June 3, 2009

Mobile social marketing: How to do it right

Katrin VerclasMobile advocacy efforts are just beginning around the world.  What are we learning from these emergent campaigns what works and what does not in using mobile phones to advance a cause or an issue?

Of course, we think that advocacy organizations should start to pay serious attention to using mobiles in their work. There is increasing evidence that mobile social marketing works in increasing brand awareness and moving people to actions. It is also becming an increasingly effective way to engage users and constituents. Here are a few pointers from what we have learned to date.

1. What’s happening in the mobile (social) marketing market that advocacy organizations should pay attention to?

  • Over 84 percent of Americans have cell phones, according to the CTIA, an industry group. Data shows that the majority of users carry their mobiles around for up to 18 hours/day. In fact the mobile, keys, and wallets are the three things most adults will not leave the house without.
  • Sms/texting is growing by leaps and bounds. More than 48 billion text messages were sent in the month of December 2007, an average 1.6 billion messages per day. The rate of text messaging represented a 157 percent increase over December 2006 texting. (according to M:Metrics data)
  • Mobile marketers are salivating, with polls, contests, coupons, and even mobi-sodes, short sms serial stories hitting the commercial market. Pepsi, Ford, Toyota, Burger King all have mobile campaigns, and more and more marketers are allocating hard dollars to “mobile marketing” budgets.
  • Visa announced its mobile payment platform, allowing cardholders to use their mobile phones to make purchases or conduct other transactions by tapping them against readers. Think ‘just in time’ fundraising.
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June 2, 2009

A user’s guide to mobile activism

Guest post by Jed Alpert
Founder, Mobile Commons

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the world of mobile activism and show you how you can take your organization mobile. (You can also download and print out the guide as a 16-page Word doc from Archive.org.)

family-guyMobile is a complex ecosystem, and it includes:

• Telecom carriers: All mobile traffic is routed through telecom providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

• Handset manufacturers: A wide variety of companies manufacture mobile devices, from Apple’s iPhone to boutique brands you haven’t heard of yet.

• The Internet: A small number of mobile  hones (about 5%) have web capability – users can check email and surf the web, though the experience can be uneven at times.

• Application providers: Mobile application providers allow you to create and manage your mobile programs, often from a web-based application.

We’ll mention a few pertinent facts about each of these areas, but we’ll focus mostly on application providers; good providers will serve as a one-stop shop, so you won’t have to deal with any complexity.

First, though, a short introduction to the various forms mobile programs can take.

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June 1, 2009

8 nonprofit executives who use Twitter

Fred Krupp is the CEO of the Environmental Defense Fund

Beth KanterRecently, BusinessWeek published a slideshow of CEO’s who use Twitter, noting the dramatic rise of CEO’s who use Twitter to clue customers in on new services, help them with questions about their products, and generally get a little bit personal with customers, business associates, and the public.

There are some other benefits to having your nonprofit’s CEO be on Twitter, these might include:

  • Source of news
  • Brand Building
  • Focus Group/Research
  • Networking Tool
  • Monitoring
  • Drive Traffic to web site
  • Humanizing your communications

Of course, if your CEO is going to Twitter, they have to be keep a consistent schedule and be authentic.    There’s been a bit of debate about celebrity Twitter users who have “ghost” twitterers or simply people helping them tweet.

I did a brief scan to see if there any nonprofit chief executives who Twitter. Here’s a few whom I found:

1. @carlPope is the executive director of the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environnmental group.  His tweets are about his organization’s work and retweeting others messages.  Take for example

RT @maryannehitt http://twitpic.com/5n4sq – Re-posting great Seattle rally photo by Sierra Club’s Dan Ritzman #nocoal #epacaa

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May 28, 2009

A compendium of useful Twitter tools

Click to see larger image
Flickr Photo by @briansolis and @jess3

Beth KanterLast October, Brian Solis created the definitive list of Twitter Tools, a handy list of Twitter helper applications by key categories. Given Twitter’s explosive growth and crossing the chasm to more mainstream adoption, the palette of Twitter tools has most definitely expanded as Brian notes in his post to more than 1,000 apps.  I noticed this a few months ago, when a few of us analytics geeks fooled around with creating a Twitter Monitoring and Analytic Tools Taxonomy.

That’s why I’m was so excited to see that Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas have collaborated on an “alpha” version of the “Twitterverse” of Twitter tools covering a broader taxonomy of uses — from relationship management to workflow support and beyond.

You may remember that they also created the much replicated and shared  Conversation Prism — a map to help communications, service, marketing, and community professionals more effectively navigate the many social media tools. They are asking for feedback on what is missing, suggestions for categories, and other ways to improve the tool.

I would love to see a clickable version. Better yet, I’d like to see a wikispace that included descriptions, links to tutorials, and tips.

I’ve used the Conversation Prism diagram in almost every presentation or training I’ve done since Brian created it (with a credit to the creator and a mini advertisement to read Brian’s blog). The reaction I often get from folks in the room is a feeling of being overwhelmed. So, what I’d also like to see is the 101 version of the Twitterverse perhaps for the next iteration of the WeAreMedia Tool Box.

Thanks, Brian and Jesse, for a terrifically useful map to the Twitterverse.

This post originally appeared on Beth’s Blog.

May 28, 2009

How celebrities can be a force for good


JD LasicaRecently the TV critic of the St. Petersburg Times asked for my thoughts about the migration of celebrities to Twitter over the past few months. Will it inevitably dumb down the service? Bring it into the mainstream? Make us want to move on to the Next Big Thing?

Britney Spears on TwitterAshton Kutcher is closing in on 2 million followers, Britney Spears is at 1.6 million, Oprah at 1.2 million, Shaq and Demi Moore at 1 million and Perez Hilton at 860 followers for some reason.

The columnist, Eric Deggans, did a solid writeup (I’m quoted): Celebrities who Tweet: Tips to keep them from ruining Twitter for us all.

Here’s the friendly advice I’m offering to celebrities joining the Twitterverse:

First, understand that you’re not leading this parade. But we’re happy to have you in it. You have the advantage of having tens or hundreds of thousands of fans follow you on Twitter, even if you don’t know the difference between a tweet and a twit. But listen, observe, follow back, participate. It’s the golden rule of social media.

Second, how should you use your special powers? To do good.

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May 28, 2009

Change.org: Turning concern into action

Change.org: Helping you take action online from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOne of the most impressive and influential sites in the causes space, Change.org, has really come into its own in the past six to eight months. The social enterprise is helping raise awareness about important social causes and empowering people to take action, chiefly through the efforts of leading nonprofits.

Here’s an interview I conduced with Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of Change.org, after a meetup at TechSoup’s offices in San Francisco. Ben describes the organization this way: “We’re an online community and media network for social issues, focused on engaging and informing people about the most important issues of our time — global warming, homelessness, fair trade — and compelling them to take action.”

Actions might range from joining an organization and making a personal pledge to signing an online petition or calling a congressperson’s office about an issue. “This is one of the things we’re most interested in innovating on and partnering with other organizations on — finding the most powerful actions possible for people to advance issues they care about.”

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