November 22, 2011

Free tools to help geo-target your socialsphere

geo-targeting

Use MarketMeSuite, Meetup & Foursquare to locate your closest supporters

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, brands, social media managers.

Guest post by Nikki Peters
Community Support Manager, MarketMeSuite

If you have a Twitter account, you’ve likely used Twitter search to locate supporters and other like-minded organizations that are tweeting about topics and causes you care about. While keyword searches can be useful in increasing your audience and even gaining supporters, it’s also hugely time consuming. It becomes quite labor intensive to conduct a local search through Twitter for supporters in your area, and it can be difficult to keep track of replies and streamline your results.

Fortunately, there are other methods and tools for conducting targeted searches. This article will look at how your organization can incorporate geo-targeting so you can not only interact with people who are interested in your cause but also those who are local enough to participate and get involved in person.

Geo-targeting on Twitter with MarketMeSuite

Being able to locate tweets that have been sent within an “X mile radius” really does mean you can restrict your searches to only the most relevant distances and topics for you. Determining the location of tweets is particularly helpful if your nonprofit is holding an event in a town and wants to get locals involved. One method for locating tweets is with the UK-based social media dashboard MarketMeSuite. In addition to having all your social network accounts in one place, MarketMeSuite lets you target your tweet searches to location and specific words using a feature called “Reply Campaigns.”

You can target within 1,000 miles of a specific location. All you have to do is type in either the city, county, zip code or postal code to get the location of your choice. The keyword selection also means you can target the words that you feel will be most used in your niche topic.

Here’s an example of the Reply Campaign feature:

reply campaign

This type of geo-targeted tweeting is a tremendous time saver. For example, if you’re planning a local event and struggling to reach potential participants or sponsors, you can use geo-targeting to create a campaign within a 20-mile radius. As nice as it is to chat with someone who would love to attend but lives in Norway, you still need to fill up your event in New York. The results are pretty staggering: Eighty-five percent of replies sent using this method elicit some kind of reply.

You can further reduce the noise by banning words from your results with the “Negative Keywords” feature. This means you can tailor your search for only positive tweets about your subject choice. Add as many as you like to make sure that you get the best results; you are much more likely to have people respond and participate in your event simply because they are close enough to be interested. Continue reading

June 22, 2011

6 ideas to help nonprofits get started on Foursquare


A heat map of Foursquare members worldwide.

Use check-ins & shout-outs to raise awareness among its 10 million members

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, brands, start-ups, Web publishers, educators.

Guest post by Wilneida Negrón
LawHelp.org

WilneidaHere are six ideas to get your organization started on Foursquare, the geolocation social network that announced Monday it has surpassed 10 million members.

Make your nonprofit a venue on Foursquare

1Make your organization a “venue” on Foursquare so that when people are in your area, a notification about your organization will show up. You can take advantage of this feature by adding advocacy action alerts that will show up when others view your organization to alert people to any advocacy needed or even to recruit volunteers, etc.

Also encourage your staff to start individual Foursquare accounts so that they can promote their activities. For example, if you have an outreach or community education component to your work, your outreach staff could check in at venues where they are holding a workshop, attending a task force or participating in any other community meetings or events.

Bring awareness to resources in your community

2Use the “tips” feature on Foursquare to bring awareness about resources available in your community. Have your staff create individual Foursquare accounts and have them leave tips about locations in the community that could be helpful to your client population. You can also encourage local community leaders to leave tips as well. Your staff can also include facts about your organization, hours of operation, nearest subway or bus stop.

Promote and enhance the donation experience

3Consider this idea to enhance the donor giving experience and support local businesses. Talk to local stores and businesses and see if they will make a tax-deductible donation to your organization if a number of people come to their store. For example, talk to your local coffee shop and see if they will make a donation to your organization if 50 people will check into their shop within a period of time.

You can promote this arrangement in your other social networks accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. and let people know that if they check in at this store, the shop will make a donation to your organization. This is a win‐win situation for all: You can promote your organization and raise funds, local businesses also get promotion and business, and customers feel involved and glad they made a direct contribution.

Community education and public awareness

4Many organizations have been using Foursquare to educate the public and bring awareness to issues affecting the community. For example, the National Wildlife Foundation developed a campaign where every time someone checked into an outdoor space like a park or natural landmark, they would receive NWF sponsored tips of the wildlife they should look for, or views to not miss. The idea is to make visiting outdoor spaces interesting and informative and increase awareness, while at the same time increasing awareness of NWF. Continue reading

March 22, 2011

Using location-based services for your nonprofit


The Feeding America campaign using geolocal.

John HaydonOn Saturday I was on a panel at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., discussing the use of location-based services to create awareness and raise money for your organization.

The panel included Estrella Rosenberg of Big Love Little Hearts, Joe Waters from Boston Medical Center, and Dan Michel from Feeding America.

Here are five points I took away from the session:

Understanding user motivations

1Understanding user motivations is important in developing your location-based service strategy. For example, Foursquare users love collecting badges and love becoming the mayor of a venue, while Places users are motivated by sharing interesting places and being on stage in front of their friends. Obviously, these are generalities – using them yourself is the best way to know what your constituents’ motivations are.

Use the services as is

2As you may have guessed, services like Foursquare and Gowalla don’t have the bandwidth to focus on special projects, or wish-list feature requests. With that in mind, develop your strategy around these services as they are – both in terms of user base and features.

Use them as one channel among many

3Because of the limited user base, cultural adoption and functional limitations of these tools, they should be used only as a marginal supplement to other channels. You might be wise to use them experimentally with no expectations of Return on Investment (and be pleasantly surprised when you have a win). Continue reading

April 2, 2010

How nonprofits can use geolocation

Museums and Foursquare can add up to a perfect pairing

brooklyn-museum-mayorBeth KanterIam putting the finishing touches on another social media lab designed for arts organizations. So, I’ve been updating arts 2.0 examples. I’ve also been trying to wrap my brain around whether or not Foursquare has value for nonprofits. I had to look no further than Shelley Bernstein’s blog over at the Brooklyn Museum to find some thoughtful experimentation and useful examples.

Back in December, the Brooklyn Museum started to experiment with FourSquare running a promotion to get people to check in and get a free membership. Shelley notes in her post the reason why they decided to explore FourSquare:

“As simply as I can put this, Foursquare is about place and identifying yourself through that. It is a celebration of the visitor—the people who crossed the river, who made it in the door and decided to identify themselves with us…right here at 40.67124,-73.963834.”

In this first experiment, the museum took advantage of the “tips” feature where users can leave tips about a location. They had their staff, local experts in the location, add tips about what was interesting for visitors in the neighborhood. Says Shelley: “As people explore our area, the Brooklyn Museum staff help them along in their journey pointing out the joys of pancakes at Tom’s Restaurant or the killer wine selection at Abigail’s.” Other ideas include a special museum badge. In addition, the museum has taken those tips and created a mashup with the Yelp API. Continue reading