April 21, 2015

5 Communications Lessons Learned Working at an Anti-Poverty Nonprofit

TU India RESIZED

This post was originally published in the Huffington Post. Photo courtesy of Trickle Up.

By: Caroline Avakian

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions. The MDGs target date expires this year, and as we collaboratively build out new goals for the next 15 years, it will be critical that nonprofit communicators in the global development sector build on what we’ve learned as well. So it got me thinking about what some of my lessons learned were after almost five years working at Trickle Up — an international organization that empowers people living on less than $1.25 a day to take the first steps out of poverty, providing them with resources to build sustainable livelihoods for a better quality of life.  Continue reading

March 9, 2015

Three simple ways to dramatically increase website traffic from Facebook

Three Simple Ways to Dramatically Increase Website Traffic From Facebook

john-haydon

Although Facebook has decreased newsfeed exposure (reach) for Facebook Pages, they have increased newsfeed exposure for links people share with their Facebook friends.

 

Right now, take a look at your own News Feed and look at the number of links from friends versus links from Pages. My News Feed has 1 link (or less) from a Page for every 10 links from friends. Clearly, Facebook puts my friends first in the News Feed.

All this link-sharing has made Facebook the number one source of social referral traffic. In fact, a recent study from Shareaholic shows that Facebook now drives more than 25% of all website traffic (see below).

shareaholic social media traffic referrals

An excellent example of a nonprofit using a blog for content marketing is To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization that gives hope and help to people struggling with depression, addiction and suicide. They publish posts every day that are bothinspiring and useful. Check out the most recent posts:

twloa

How Does Blogging Increase Website Traffic?

When people read TWLOHA’s posts, quite naturally some click “like” if they like what they’re reading.

Each time this happens, an update is posted in Facebook’s news feed, driving Facebook visitors back to the website (as shown below).

twloha - fb post

But these are not just any website visitor. They are friends that your community invited to your website when they clicked a like button!  They are birds of a similar feather, which you want.

Three Ways to Increase Website Traffic From Facebook

So where do you start? After you’re confident that your website has content worth sharing, begin by adding like buttons, sharing prompts, and Facebook comments.

1. Add Like Buttons to Your Website Content

Putting a like button on all of your website content is probably the number one way to drive website traffic from Facebook, in the long run.

You can add Facebook like buttons to your content by generating code on Facebook’s developer site (shown below). If you use WordPress, you can choose from a variety of plugins that automatically add like buttons to your content (I like JetPack).

facebook like button app

2. Add Facebook Sharing Popups to Your Website Content

Let’s say you have a big event coming up, and you want to drive your community (and their friends) to a landing page about the campaign. You have many ways that you’ll be doing this, including making it easy for people to share that landing page with their friends.

You can do this easily and strategically by embedding sharing links in various webpages and blog post on your website.

To create Facebook sharing links, follow these instructions:

  1. Type the following link in a plain text document: https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=
  2. Enter your landing page URL after “?u=“. For example, https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http://blogs.bestfriends.org/post-name/ creates a news feed post (as shown below).
  3. Embed URL into text or image
  4. Test sharing

best friends facebook sharer

3. Add Facebook Commenting to your Website Content

Another way you can drive more traffic to your website is by adding Facebook commenting two webpages on your website. Like the like button, each time someone leaves a comment using the Facebook comment plug-in, a link to your website is shared on Facebook.

You can create code using Facebook’s comments plugin, or if you use WordPress, you can use a WordPress plugin.

What do you think?

Comment below with your brilliant idea, question, or cool example of a nonprofit website.

February 23, 2015

Photos no longer get more reach on Facebook

facebook-pages

john-haydon

You’ve no doubt heard the advice that posting photos will help you get more reach on Facebook. That advice has been tried and true for years, until now.

According to a study by SocialBakers, photos now get less organic reach than videos, links, and even text updates. In fact, videos are now the king of the News Feed!

Socialbakers analyzed 4,445 Facebook Pages and 670,000 posts between October 2014 and February 2015. They discovered that videos now get more than twice as much reach as photos (shown below).
organic reach photos
There’s no clear reason for this recent Facebook algorithm change, but Socialbakers offers two explanations:

  1. Facebook is responding to Pages looking to game the newsfeed with photos.
  2. Facebook is taking on YouTube as the king of video content.

Jan Rezab, Socialbakers CEO, told Business Insider: “Video is proving to be a very engaging format and gaining in popularity, consumers really like them. Therefore we’d advise marketers to include video as part of their content strategies.”

How should your nonprofit respond?

  • First of all, check your reach report in your Facebook Page Insights. Specifically, analyze post reach by type between October 2014 and February 2015, the period of time Socialbakers analyzed.
  • Second, consider stepping up video content.
  • Third, consider publishing blog posts on your website. This way, you’ll be armed with a Facebook Page AND your website, in your Facebook marketing action plan.

What do you think?

February 19, 2015

Honesty Oscars 2015: Best Activist in a Leading Role

2015-honesty-oscars

Our friends over at the Accountability Lab and the ONE campaign are hosting the Honesty Oscars. Every day in the week leading up to the Academy Awards, February 17th to 21st, ONE and Accountability Lab will unveil a category for our Honesty Oscars 2015, an award that honors not Hollywood films, but the creative work of activists and organizations that fight global corruption. Vote for your favorites, and they’ll announce the winners following the Oscars on Monday, February 23rd.

We think it’s great that they’ve hijacked the Oscars in the friendliest and most humanitarian way possible by shining the spotlight on the people and projects that rarely get it.

Please go cast your vote here and consider yourselves a member of the Honesty Oscars Academy!

February 18, 2015

Seven FAQ’s on Social PR Strategy

Social-PR-Maze-300x253

When I teach workshops, there are certain stumbling blocks to smart social PR strategy that come up frequently. As the workshop facilitator, it’s my job to help participants understand how to overcome these challenges or, at the very least, find a way to deal with them that’s not quite as painful.

Here are the seven most frequently asked questions in my social PR strategy workshops, and how I typically answer them.

1. “Too much to do, not enough time. Now you’re asking me to add social?!”

This is true. But this is true of life in general. As far as social media goes, that’s what smart tools like HootSuite, Buffer, PostPlanner, etc. are for. There are hundreds more useful tools than I can name here, though I do go into some depth in my workshops. For now, I’ll direct you to Ian Cleary’s most excellent tools directory. This is a resource to bookmark if ever there was one.

2. “Social media isn’t part of my job.”

Whoa, Nelly. Just because social media isn’t in your job description doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be keeping up with the times. Regardless of whether your work focuses on government relations, advocacy, member communications, media relations… social media is part of everyone’s job.

Even if you are not directly charged with managing your organization’s social media properties, there is always a way social can support, supplement or complement your job. You just have to find it.

3. “I want to learn how to use Twitter to engage better with reporters.”

I love when I hear this, because there’s a really important word flung in with all the rest; and that word is “engage.” And what we uncover, during the course of the workshop, is how to learn to engage without fearregardless of who’s on the other end—because it’s only then that true engagement comes into play.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Facebook, or ______. The basic principles of engagement are the same. But it only works if you work it.

And, by the way, “social PR” is not simply about pitching reporters via Twitter. So if that’s all you’re using Twitter for, you’re missing out.

4. “How do I engage my audience?”

Once we establish that engagement is about a change in attitude, then we can start to change behavior. And the key to building engaged audiences (and keeping them that way) is really very simple: you listen, and you respond. Then they respond, and you listen. Then you respond, and then they respond. And so it goes.

How you do this effectively gets us into the realm of tools, platforms, setting up listening dashboards, and so on. And while I truly believe there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there’s always a way to openly and sincerely listen.

And yes, it takes time. But it’s worth it.

5. “We have a lot of followers, but they don’t do anything.”

Assuming the majority are not bots, this is probably because:

  • You haven’t really started engaging with them;
  • You’re not asking them to do anything;
  • You only (or mostly) talk to them when you want something.

In other words, you have a lot of followers, but no community.

Strategic social PR isn’t just about using new channels to “get your message out.” That’s an extremely dead tree approach to PR in this day and age. What social PR excels at is putting community at the heart of public relations. Invest in your community, and you’ll be amazed at how much they do for you.

6. “There’s so much going on, how do we know what to track?”

Aha! That’s where you have to really blueprint your social PR strategy. Begin at the end, identifying what you’re trying to achieve. And work backwards from there.

If you don’t do this at the get-go, it will be virtually impossible for you to set up an effective listening program (even if it’s very rudimentary), which will hold you back on the engagement front.

If you haven’t already, download my new ebook before it goes behind the “sign up” curtain (tomorrow) -that will get you started.

 7. “We want more ______.”

“More” is good… most of the time. But can you identify how more <whatever it is> is going to help you achieve results that make sense from a business point of view? Because if not, then you have to step back and figure out what you’re trying to do, and why it’s important.

It can take a while to get to the bottom of those questions, but it’s really important not to give up.

Because until you do, your efforts won’t be strategic, which is a shame. Because PR that isn’t strategic can be extremely tiring, and disheartening, and make you feel as if you’re walking through a never-ending maze. And why would anyone want to put themselves through that?

I’m sure you come across – or have – other questions on social PR strategy. I’d love to know what they are, so do share via a comment below.

This post was originally published on shonaliburke.com

SHONALIShonali Burke

President & Grand Poobah at Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc.
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn’t you like to be in her kitchen?

 

January 12, 2015

Nonprofit Communications Trends Report for 2015

NPCOMM REPORT

john-haydon

As a consultant and trainer in the nonprofit community, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. And it’s here! Kivi published the first Nonprofit Communications Trends Report back in 2011, surveying 780 nonprofits.

For the most recent report, Kivi surveyed 1,535 nonprofits – mostly in the US.

Highlights from the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report are presented in an infographic (below), which includes the following eye-openers:

  • Nonprofits no longer have new donor acquisition as a primary goal. Instead, retaining current donors and engaging their communities is becoming more important.
  • Communications Directors and Development Directors have conflicting goals. Development, of course, wants to retain and acquire donors. Communications wants to focus less on fundraising and more on brand awareness and engagement.
  • Nonprofits are planning on sending more email and direct mail appeals in 2015. 45% of the participants said they will send monthly appeals, and 36% said they will send quarterly direct mail appeals.
  • Facebook is still the king of social media channels. 96% of participants have a Facebook page.
  • Nonprofits still say their website is the most important communications channel, followed by email and social media. This is as it should be.
  • Communications Directors are challenged with lack of time to produce quality content.
  • Facebook takes up more time than blogging or email marketing.

Continue reading