to create a more “open web“, Jumo’s vision is more along the lines of social good.  Chris and his team believe that Jumo will make it easy to:

  1. Find the issues and organization you care about
  2. Follow the latest news and updates
  3. Support their work with your time, money and skills.

All culminating in their belief that “Together we can speed the pace of global change”.

I think we need to talk…

It’s time for me to come clean.  I’ve been signed up for Jumo e-mail alerts since the spring.  I became extremely curious about the site a while back and knew it would be a very cool site (although I had no idea what exactly it would be – they were very tight-lipped).  I personally believe that Jumo is going to revolutionize the way we interact with non-profit organizations and social good campaigns.  As Chris said in one of his many interviews, following an organization on Jumo will be the first step in a long relationship, which might lead to that individual donating to the organization.  Jumo certainly has the potential to help organizations boost donations and gain followers/supporters.

Now that you all have some insight as to what Jumo does, start an account and follow me here (chances are I’ll follow you back)!  Be sure to come back and let me know what you think of Jumo in the comments section.


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