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Fighting back against social media overwhelm

I got an email from a PR firm today with a whole collection of advice on how to maximize social media. Advice on Facebook. Advice on Twitter. Advice on Pinterest and Instagram and Flickr. Advice on SEO and how to write and how not to write and how to avoid pitfalls…


While this advice is all well and good for large corporations with entire social media departments, it is not useful for the average smaller nonprofit communications folks. There is absolutely no way to maintain such a broad social media presence with any quality.

  • Get strategic. You can’t do it all – you cannot with any success maintain a productive presence on every social media channel out there. You really have to pick just a few. How do you know which channels to be on? Ask around among your audience and find out where your folks are – that is where you need to be.
  • Get smart. Working in an arts organization? Use a visual medium like Instagram or Pinterest. Bonus: Both connect seamlessly with your Facebook page. Women’s organization? The vast majority of Pinterest users are women. You should be there.
  • Streamline. Social media channels tend to be connected. When you post a picture to Flickr, it updates your Facebook page and sends a Tweet on your behalf. Same with Pinterest. Download either Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so that all your social media channels are in one screen. Utilize this interconnectedness to keep all your wheels in motion.  * One note. Don’t autopost Twitter to Facebook or vice versa. It doesn’t work well and photos come through as links. No good.
  • Focus on quality of engagement, not quantity. 200 engaged, interacting folks is more valuable than 2 million passive “likes”. Interact with the folks who are on your networks. That’s where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Find a way to enjoy the connection. Taking just a few minutes everyday to be on social media can be fun if you let go of the “do-or-die stress” you feel about it. When you’re on Facebook or Twitter, keep in mind that these are your people…your biggest fans. Enjoy staying in touch with them.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Finally, and most importantly, keep in mind that computers are primarily a visual medium. Get in the habit of taking photos and videos and using them as much as possible.

Social media is fun and engaging and can seem like the most important thing that you’re not doing. While I don’t disagree that you should be taking advantage of all the great ways we can connect through social media. Please keep in mind that it reinforces relationships – it doesn’t replace them.

Facebook landing page tabs really work

Facebook recented created and then quickly removed restrictions on the use of landing tabs on Facebook Pages. Says Facebook:

As of last night, we’ve removed the recently-added authentication requirement for setting custom landing tabs on Pages. The requirement was instituted as part of a Pages quality initiative, and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused to our developer and business community. We are re-investigating the situation, and will not make any further changes without first giving our community standard notice and lead-time.

Why are landing tabs a target?

Jeff Widman of BrandGlue did a study where they performed split test ads and they drove ads to custom landing tab and another set was driving just to the wall. The findings:

Those ad-driven visitors converted to fans at a rate of approximately 47% WITH a landing tab. When we turned off the landing tab, those same ad-driven visitors converted to fans at approximately 23%. A VERY noticeable loss in conversions over the course of the campaign.

Bottom line. It’s worth your time and effort to use a service like Fan Page Engine to use your original artwork or videos or photos to create a custom landing tab for your page.

Haven’t you heard? Everyone is going to social media Summer Camp.

Summer camp isn’t just for kids anymore.

Join your friends in Minneapolis to spend four days at social media Summer Camp with Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, and me (among others) refining your social media skills and picking up new ideas on how to move from using social media as a tactic to a full-blown communications/social media program.

Already been through a Boot Camp? Perfect.

We’ll spend an entire day embellishing your Facebook page; we’ll delve more deeply into free broadcast media — both audio and video; we’ll tutor you in blogging; we’ll make sure that your Google listing is optimized; and we’ll do some serious tweeting!  Guest speakers will teach about writing compelling copy for your website and maintaining privacy online.

Plus, the certified Social Phonics Coaches (that’s me!) will be your camp counselors all week, giving you one-on-one attention.

Register online now. If you have questions, email me at

I hope to see you there.

Now you can embed your Google Calendar into your WordPress blog

It’s the moment I have been waiting for…WordPress and Google have made nice and now you can embed your Google Calendar into a blog.

This is the final piece of the puzzle that makes the best possible choice for a small nonprofit looking to build an inexpensive but highly effective site.

This site is one among many I have built on the platform. Check out: Holy Apostles Episcopal ChurchSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and First Nations Kitchen.

As continues to refine their offerings, I expect that the possibilities will continue to grow.

Thanks, Wausau

I had the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of people yesterday in Wausau, Wisconsin. The topic was the use of social media in faith communities. The presentation I used is above.
Everytime I do a presentation I am aware of how every organization and community has individual social media needs. It is so much fun to work with a smaller group and have time for specific questions.

Is your nonprofit taking advantage of Google?

I was surfing around Google the other day and ran across their new one-stop shop for nonprofits to apply for the Google for Nonprofits program. Qualifying nonprofits will be able to participate in Google Grants, Google Earth for NonprofitsGoogle AdWords for Nonprofits and much more. Pretty nifty.

I don’t know anyone who has used this yet but I would love to hear from anyone who has some experience. Is it as fantastic as it seems?

In the meantime, here are other ways in which Google helps nonprofits keep ahead of the technology curve:

YouTube Insight is a self-service analytics and reporting tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the audience for the videos that they upload to the site. “You can see who’s watching your videos, their age, location, gender, number of views, and you can even see at what spot in the video a person has (stopped watching),” she said.

YouTube GoodWork helps nonprofits that don’t think they have the capability to create a video. A partner with Cannes Advertising Festival, this project works with ad creatives to make ads for nonprofits. The top five entrants will be flown to Cannes, France, to participate in a nonprofit showcase.

YouTube Direct is an open source uploading platform that you can embed on your website, allowing your supporters to upload a video directly to your YouTube channel, which you can approve or disallow through your moderation pane.

YouTube Moderator allows any YouTube user to collect commentary, questions or ideas on your YouTube channel and watch the best ones rise to the top. Bring a group of people together on a topic of your choice and leverage their collective wisdom to vote on the best video and text submissions.

Call to Action overlays lets nonprofits create a text call to action that’s superimposed over their video, asking supporters to make a donation, text a text2give number, or visit a url.

YouTube Annotations is a new way to add interactive commentary to your videos. You can use it to add background information about a video, create stories with multiple story threads or link to related videos or search results from within a video.

You can experiment with QR codes

Originally, QR codes (Quick Response codes) seemed like a fad to me. Yet another technological trinket for geeks and online hypesters pushing “the next big thing.”

However, as I’ve increasingly seen QR codes on advertising, billboards, and websites I’m forced to reconsider my opinion. Want to read more about QR codes? There’s no need for me to hash out the details –  Mashable’s recent post and the post in Social Media Examiner are good ones.

It’s incredibly easy now to create your own QR code. I’ve been experimenting with this one: I’m sure there are others.

Here’s the thing to remember. QR codes are mobile-centered, meaning that you need to have a good mobile strategy to maximize use of a QR code. Scan the QR on the right with your phone to get to this blog. You’ll see it’s designed for mobile so it’s easy to navigate with a phone.

The trouble with this code? The purpose. What am I asking people to do? Am I just passing along information – like a coded business card? Given that it’s easy and free to generate a QR code, maybe that’s enough. Personally, I prefer this type of object to offer some kind of payoff for users, like Starbucks’ use of the code to enable mobile payment.

Besides webpages, you can link codes to apps, Facebook pages, phone numbers, and text. It’s free so ultimately there’s no harm in playing around with QR codes. And, hey, maybe it’s worth the geek-cred to slap one of these things onto your site or ad even if the payoff you offer isn’t great right now.

As you experiment with QRs, let me know what you think. Is this going to play a role in the future of mobile advertising or is it a technological trinket?

Using WordPress to build a site

When I work with organizations, one of the first questions I ask them is “Do you have a website?” Common responses are:

“Yes, but we don’t know how to use it.”

“Yes, but we never have time to update it.”

Very rarely do I get a flat-out no. And yet, if you don’t update your site – whatever the reason – you may as well not have one. If your site is difficult to use or update, you need to get a new site…and a simple one.

Enter Yes, it’s a ‘blogging’ platform but blogs are pretty much websites and WordPress couldn’t make it easier for an organization to get a user-friendly website up and running in a matter of a few hours.

Why use WordPress?

  • It’s easy.
  • You can post via email or text – so if you don’t have time to log-in, you can just send your updates electronically.
  • There is a world of support at your Google fingertips. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. The millions of people using WordPress have no doubt already handled your issue.
  • It integrates well with Google Apps. If you are a nonprofit and not using Google Apps, you are missing the boat.

If you don’t have time to set up the site, email me. I can help you get it going and then turn over the keys to you to maintain.

It’s easy…really.

Small nonprofits can do branding, too

Ready to launch into social media or a website but stuck on where to begin?

Don’t believe the hype that you need to spend thousands on branding and identity exercises. Nonprofits that don’t have a lot of money can still do some branding-related exercises that will help leadership and staff begin to better understand their organization, how they talk about and represent themselves.

The exercises in this document by no means facilitates a full-blown branding project but hopefully will start some conversations and help you get on the right track. Beginning with branding.

What you do in your free time, tells me what tv show you will watch

According to this TED Talk, marketers would be better off asking people what they enjoy doing in their freetime than making overarching assumptions based on gender.