Entries in Social Networking (304)

Tuesday
Dec022014

Three Keys to Working with Crowds

Gathering crowds to help your cause is an essential part of working in a networked world. Crowds create capital, or “go-go juice,” that can include human connections, intelligence and expertise, resources like equipment and furniture, and, of course, money.

Ideas and ventures that would have been impossible when capital was scarce are now possible because of social media platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Creating capital is an essential part of what I call “Matterness,” the powerful force of mutual interest that happens when organizations and people work with one another rather than at one another.

Crowds can be difficult for organizations to work with because people in crowds aren’t trapped in databases or sitting quietly as an audience. People come and go as they please, not necessarily according to the wishes of organizations.  Here are the three essential steps for turning crowds into organizational go-go juice.

1. Understanding the Need

Successfully leading crowds takes clarity of purpose, intentionality, and some elbow grease. People need to be treated with dignity and respect, which means ensuring that their time and intelligence are respected and used well. By thinking clearly about why and how to engage crowds, organizations will turn some of these doers into donors, who are more invested in the organization and more likely to give over time.

2. Creating “No Fake” Zones

Crowd members want real, meaningful opportunities to help an organization. Fake requests like:  Send me money today, or my opponent will win and send your children to Russia for kindergarten!  do more harm than good. Fakery also include messages that look like they are from real people but are from black-hole email addresses like “no reply.” Social media are conversational vehicles. People are smart, they can see through artificial requests for help that are really just excuses to ask for donations and opportunities to capture contact information. Building trust with a crowd is essential to keeping people engaged longer.

3. Following and Leading. There are times when what an organization wants to get is different from what constituents want to give. When this happens it is smarter for an organization to become a follower rather than a leader. Organizations need to be on the lookout for crowds that form that can enhance their efforts — but beware, these crowds cannot be “owned” by organizations. Leaders need to focus on Matterness in these instances and find the sweet spot that exists between what crowds what to give and what an organization needs. It’s there, it just may take some conversations between the crowd and the organization for it to emerge.

*Allison Fine is the author of Matterness: What Fearless Leaders Know About the Power and Promise of Social Media. In addition, she is the author of the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit. Her blog, A. Fine Blog, can be found at www.allisonfine.com

Tuesday
Oct142014

Is SEO Dying, Or Do You Just Need to Revitalize Your Content?

SEO certainly has its critics. Some call it snake oil. But SEO is critical to your website, online advocacy, and online fundraising.

If your nonprofit is about to embark on a website redesign, a website audit, or even online content planning for year-end fundraising, it's important to come up with a content strategy that is tailored to your specific audiences. This also will benefit your site's SEO.

I'm going to highlight a few of the best content marketing strategies visualized in this infographic:


  • Develop a consistent tone, message, and personality for your brand. It's critical that the entirety of your online presence has consistent branding with the website. Branding social media outposts will provide a more seamless user experience as users move from the website to social media sites and back.

  • Headlines are everything. It's true, a headline can make or break whether someone will click through to read your content. One way to come up with great headlines is to brainstorm several headlines at once. I like to make a list of 10 to 15 potential headlines and circulate them among our team for feedback and suggestions. This may be time consuming, but it's worth it.

  • Don't just post...Engage! I've said it before (in Tips for Writing An Awesome Social Media & Communications Guide), social media is like a cocktail party, it's meant to be social. Don't just sit back and watch the comments roll in, engage and respond. Generate dialogues, encourage questions, and even keep notes about your audience's comments to use for future content.

  • Quality is as important as quantity. Well sort of! While quality is more important than quantity, quantity is also important. If your nonprofit has a blog or a tumblr and you don't have the staffing or resources to keep it updated (even if you've got 1-2 awesome posts), it might not be the thing for you. You don't have to be where everyone else is. You just need to be where your audience is. Your constituents will notice if you don't ever update your content. This is why it's important to create a content calendar that you use to regularly curate quality content. You can even check out these tips to rock your online presence.


What strategies resonate with you?

Sunday
Sep282014

Tricks and Tips to Use #Ello (With Screenshots)

Last week I joined Ello, a new social network that is ad-free and allows users to opt out of some data collection and tracking. Last week, Ello said that there were 31K invite requests per hour. Why is Ello sparking so much interest? Ello had great timing. Facebook and Twitter have been hit with different pockets of frustrated users.  For example, in September Facebook implemented a new policy that stated all user profiles had to have their real identity. This presented many issues for the transgender community, mental health providers who don’t want to publish this information, victims of stalking and abuse, etc.

Nonprofits have also become concerned about Facebook’s ever-changing secret algorithm and the pay to play presence it’s been building to strongly encourage all pages (including nonprofits) to start advertising if they want their FB Likers to see their content. Many nonprofits simply can’t afford to do this. But it’s not just FB that nonprofits are concerned about. Twitter has been experimenting with secret algorithms too and testing to see if popular content should be filtered to the top of users Twitter feeds. Pay to play could be way for Twitter to monetize.

Combine all of the above with the public’s concern over online privacy, and voila you have the perfect timing for a new social network that promises it will remain ad-free, cares about your online privacy and gives users the ability to opt out of some tracking, and has an impressive manifesto many people can get behind. 

I’ve have been on Ello via @womenwhotech for a few days and here’s what I have learned. It’s feels like a combination of Twitter (say hello and share what you are up to), Tumblr (longer form posts, photos, gifs), and Google+ (a bucket for friends and a bucket for noise).  It’s still in beta and run by a small team so it’s glitchy and the UX needs improvement. This is to be expected. Nonetheless, when people first join Ello they have found it frustrating to figure out how to do basic things like reply to comments.  So here are some tips and tricks to get you started (with screenshots).

 

Setting Up Your Profile

The round circle you see next to your @username will be your profile image. If you are looking to “brand yourself” then be sure this is a photo or image people will recognize. The image I use on Ellow below is the same one I use on Twitter with the @womenwhotech user name. The recommended size is 340 by 340. Note: See screenshot below where I use the red arrow to point to the profile image.

 

You will also notice a gray background where you can drag and drop or insert a large header/background image. The recommended size is 1800 by 1013. Note, in my screenshot below I have already uploaded a photo I shot of Georgetown University as my header/background.

Note: For both of these images, if you don’t upload the exact sizes I mentioned above, it can crop in weird places that you may find acceptable or not. You will need to play around with it, particularly if you are working with a logo. This came particularly frustrating when I started an Ello account for our web agency @RadCampaign so we could share fun photos and musings related to open source and philanthropy. When I uploaded our logo for the profile image it did not crop right at multiple sizes even 340 by 340. It still does not look perfect but I can live with it.

 

User Settings and Data Permissions

This was not the most intuitive to find at first. To locate these settings, ook for the small gray gear icon to the right of the black smiley face. In the screenshot below, I used a red arrow to point to the gear, which is also part of a set of 3 icons and the hamburger menu that serves as a toogle toolbar. Once you find the gray gear icon, click on it. It will bring you to your “profile” settings page.  Here you can input your bio info. 

Below the bio section you can change your notifications settings and data tracking settings. When you first sign up to Ello everything is set to YES. In the notifications section you have several options to make your profile viewable to people outside of the Ello network, allow other users to comment on your posts, and allow Ello to gather anonymous information about your visit, which they say helps make Ello better. Learn more. Note: See screenshot below.

 

 

How to De-Ello Your Inbox

If you have opted in to receive notifications, your email inbox will fill up fast. 

How to de-Ello your Gmail inbox via @dab

“Click on an email from Ello, click the More dropdown, select Filter messages like these, select Create filter with this search. Then select the last checkbox Categorize as: Social, and check the box Also apply filter to matching conversations.

You have now successfully moved your Ello notifications to your Gmail Social tab.”

If you are on a mac, drag an Ello email to your social tab. (Thanks for the tip @craftyreels).

 

Finding "Friends"

The "Discover" icon, which is the gray stick figure that is part of the 3 set of icons located to the right of the black smiley face is also supposed to land you on a page with the search tool. However, the search tool does not work at the moment. Note: See screenshot below using the red arrow that shows where the Discover tool is.

 

You have a few options to find people.

1. Use the Discover tool to find new and interesting people you have never met by scrolling through the list of users. I have done this and met some great people who have been sharing some content that really resonates with me.

2. Tell your community on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter what your username is on Ello with a link. Ask them what their user name and link is so you can follow them too.

3. Once you begin to connect with either new friends or old friends, scroll through their list of friends to either find more of your friends or meet new ones.

 

Posting Content

On Ello you can basically post a variety of content in the Omnibar that starts with a black rectangle bar that says “Say Ello.” Start typing away and the Omnibar instantly expands across the screen. Besides text, you can post photos, images like jpegs, animated gifs, Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud links, etc.

To Post Images: Beneath the gray Omnibar you will see two squares overlapping each other. Click that icon to upload images. Note: See screenshot below where the red arrow points to the square icon.

Formatting Content:  To bold or link content, select the text and a bar will popup with options to bold or hyperlink content. Note: See screenshot below.

Emoji Cheat Sheet: There are numerous and hysterical emjoi’s you can use on Ello.  Here’s a cheat sheet that @Scottbeale shared. 

When your content looks perfect, here's how you post it to your feed. Beneath the Omnibar, you will see a gray arrow located next to the gray X. Click the arrow and your content will post to your feed. Note: See screenshot below where I point to this.

 

Editing Content

If you posted content, but need to go back and edit it, no problem. First, go to your comment in your feed that you want to edit. Below the post you will see a few icons including the pencil icon. Click the pencil icon to edit your post. Note: See screenshot below where the red arrow points to the pencil icon.

Click the X (located next to the pencil tool) if you want to delete the post.

 

Commenting On A Post

Commenting on a post seems to be confusing people the most. It’s definitely been clunky at times. Here’s how it works. Underneath a users post you will see three gray dots. Click on those dots. A box will appear. This is where you enter a comment. It should auto-populate the username of the person you are replying to. Note: See screenshot below where the red arrow points to the three dots.

 

What Do The Numbers Underneath Each Of Your Posts Mean?

You will see three numbers underneath your post. The first number represents the timestamp - how many minutes/hours/days ago the post was published. The second number with the eye icon represents how many views the post received, and the third number with the three gray dots represents how many comments the post received. Note: See screenshot below with red outline around the three numbers.

 

Liking And Sharing On Ello:

Right now, you can’t like or re-share content automatically by other Ello users. You have to manually do this. I know it’s annoying, but remember Ello is in beta so they are still building out features. Here’s what I have been doing. Cut and paste the content that you want to share. Make sure you credit the Ello user whose content you are sharing. I have been using ReEllo via @username like you would do on Twitter as a RT. It was the first thing that came to mind when I wanted to share content by another Ello user. It seems Twitter has trained me. :) People are also using H/T for hat tip.

Another option is to click on the time stamp of the post that you want to share. This will give you a permalink. Frame the content you want to share and select the words you want to hyperlink using the permalink. Note: @ccarfi says this only works in the Omnibar and not comments on existing threads.

@Nicolelee on Ello posted on her Ello feed that she spoke with a couple of the co-founders who confirmed that there is a bookmarking feature in development. Here is what they said.

From Paul: Ello Beta has a bookmarking feature in development, which will allow Ello users to bookmark any post they like, with a separate feed so they can browse all the bookmarks they've ever made. This is a way to collect all the posts you like most of over time.

The working title for this feed is called the “Love” (as in, “I Love This”), but may be renamed by the time it is released — we’re just working on it now.

From Todd: This feature is evolving. We want to get it right. It will be two-way. This feature will be primarily focused on the person taking the action and secondarily on the person/entity receiving the attribution. We’re designing an experience less shallow and empty than the typical ‘like’ or ‘favorite’.”

 

How To See All of Your “Friends” Feeds

Click on the black smiley face.

 

How To Get Back To Your Own Feed

Go towards the top of the page and click on your profile image or username.

 

Keyboard Shortcuts

@teno found & shared they great keyboard shortcuts. On your/friends feed, with your Friends/Noise avatars in the left column, hit Shift+1 for a full screen of people. Use Shift+1 to toggle back and forth. You can drag people's avatars into the Friends/Noise boxes. (You can do this when your people are in the default column view also.) Hit the Right Arrow key from your /friends feed to hide your Friends list. This is a super clean view. Then it's nice to use Shift+5 to toggle a grid and list view of the feed. Use the Left Arrow to show your friends list again. If you're looking at your /friends feed, there's probably a bit of notification noise there ("Someone started following you"). Shift+0 will hide or show those.

 

Need more tips? Once you join Ello people will share all sorts of useful tips and we are al figuring this out together. Be sure and also check out their tips page here

Updated: October 1, 2014

Sunday
Aug312014

Best Times to Post on Social Media

If you are like most organizations, your staff wears many hats. If you are juggling several tasks including managing social media accounts, check out this data about the best times to post updates. However, before you dive into it, it's important that you remember to look at your own engagement and what the best times are to post for your own organization. Sometimes posting during the "dead zone periods" can be beneficial because you are not competing with all the noise. The best thing that you can do is to test it. 

 

Best Times to Post on Social Media:

Twitter  9am-7pm ET 
Facebook  9am-11pm ET 
LinkedIn After 5pm ET 
Tumblr   1pm-11pm ET
Instagram  9am-11pm ET
Pinterest  8am-12am and 4pm-6pm ET
Google+  9am-5pm ET

 

What are the best times you have found to post on social media?

 

Friday
Aug222014

Will Nonprofits Take SXSWi By Storm in 2015?

SXSWi is one of the biggest conferences for startups, technologists, and people who have innovative ideas that they think can change the world. But where do nonprofits and cause related startups fit into SXSWi? This year several nonprofits and leaders who are doing innovating work to create social change movements, submitted terrific panels in hopes of carving out a bigger track related to activism.

Check out some of the panels that could be featured at SXSWi if we rally together and vote for them by September 6th!

 

 

Why Failure Is a Dirty Word for Nonprofits

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/39063

 

Sex, Lies, and the Internet

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/33003

 

Beyond Email: How Modern Teams Master Communication

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/40589

 

Activism At Its Best: Drive Supporters To Do More

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/41471/ 

 

Blurred Lines: How to Engage Brand Super-Champions
Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/37716

 

Engagement Strategies for Niche Communities
Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/37990

 

Sync All Your Data (No, For Real)

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/36283

 

Keepin' It Real: Content Strategy on the Cheap!

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/41757

 

The Future of Infographics

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/42521

 

Growing an Education Innovation Community

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/38230

 

 

Is Social Good the Next Killer App? 

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/32981

 

Nonprofit Crowdfunding Bill of Rights

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/32927

 

Building an Army of Brand Advocates 

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/39274

 

The (Data) Science of Social Change 

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/40373

 

Synchronized Social: Collaborative Campaigns

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/41802

 

Meaningful Marketing: Working for the Greater Good

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/40429

 

Pushing the Envelope Forward: Latin@s in Tech

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/41530

 

New Models in Higher Ed: From Texas to Rwanda

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/34758

 

Data as Storytelling

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/38262 

 

Startups & The City

Vote Here: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/35709

 

Thursday
Jul312014

Infographic: 57% of American's Don't Trust Social Media 

If you knew that your donors and activists were very concerned about their privacy online, what would you do to better protect their personal data that you have stored in your databases? Well you better start thinking about it. Today, a new national poll was released that showed almost three-fourths of Americans worry about how much personal information is available online.

More than half of Americans also feel that they can't trust social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to keep their personal information, buying habits, and political beliefs confidential, according to the poll that my firm Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies, and Craig Newmark of craigconnects released.

According to the survey of 1007 people 18+, mistrust of websites and social media and concerns about privacy increase as people get older. People over 65 expressed the least trust in social media, and were most certain their data was being sold. It was this demographic who felt most strongly that privacy laws need to be strengthened.

As a nonprofit, it's critical that you're aware of these issues when collecting and using the data of your constituents.

The data from the poll shows very clearly that Americans feel manipulated and exposed by the websites they frequent. While that may not stop them from using Facebook and Twitter, or your website, for example, they are clearly calling for more safeguards around their personal data.

If you're collecting your audience's personal data, it's important that you're aware of how you're using it, the capacity in which you're using it, and clearly disclosing how the data is being used. It should not be buried in some legal jargon that real people can't understand.

Here are a few ways you can make sure you're respecting your constituents' privacy:

  • Fully disclose what you plan on doing with their data. How will it be used? Will any of the data be shared with 3rd parties?
  • Disclose what you will do to protect and secure their data.
  • Make sure you're honoring your Terms of Service, and make the language accessible to your audiences.

What else can you do to make sure that you're protecting your constituents data and respecting their online privacy?

Check out the full infographic, and survey data at www.onlineprivacydata.org.

Wednesday
Jul162014

How To Track Your Twitter Engagement

Nonprofits have been able to track gather important data about their audiences interactions with their website via Google Analytics. Facebook pages have also offered some insightful data on audience engagement. Twitter has been a bit late to the party, providing very limited data unless you invested in their ad platform. Just recently however Twitter rolled out their new Analytics platform, making it accessible to everyone. What will this mean for the nonprofit world, and will this change how we're communicating on Twitter?

Now people will be able to see what tweets are being seen by how many people, and how frequently their tweets are actually being clicked on, retweeted, or favorited.

If you haven't had a chance to look at the different analytic options, we'll give you a short rundown...

For your tweets, you can track:


  • overall impressions

  • engagements

  • engagement rate

  • link clicks

  • retweets

  • favorites

  • replies


For your followers, you can track:


  • growth

  • interest

  • geographical location

  • gender

  • the people your followers follow


While you're tracking your tweets and gauging what's resonating with your audiences, it's important to remember that vanity metrics aren't everything, and quite honestly, they shouldn't be your top priority. Your top priorities on Twitter should be about genuinely engaging your audience and moving them up the ladder of engagement. Social media isn't a broadcasting system, it's meant to be social, like a cocktail party.

 

Some people are concerned that Twitter is not what it used to be. This past January, Jenna Wortham said that social media "is fueled by our own increasing need for attention, validation, through likes, favorites, responses, interactions. It is a feedback loop that can’t be closed, at least not for now."

Do you think that the new analytics will only add fuel to the fire that we call validation?

Here are 3 ways that nonprofits can use the new analytics without giving into the vanity metrics:


  1. Don't obsess over every piece of data. Looks for overall trends.

  2. Use the analytics to determine what sort of content is resonating with your audience. What sort of content are you putting out to the Twittersphere that your audience really needs from you? Try to produce that sort of content once a day or a few days a week depending on your capacity.

  3. Use the analytics to supplement your realtime engagement, but don't get stuck in the numbers. Use the analytics to test how campaigns are running, or how hashtags perform, but then remember # 1.


What are your thoughts about Twitter's release of analytics to the public?