November 2, 2011

5 essential Facebook applications for nonprofits

Facebook apps
Image by Thomaspajot for Big Stock

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

This is the first part of a two-part series on Facebook apps and resources available to nonprofits.

Guest post by Kim Bale

It’s important to diversify the platforms that nonprofits use to reach supporters, but we know that social media isn’t one size fits all. If you find that your community engages more with your organization on Facebook than it does on Twitter, then put your energy into raising your organization’s profile on Facebook rather than trying to spread yourself too thin.

These five Facebook applications will help boost your social media presence even further and expand your social network. Sign in as the Page administrator, search for the app on Facebook, then follow the steps to install it.

Causes logo

Causes App

1 The Causes Facebook Application allows nonprofits to fundraise via Facebook in a number of ways. Fans can “like” Pages, watch videos, play games or complete a number of other small tasks, and donations will be made to their chosen charities. Followers can also opt to donate directly to campaigns they care about via the Causes Application without ever leaving Facebook. With 2.3 million active monthly users, this free application raises awareness for a cause while donating real money to verified nonprofit organizations.

YouTube app

YouTube App

2 The YouTube application boasts 500,000 active monthly users and gives you complete control of which YouTube videos are displayed on your Facebook Page. Users can watch, share and comment on your videos from the comfort of their Facebook account. Sharing recruitment videos, event coverage and campaign collateral with your fans doesn’t get easier than this.

Involver Twitter app

Involver Twitter App

3 Involver, one of the Web’s most popular social marketing platforms, offers more than 24 applications geared toward Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone to create a distinctive user experience. Each Facebook account is entitled to two of their Basic applications free of charge, which can be swapped out at any time. To access more than two at a time, they offer a professional upgrade. The Twitter application will stream your Twitter feed directly to your Facebook Page, allowing you the freedom to customize its look and feel. Instantly two of your most important handles are accessible from one website, expanding your followers and encouraging conversation across platforms. Continue reading

September 28, 2011

New rules: How to create a Facebook page from scratch

 

Video tutorial will step you through new changes to Facebook pages

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

John HaydonFacebook has just introduced a completely new process for creating a Facebook Page. It includes:

  • An idiot-proof three-step process
  • The ability to import images from a website
  • Scaled-down requirements for the info section

The video above shows you exactly how the new process works.

September 27, 2011

Facebook nuked the ‘Like’ button, now what?

like button
Image by Jan Kowalski on Bigstock

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

John HaydonUp until last week, the only people who could comment on or like content on a Facebook Page were fans of that Page. Now, Facebook has eliminated that requirement, allowing anyone (fans and non-fans) the ability to engage with a Facebook Page.

The result of this change is that the importance of “liking” Pages has essentially been nuked – for both brands and for Facebook users.

Remain calm, here’s what it means

remain calm

Understandably, you are freaking out. But you’re also excited about this change!

You’re freaking out …

Because you’re worried about how to control conversations about your nonprofit. It’s like moderating Twitter without the ability to search. So you’re freaking out.

You’re also freaking out because maybe you were over-focused on accumulating fans in the first place. And were shocked to learn that getting a new fan doesn’t mean you’ve earned a spot in their news feed. So you’re freaking out.

But you’re excited …

Because this means that your Page updates could receive exponential attention. With the hurdle of “liking” a page removed, more people will engage with your Page stories!

You’re excited because for you it was always about engagement. It was never just a numbers game.

So what does this mean for Page administrators?

  • Be interesting. Because Pages are now more open, it’s even more important that you have a content strategy that keeps people interested.
  • Listen. Because conversations about your nonprofit are harder to monitor, it means taking another look at using tools like Social Mentionto keep track of what people are saying.
  • Evolve. Stop posting updates just to boost your Edgerank, and start creating deeper and broader discussions with Facebook users.

The good news

The good news is that the majority of communication and marketing professionals are too lazy and uninterested in having real discussions with their fans. So if you have a sincere commitment to do this, the competition will be few.

What do you think?

August 23, 2011

4 tools to help build your social community


Image by orangebrompton on Flickr

Strike right balance between scheduled updates & direct interaction

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, community managers, educators, NGOs, Web publishers, bloggers.

Shonali BurkeWhen trying to build an online community, I’ve found that one of the most important things to do is to participate consistently in your preferred channels. And not just participate as in talk a lot, but share interesting pieces of information so that your community knows you’re not just in this for you, you’re in this for them as well.

Inevitably, then, the time question comes up: “How can I always be online? Is there a way for me to cut down the amount of time I spend in social media?”

Yes and no. Yes, there are various tools you can use to cross-post your updates, for example, or to automate your updates. (See Socialbrite’s handy roundup of 10 social media dashboard tools.) But the “no” part of this answer is that if you’re going to try and cross-post every single update, or automate your posting schedule completely, I think you’ll flop.

How to maximize your social media time

Assuming you agree with that “yes and no” answer, here are four tools I’ve been finding very useful recently. They might help you, too.

Networked Blogs

NetworkedBlogs: Syndicate your blog to Facebook

1I tried NetworkedBlogs — one of many auto-posting services that syndicate your blog to Facebook — early on and then, for some reason, stopped. But recently, Ken Mueller wrote about nearly tripling his blog traffic by using, among others, NetworkedBlogs, and that made me decide to try it again.

Since coming back to NetworkedBlogs, I noticed that you can also syndicate to Twitter (though I’m not using that option).

How I’ve been using it: I had set up both my blogs to syndicate to my Facebook Page (that’s where Waxing UnLyrical goes) and my personal profile (that’s where my food blog goes). In addition, Waxing UnLyrical goes through to a secret Facebook group that I’ve set up for all the regular guest bloggers. I’m also testing this for a client blog — syndicating to the Page as well as a supporting Group.

Hiccup: Since I’m also testing Livefyre’s new SocialSync feature, I ran into problems with comments that I got on my Facebook posts not being pulled into the comment stream on Waxing UnLyrical (that’s what SocialSync does, it pulls in comments from Facebook and Twitter). Jenna Langer at Livefyre told me this was because when syndicating via NetworkedBlogs, NetworkedBlogs’ URL masks the actual blog URL and loads the site in an iFrame. (Sorry for that geek interruption.) Because Livefyre can’t see that that’s part of the conversation, those specific comments don’t show up in my Waxing Unlyrical comment stream.

But if you’re not using Livefyre as your comment system, you should be fine, and it’s worth a try because it does make the posts show up nicely in Facebook.

triberr

Triberr: Get your Twitter updates shared

2Much has been written about Triberrwhether automated tweets being shared by a “tribe” are a good thing, whether it can be gamed, and so on. When Gini Dietrich invited me into my first tribe, I had absolutely no hesitation in accepting.

I think Triberr is a great way to share posts – and get your posts shared – by a select group of people you trust. While there is a setting in Triberr that allows you to go in and check what’s due to be posted to Twitter via your account, I rarely check it.

Why? Because I’ve seen consistently good content being produced by fellow tribe members, and I trust them. So trust is key.

How I use it: I keep my Triberr settings on “auto” mode. This helps me because I don’t have to worry about going to Tribe members’ blogs (or to my Reader) to find the posts and tweet them out (though I still try to do that so that I can comment as often as possible). Continue reading

January 5, 2011

5 ways to use social media to build a crowd for your event

crowd

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause and community organizations, foundations, NGOs, businesses, brands, government agencies, conference organizers, educators. First of two parts. Also see part 2: Using Twitter & LinkedIn to promote your event.

Guest post by Tamara Mendelsohn
Director of Marketing, Eventbrite

We often get asked, “How can I leverage social media to promote my event?” So we started collecting best practices from event organizers who use Eventbrite and pulled them into this post to help you get started down the path to social media glory.

It’s important to note that social media is a clunky gun — it’s a channel, not a strategy. The best way for each event to utilize this channel will vary depending on who the target audience is and how they engage online.

Social media: the perfect tool to generate buzz

It’s no silver bullet. That said, social media can be an incredibly powerful promotional tool, allowing you to reach more of the people who care about and ultimately want to attend your event. When people share information about your event with their network, that message carries much more weight than a traditional ad. It’s a personal endorsement of your event. Social media is also the perfect tool to generate buzz, to get people talking about your event in a recorded fashion where others can stumble across it and get caught up in it, too. It’s not a new phenomenon. That’s how people have promoted their events from the beginning: get people talking about it. What social media brings is the ability for anyone to discover the chatter, giving it far more reach and power.

But it can be a game-changer. We’ve built a lot of features into Eventbrite to support sharing of events through social media and we see the results every day. Facebook is the greatest driver of traffic to our site, which means people are sharing your events on Facebook, their friends are seeing the posts show up in their feed, and they are clicking on the links that bring them back to your Eventbrite event page. That’s really exciting, and I hope you can see the powerful implications that it has on the way events are promoted and discovered.

Some guiding principles on promoting events

Choose the platforms that make sense for your event.

1There are a few options when it comes to promoting your event through social media, and each has advantages and disadvantages. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn show who’s attending and they aggregate conversations about the event in one place, while Twitter provides the opportunity for anyone to discover the event. Building your own social network around your event may be the thing to do if you have an appetite for building a richly branded online experience, but it won’t give you the virality of established social networks. Look to strike a balance across several platforms. Most important, understand where your target audience is already engaging. Identify existing communities by searching on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other forums, monitor Twitter conversation, and locate the platforms that have the most activity. This is where you’ll want to place the majority of your efforts.

Define success metrics and don’t underestimate the effort required.

2To new users, online communities might look self-sustaining. They’re not. Facebook, Twitter and the rest all take work, ideally in the form of a dedicated individual who can keep dialogue flowing and seed productive conversations. Continuous new content and engagement tactics are required to grow the vibrant community necessary for achieving buzz around your event. Define success metrics so that you know how you’re tracking — number of fans or followers is a great place to start, but engagement metrics are most important. The Facebook Page dashboard gives good stats and there are some great free Twitter analytics tools (we use Twitalyzer) that can measure engagement levels of your tweets. Continue reading

March 8, 2010

Social media begins with goals and a strategy

Business plan

John HaydonI’ve been following Ash Shepherd on Twitter for some time now because he always seems to have something important to share. Following is an email interview I conducted with Ash about a service he offers called Social Media Planning and Analysis.

What is social media planning and analysis?

Shepherd: Social media planning and analysis is really about two things:

1. Creating frameworks that keep social media activities mission focused in a sustainable manner.

2. Taking the time look at if what you are doing is working.

After all, none of us has the time or resources to do anything that is not helping us achieve our mission as an organization or company.

Can you explain what this looks like in practice?

There is obviously a lot that can go into explaining this but the simple breakdown is this: Goals, Strategies, Tactics, Tools and Metrics. The biggest point to make here is that picking your tool comes as one of the final steps, not as the first and only one.

This practice of keeping things tied to larger communication goals with specific actions and ways to measure successes as well as shortcomings is the key to sustainability for groups.

If you chase the tools, what are you going to do when they change? (And they will.) You have to start over. With a solid plan and framework the worst case scenario is that you have to adjust that last two steps of the process but everything else can remain consistent. Continue reading