Entries in Social Networking (299)

Monday
Jan272014

Upworthy Type Headlines: To Like or Dislike?

Upworthy, a site that focuses on curating social cause related videos and content has been receiving a lot of media attention for changing how bloggers write headlines. In November of 2013 Upworthy traffic grew to about 87M unique visits, which was quite a drastic leap from less than 5 million a year ago, according to Quantcast. In December traffic dipped about 21% to 68M unique visits. These numbers are still quite respectable. But is this a signal that people are growing weary of the “and you won’t believe what happened next” headlines? And what does this trend mean for nonprofits?

Please do not run out and start using Upworthy like subject lines on your online advocacy and fundraising appeals. Just because this tactic works for Upworthy (who is driven by a ton of testing on their own website) does not mean it will work for your organization. Remember, you are not a viral news sharing startup. Just like you were never the Obama campaign when their fundraising tactics were all of the rage. Raise your hand if you adapted those tactics a few years ago and suddenly raised an extra few million dollars. Any takers?

However, trying to amp up your creativity with headlines and testing them to see if they resonate with your audiences is something you should always be investing resources into. And that is one of the key take-ways from Upworthy’s success. The startup is constantly experimenting and testing to see what headlines and messaging works best with their target audiences. And if you look at their website right now, you will find that some of their headlines are simpler and not the hyped up "and you won't believe what happened next."

What about Facebook?

Upworthy is a great example of how compelling content can generate a lot of shares and comments on Facebook too. Should your organization adopt a similar model and share popular memes and videos with your audience on Facebook to generate more engagement? You bet so as long as there is some connection to the issues you are working on. However, memes and videos should not be your only source of content. Drew Bernard over at ActionSprout likes to compare this content strategy to broccoli and cheese. You need to balance just the right amount of cheese (fun stuff) and broccoli (your engaging messaging and content) to get the perfect dish that everyone loves.

Has your organization tested Upworthy like subject lines or headlines? What have the results been?

PS: Be sure and check out this fun Chrome plugin called Downworthy. It changes viral headlines like ""Will Blow Your Mind" to "Might Perhaps Mildly Entertain You For a Moment". #SoAwesome

Monday
Jan202014

Social Media Stats You Need To Know

It's the end of January and that means organizations social media and marketing plans for 2014 are off to a running start. As you begin to execute your campaigns, take a look at these social media stats from 2013. The stats are impressive. For example, did you know that there are 250 billion photos posted on Facebook daily? Or that 28% of RT's on Twitter are due to the inclusion of "Please RT". Side note: please don't use this tactic in every tweet you send out, or else people will start to ignore you. Save it for the VIP tweets.

 

Wednesday
Jan082014

Webinar: Social Loves Email

Direct mail acquisition costs continue to rise and while most organizations have a social media presence, most aren’t using it to fundraise. The good old-fashioned email address is the secret to activating and cultivating these channels more effectively. Join Justin Perkins of Care2 and Roz Lemieux of Attentive.ly and Salsa Labs for this insightful webinar to learn why Social Loves Email and how a simple, effective strategy for getting the most out of integrated email, social media, and multichannel marketing will pay off with your donor outreach.

You will learn simple strategies and tools that will help you to:

  • Recruit more donors and super activists
  • Raise more money more efficiently
  • Save loads of time and budget
  • Simplify your multi-channel integration; and
  • Stretch your marketing efforts further.

When: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 2PM

RSVP: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=8cz32z8v9ppt

Wednesday
Dec182013

This is What Nonprofits Need More Than a Facebook Donate Button

Yesterday on Care2’s Frogloop, we discussed the value of Facebook’s new Donate button and its potential impact on nonprofits. If you did not get a chance to read it, I encourage you to, as there are some implications you need to be aware of. For example, since Facebook won't provide donor data to nonprofits this could easily lead to people receiving multiple donation solicitations when they just donated to the organization via Facebook, thus angering supporters, as Rob Manix, one of my colleagues at Rad Campaign stated yesterday.  

While adding the Donate button is a nice gesture towards the nonprofit community, what the nonprofit community really needs is a Facebook Ad Grants program, an idea that Beth Kanter and I discussed a few months ago. The program would function similarly to Google’s AdWords program for nonprofits.

A Facebook Ad Grants program would be extremely beneficial to the nonprofit community given Facebook’s recent priority of paid content over organic reach. Nonprofit organizations on a shoestring budget have put in a lot of staff time over the last few years building a community on Facebook organically. But many nonprofits can’t afford to pay Facebook to promote their important content and fear that the years of work they spent building their community will now go down the toilet. No one wants to see that happen.

The right thing for Facebook to do is to work directly with the nonprofit community, gather their input, and create a Facebook Ad Grants program to help nonprofits continue to thrive on Facebook.

Very soon, a few of us in the nonprofit community will be organizing an open letter campaign to Facebook encouraging them to start a Facebook Ad Grants program. In the meantime, please share this article and idea with your collegues in the nonprofit community. The hashtag we are using for the campaign is #FacebookAdGrants.

Here are some other articles that highlights the need for a Facebook Ad Grants program:

http://communityorganizer20.com/2013/12/18/need-more-than-facebook-donate-button

http://www.johnhaydon.com/2013/12/18/this-is-what-nonprofits-need-more-than-a-facebook-donate-button/

http://www.bethkanter.org/facebookadgrants/

Monday
Dec162013

Facebook's New Donate Button: Good or Bad for Nonprofits?

The nonprofit world was buzzing today over the announcement of Facebook rolling out Donate buttons to nonprofit organizations on pages and posts. This will be similar to the Facebook Gifts button that they have been testing with about a dozen nonprofit partners for the past year.

The big question on every nonprofit organizations' mind is, will this Donate button help their charity raise a decent amount of money? From all the donor data I have seen on Facebook, the answer is NO! I predict that the majority of nonprofit organizations won’t raise very much money on Facebook unless your organization’s mission is to protect cute wildlife and animals, or works on disaster relief during a disaster. Here’s why:

People Don’t Use Facebook to Donate Money

People use Facebook to share stories, photos, and videos with friends. They comment on posts and like status updates. It’s a social space to be, you guessed it - social. Giving money is not a very social activity on Facebook. And when it comes to nonprofits, your supporters want to be engaged and feel like they are helping you to achieve your mission. There is a time and a place for giving money, and Facebook is not really that place. BTW, you should check out the Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report, which historically shows that the majority of nonprofits have not raised a dime on Facebook. And remember the days of Causes on Facebook where many nonprofits struggled to raise money?

Facebook’s User Experience is Not Focused on Donation Conversions

There is a lot of design and user experience strategy that goes into raising money online. That’s why nonprofits spend a lot of time and resources on designing donation pages that focus on conversion rates. While it’s nice to see Facebook being charitable, having a little Donate button mixed in with all of their other features vying for users attention will negatively impact conversion rates.

Donations are not a priority for Facebook. What is a priority for Facebook is Wall Street, ad revenue, and paid partnerships. Facebook’s cluttered design has never been a good user experience, but nonprofits have muddled through it. After spending a few years building a community, now nonprofits are experiencing a decrease in organic reach as Facebook changes its algorithm to focus on paid content. Perhaps, in the future, Facebook will offer nonprofits paid options to better highlight the Donate button. However, the poor donation user experience still remains a large issue. 

No Access to Donor Data

Facebook does not plan on permitting donors to opt-in to have their information shared with nonprofits. Donors are the lifelines to nonprofits, yet nonprofits will not receive donors’ names, email, or other important contact information to continue cultivating these important people. This is problematic says Rob Manix, Senior Web Director of Rad Campaign and who works with me. "Many nonprofits dedicate considerable resources to track supporter’s multi channel donations and activities. Donor history is integral to strategically targeting advocates with relevant campaigns, avoiding donor fatigue, and stretching limited resources. Without this data the potential for multiple solicitations and angry supporters, is inevitable."

Why is Facebook doing this? They want all relationships to stay on Facebook.

It’s also not clear if nonprofits will be able to tell if donors “Liked” their page.

However, since Facebook is prioritizing revenue over community these days, I suspect they will offer paid options in the future for nonprofits to receive opt-in donor information.

If your nonprofit is interested in testing out the Facebook's new Donate feature, you can apply to be part of their program. However, my advice is not to get too excited about the this new feature. Experiment with the Donate button a bit, but do not turn your Facebook page into an ATM platform or your community will disengage.

Wednesday
Dec042013

New Studies Debate If Social Media Is Turning People Into Slacktivists

Nonprofits often question what kind of an impact social media has on donors. Does engaging with people on social media encourage them to donate money? Does it prompt people to make an extra donation in a year, or increase their financial contribution? In short, does having someone follow your nonprofit organization on social media mean that they are committed to your organization? Or are people “Liking” a nonprofit page on Facebook just as a way to show public support (“hey, look at me, I’m charitable”), but in reality they are not invested in the organization?

A couple of recent studies reveal some of these answers, but unfortunately they are contradictory. Let’s take a look at some of the data.

The Nonprofit Times cited a study during the 14th Annual Symposium for Nonprofit Professionals and Volunteers at the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management that concluded that social media users are quite active with nonprofit organizations.

The survey asked the following question:

“Which of the following actions did you take to support a charity or cause after engaging on social media?”

Check out the survey responses:

  • Donate money: 59%
  • Volunteer: 53%
  • Donate clothing, food or other personal items: 52%
  • Attend/participate in a charitable event in my community: 42%
  • Purchase a product to benefit the cause or charity: 40%
  • Contact my political representatives by phone, mail or in person: 25%
  • Organize an event in my community: 15%
  • Some other way: 2%

*Note respondents were able to check multiple answers.

However, according to the study The Nature of Slacktivism: How the Social Observability of an Initial Act of Token Support Affects Subsequent Prosocial Action, published in the Journal of Consumer Research and conducted by PhD student Kirk Kristofferson and professors Katherine White and John Peloza, “charities incorrectly assume that connecting with people through social media always leads to more meaningful support.”

“Our research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on.”

Could the difference in the results be that Kristofferson and team surveyed students and not charities' current social media followers? The study focused on asking students to show support for charity, such as “Liking” the charity page on Facebook, joining a FB group, signing a petition, or accepting a magnet or a pin. Next, they were asked to give money or volunteer. The survey found that the students who publicly supported nonprofits on social media, like Facebook, were the least likely to support the charity further, such as through volunteering, donating money, etc. But when participants supported a charity confidentially, such as signing a petition, they were more likely to donate money later.

Kristofferson said that social media is “making it easy to associate with a cause without committing resources to support it.”

He also adds, “If the goal is to generate real support, public facing social media campaigns may be a mistake.”

What are your experiences with your organization's social media followers? Do you feel that they are just as engaged as the people on your email list who are taking actions in a more private setting?

Sunday
Nov172013

Infographic: How Foundations Use Social Media

While the majority of nonprofit organizations have a social media presence, only 45% of foundations use social media. The Foundation Center surveyed over 1,000 foundations across the U.S. to dig deeper into what’s trending with foundations and social media. My firm Rad Campaign had an opportunity to dig into the survey data and team up with the Foundation Center to produce an infographic that reveals some interesting trends. Check out the highlights below.

Which Types Of Foundations Are Using Social Media?

  • 88% of community foundations
  • 55% of corporate foundations
  • 34% of family and independent foundations

What Social Media Channels Are Foundations Using?

Foundations that use social media prefer these channels:

  • 65% use Facebook
  • 40% use Twitter
  • 32% use YouTube

71% of Foundations Have No Formal Social Media Strategy

Yes, you read that right – very few foundations have actually taken the time to develop a formal social media strategy. I found this statistic quite surprising and alarming because foundations are increasingly requiring grantees to use social media to raise awareness about their nonprofit organization and foster community. But how can foundations properly evaluate nonprofit’s social media usage, if the majority of foundations aren’t using social media themselves or don’t have a formal social media strategy?

Majority of Foundations Using Social Media Say It’s Useful

On a more positive note, 61% of the foundations using social media said that it’s been very useful or somewhat useful in furthering their work.  And 74% said that social media is useful in furthering philanthropy.

The infographic also highlights foundations that are using social media effectively, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Woods Charitable Fund.  Be sure and also check out the social media staffing survey data.

You can view the full infographic below or on Glasspockets.org.