Get your news to make the news

•10/03/2011 • Leave a Comment

When you scroll through your social media content, does it just look like one big press release?

Hi, this is 2011 calling! …and no one wants to read that stuff.

Web 2.0, 3.0, (however you wish to classify it) is all about interaction, fresh content, interaction and oh yes, did I mention interaction?

Press releases are a thing of the past. No, no, don’t smash my credibility here. A media release is now the new “press” release and these things are most definitely here to stay.

When you title your release as a “media” release, it gives media distribution companies more freedom to publish your content. (Grassroots)

The days of Mr. Gutenberg’s heavy machinery are long gone. Nonprofits can use all the “free media” they can get so help your organization help itself.


Online without FB, Twitter?

•07/03/2011 • Leave a Comment

Starting online content on established social media networks. You don’t have to be a web junkie tucked in a corner cubicle to start a website. Cameron Chapman from Smashing Magazine gives nonprofit organizations a sneak peek into easy overall web design and how to make (and LET) your site work of you!

1. Make your site donor-friendly

  • “…simple and straight-forward process for people to give you money”

2. Make your site media-friendly

  • “Make it easy for journalists to find info about your organization.”
  • Media kits! Give ’em what they want!

3. Make your site volunteer-friendly

  • Give your site users and potential volunteers the benefit of knowing exactly how to become involved and

4. Make sure your organization’s purpose is immediately apparent

5. Make sure your content takes center stage.

  • Use multimedia if you have the resources. If you have the time or opportunities to become knowledgable in Flash, do it!
  • Work with side bars and a breadcrumb trail along the top to let users know what section of your site they are in order to assist in organization.

6. Ensure your website is consistent with other promo materials.

  • Advertising has shown us great success with brand identity this way.

7. Know your site’s purpose up front

  • Design your site on paper before you go live online.
  • “Make a list of goals…”

8. Include a news section (blog)

  • Check out my older posting on blogging etiquette and content.

Go to Smashing Magazine to check out their top 20 nonprofit websites.


Although web content is Web 1.0, there is a way you can incorporate all of your social media in on your site. Placing links to your social media sites helps complete your circle of following. It’s not about having the MOST content online but conveying the same message in a different manner. Is your web site and content up to speed with what your users want? Is mobile compatibility something your organization needs to turn to next?

Tollerance in Participatory Culture

•02/03/2011 • 2 Comments

It’s scary, yet quite progressive, to think that any sort of group can be established/establishing online. Tollerance is THE most important way to demonstrate the level-headedness of your organization. However you experience adversity or opposing viewpoints online, you will be judged by your reaction.


Not sure of exactly what to say? Good rule of thumb: respond using words that you would use with your grandma.

Be respectful. Everyone is allowed to have opinions on what you do and even if you think your organizational objectives are well-defined and justified.

Stick with me now- think of the Westboro Baptist Church. They cause a lot of controversy and experience a great deal of flaming using social media. Their reputation is quite negative but check out how one blogger from Tekblog responded. I think you’ll be surprised.

I am here to thank the WBC for their contribution to society.

I am not being facetious I really do think that without having this kind of evil in the world people get too complacent in their faith. Would a small town line the streets and travel from hours away to lay to rest a hero who had given his life for his country? We would like to say yes but that is not being honest it was because of a vile presence that gave people the resolve to prove that there is still good in the world and to honor someone who should have been given that kind of ceremony without the taint that the WBC brought to it.

This is exactly my point. Social media can be a force! Peaceful interaction and comment etiquette are vital to the success.

People don’t judge you on your best days, they judge you on your worst. Need I mention BP? You didn’t think twice about the organization until after the oil spill- then what did you think when the BP CEO made an arrogant statement saying he wanted his life back? You remember the crisis management first.

Show resilience through times of struggle and use that opportunity to become a better organization.

Ride the Facebook wave

•24/02/2011 • 1 Comment

The last huge social medium I haven’t gone over is Facebook.  Facebook is as easy to use as any other network but its use and content that will really boost your nonprofit organization. The same concepts I have gone over for other mediums apply still.

Check out the posting in HopStop for tips on Twitter and think how that can help within Facebook.

David Gelles wrote an article in the Financial Times about what’s next for Facebook and what else Mark Zuckerberg(FB CEO) has up his sleeve.

The first thing that was mentioned was the use of Places. The concept of Foursquare hidden in a package and tied with a bow that is Facebook. The organization I see to get the most use out of this? Big Brothers Big Sisters.

How perfect!? Get mentors (Bigs) to “like” the organization and then have them check into places with their mobile device or have them update it after their “littles” return home.

Because the organization itself runs off of community partnerships and donations, this could truly be the next wave. It would be easier for mentors to track what community resources they’ve been using and for the branch to ask for more assistance from the frequently visited places.

That’s the newest… Now how do you optimize without Facebook Places? Take Web 2.0 for all it’s worth.

Post pictures and tag them. That’s the #1 reason Zuckerberg said that Facebook ousted any other picture hosting service online.

Use videos even if they’re not professionally edited. Your followers understand your budget constraints. In fact everyone’s feeling it. Use Facebook’s hosting capabilities to post videos of anything relating to your organization. People will be happy you’re moving forward with the trends.

Find interaction. That’s the sole purpose of Facebook Places but get interaction any way you can. Take the first step and people will return the favor.

What good organizations have you seen utilize Facebook?

What’s in a tribe?

•17/02/2011 • 1 Comment

…and how you can get them to work FOR your brand.

Not every brand needs to have a viral campaign associated with it nor does need a reason to raise money. Conan O’Brien had a humorous, yet serious conundrum in early 2010 when NBC decided to cancel his show. As Amit Chowdhry points out in his article on Conan, his personality wouldn’t have survived without a rally of followers online. User submitted content to Reddit, Digg and even a comical self-published classified ad on Craigslist turned Conan into an internet sensation.

The savvy term for these sensational followings are called “tribes”. In the realm of nonprofit, you want to create your own tribe. Get your purpose out to your audience on many levels. Dig deep into what makes them tick. Achieve your ultimate goal that you’ve set out and focus on attaining the entire objective. An organization doesn’t need to have a purpose like Conan did, nor do they need to have a purpose beyond awareness. Not every campaign is about gaining resources.

Voce Communications went so far as to say that Conan is “winning at the Internet”. Conan has an edge up on everyone- the man is undeniably funny. If he wasn’t, his success wouldn’t have carried him to where he stands today. What makes your organization unique? How can you exploit that to create your tribe?

“Team CoCo” raised awareness. Yes, eventually it was a revenue-seeking route but it didn’t start out that way. In what way can a nonprofit organization put Conan’s methods to the test? Try it out. Create your tribe. People will love what you do.

Livestrong through Social Media

•17/02/2011 • 1 Comment

Time for a mix up! Let’s take a look at what Livestrong did to create such a powerful campaign (emphasizing on only one of their many gatherings). Livestrong, as you may know, was created and intends to spread awareness of the cancer burden that’s spreading rapidly all over the world. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the yellow bracelets “guerrilla” advertising but they most certainly spread like a virus. In the posted video at the bottom, the “name behind the name”, Brook McMillan, is interviewed and she explains the Livestrong World Cancer Summit that was held in August 2009. The video below is a long one (almost 10 minutes) but here are some highlights:

Twitter @livestrong and #livestrong
Using hashtags on Twitter (and possibly a managing site such as HootSuite or TweetDeck) can help track trending topics, encourage discussion and closes geography gaps with tweeting discussions. “TweetUp”- Lance Armstrong put up a five hour notice for a group bike ride that he wanted to host and over 1,200 bike enthusiasts showed up. If this doesn’t show you the power of social media, I don’t know what does!

Youtube, Facebook, livestrongblog, flicker,[…]
Multi-platform, multi-platform, multi-platform. Infiltrate your message (ensuring it’s the same message) through different social media. Jason Falls, from the previous posting, has two cents to put in on this idea. Falls iterates on his site that if you’re going to put out a message across all of your platforms, make the meaning is uniform but don’t spread the exact same message. Religious followers are looking for varied content so give it to them!

Besides the unflattering camera-work, how did this mo-jo do on her interviewing? Did she get helpful information from her interviewee?

Social Media without a Profit

•16/02/2011 • 1 Comment

Using social media for promotion of a non-profit organization is a tool that author Jason Falls, feels could use the most improvement. Falls is a trailblazer with social media and creates innovative ways to bridge the gap between old PR and new PR given the digital divide. As the founding writer for Social Media Explorer and highly demanded speaker, Falls has an established reputation of success.

Non-profit organizations deal with their own set of struggles trying to make ends meet and still stay up with trending media. As I had mentioned in older postings (See: Emerging Businesses and Twitter), picking the right medium to connect with your users is vital to your success. Falls lays out the next few steps for promoting your cause via whichever network you decide to use: tell a compelling story, make a tangible goal, make it easy to give.

Get your followers involved! If fundraising is your goal, let your audience know your total goal, your status and how they can donate. Falls brings in the idea of placing widgets for monetary donations. If your organization is looking for volunteers, do the same. Provide many ways for your followers to stay involved and give them a reason to stay loyal to your organization.

What are some easy and interactive ways that your nonprofit organization has found to be interactive with your audience? Any ideas on in increasing your following?