February 3, 2012

How Salsa Labs enables positive social action

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Here’s a short video that provides a tour of Salsa, which offers a suite of online organizing tools to help you build awareness, mobilize your people and keep them engaged.

One client’s data-driven approach multiplied its supporter network exponentially

Guest post by Jason Zanon
Salsa Labs

Talking from the heart may be what motivates supporters, but when it comes to building a long-term social network strategy, there’s no substitute for having your head in the game.

The Environmental Working Group, whose disciplined and data-driven outreach has multiplied its supporter network by nearly a thousandfold since joining Salsa, generously shared its social media playbook with Salsa, and we thought Socialbrite’s readers would like to see how this unfolded. It includes a few common-sense strategies that any organization can put into effect — and a whole lot of shoe leather.

“We’re really aware of our audience and meeting their needs,” said Colleen Hutchings of the Environmental Working Group. “When we post an action, we’re being really conscientious of who our audience is and of meeting them where they are, which may not always be the same as an email audience or a blog audience.”

The thousands of nonprofits and campaigns that, like EWG, count on the Salsa online communications platform can light up sharing features on any page with the flip of a switch. Salsa Sharing helps visitors channel the message to their own friends on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Curation that targets each social network

Hutchings credits its burgeoning Twitter and Facebook footprints to the extra effort EWG puts into curating specifically for each social network. Some of her tips:

  • Craft custom suggested sharing messages (under 140 characters, natch) to make sharing super-easy for your social network people.
  • Have appealing linked images in the action page — essential for making Facebook shares pop.
  • Use a trackable link shortener like bit.ly to capture metrics. EWG’s last campaign as of this writing: 2,344 Facebook shares on an action with 31,095 online advocacy messages sent.
  • Try (gentle) cross-channel recruitment. For instance, suggest a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ share in your acknowledgment auto-response to folks who take the old-school webform action.
  • And most crucially, care for your community beyond your asks.

“We get into the comments and foster dialogues and direct people to resources they ask for,” Hutchings said. “People are coming to our Facebook page because they are involved in a conversation. We try to talk about actions in a way people care about, and care for the community that cares about them — and we do see new email signups and actions as a result.”

EWG is definitely a power user that keeps the Salsa team motivated, and our social media feature set has been expanding like gangbusters to help our managers execute their own smart social media strategies. Here’s a sampling of the social media elements that our clients deploy:

  • Custom share content: Specify channel-specific share messages for each social network (and, for Facebook, a share image).
  • Event sign-up via Facebook: Allow one-click registration via Facebook Connect for supporter sign-up and event registration. We’ll fill in their registration from their public Facebook profile, making sign-up quick and simple.
  • Ask email recipients to share: Add sharing code to an e-mail blast. Just copy and paste the code where you want it to appear in the blast. When the blast goes out, all e-mails will contain links to share the corresponding web version.
  • Tracking: Track how many times your pages have been shared on Facebook or Twitter, then monitor it with our handy Sharing Statistics sticky. Plug into your own bit.ly account, or just use Salsa’s default.
  • Link Facebook ID: Need to link your Salsa sharing utilities to an organization’s Facebook account? No problem, just give us your ID and we’ll take care of the rest.

Contact us if you have any questions. And please share your campaign success stories in the comments, whether on Salsa or another social action platform.

Jason Zanon is Director of Outreach and Development for Salsa Labs. Salsa Labs helps nonprofits do good works by providing the online fundraising, communications, supporter management (CRM) and advocacy solutions they need with an integrated, affordable platform called Salsa. Jason is a lead writer for the Salsa toolset blog and also runs the historical blog Executed Today.
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