Entries in Social Networking (290)


Tricks & Treats for Nonprofits to Spark Action This Halloween

Tis the season for candycorn, caramel apples, and costumes. It’s also a great time for nonprofits to host a contest or run a Halloween campaign focusing on one of your issues to enage your constituents before launching into the holiday season and the year-end fundraising. Did you know that 30% more people enter promotion campaigns at Halloween than on non-festive days of the year? It'd be great to see how other holidays compare. Do you think that Valentine's Day and Mother's Day get a similar bump? What times of the year have you gotten the most traction?

I found this infographic from Antavo that talks about Halloween contests that involve your constituents' costumes, their pumpkin carving skills, their screaming abilities, and their pets (because 1/5 people dress up their pets).

While the ideas in this infographic are geared toward Facebook contests, you can repurpose these ideas across social networks, and you can structure them as contests or campaigns. These contests and campaigns can be tailored for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and any other network that your organization is social on.

This is a creative way to foster discussions with your community and keep them engaged. You can also host a themed pumpkin carving contest that is connected to one of the campaigns you are working on.  For example, if you work on food issues, you can start a recipe contest for the scariest looking food. People are already on a roll, just search "Halloween recipes" on Pinterest.

The National Zoo hosts an annual Boo at the Zoo campaign, which has raised a lot of money for the nonprofit.  The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has used Halloween to promote their clean energy campaigns in the past, and to talk about the Most Fascinating Things About Halloween's Scariest Creatures. Halloween is a chance to put a spin on the information that you diseminate on a regular basis, and to more readily grab your constituents' attention. Goodwill SoCal is currently asking people to enter their one-of-a-kind Goodwill Halloween costumes. They're running the contest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If people enter on Facebook, they also have to Like Goodwill's Facebook page.

One way to ask people to enter a contest or engage in conversation about a campaign is through the use of hashtags. Make sure to note that people who enter a contest through a social network need to make sure that their entry is public. Even if they're using the hashtag, if they aren’t posting publicly (users need to look at their privacy settings), their entry won't be counted. This is particularly true for Instagram.

Take a look at the infographic, and see if it helps you get any ideas for your organization.

What Halloween contests and campaigns has your nonprofit hosted before, or do you plan to host? We'd love to hear.



The New War on Social Media Vanity Metrics

If you manage social media for your organization, you probably face incredible pressure to show growth and success. You may use free or paid tools to show numbers such as growth in followers, Likes and shares, RT’s, and sentiment based on secret algorithms by computer programs. But are these stats meaningful? Do they really give you the full picture of how your organization is connecting with your constituents and moving them up the engagement ladder? Do these stats show your boss about how your organization is meeting its mission and making an actual impact? NO! That’s why you need to change the way you measure social media and declare a war on vanity metrics.

Why is Social Media Data Important?

Last week during the Salsa Conference, I was asked this very question, why is social media data important - by Adrianne Burke, of Salsa Labs, during our panel Measuring Your Social Media.

As nonprofits organizations, your ultimate goal is to fight for social change and mobilize people to take action.

Social media is just one of several channels that you should be using to connect with constituents, build community, and mobilize people to work toward your goals.

You need concrete social media data to determine your impact through social media. The data you should look at is:

  •  Are people taking action on your issues?
  •  Are people signing up to volunteer?
  • Are people sharing your content with their friends and inspiring them to get involved with your organization?
  • Are you developing strong enough relationships where you can cultivate these people and turn them into donors down the road? 

What are the Best Tools for Collecting Data?

  1. The human brain is the best analytics tool. (Note, I borrowed this from Paull Young who heads up digital at charity: water). Don't just rely on tools and expect them to give you the full picture. For example, the only real way to measure sentiment and how people are feeling about your campaigns, your content, your work, and your impact is to analyze the conversations yourself. What are people saying to you on social media channels? Is it positive? Is it hostile? Is it neutral? Who is saying these things? Your constituents? Trolls? Bloggers? Track these conversations each week and put them in a spreadsheet; this will allow you to track your growth over time. You will also be able to clearly see what is not working and address it head on.
  2. Focus on connecting all of your key data from multiple channels to create a true picture of your overall performance. For example, look at your Google Analytics to give you an understanding of your website traffic and referrals. Where are people coming from? Is it FB? Is it through online ads? Your email appeals? What are your bounce rates, time spent on site, etc?
  3. When you have content to promote that links back to your website or advocacy action, set up unique source codes or short codes for each social network and channel so that you can track where people are coming from. Look at your CRM stats to find out conversion rates across different social media platforms and channels.
  4. If you are looking for a paid tool, Sysomos is a decent online media and social media analytics system that captures organizational mentions in online media and blogs, and on social media networks. It will also provide a break down of what content spiked on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook. But don’t rely on this, or any one tool, to give you the complete picture of how you're performing on social media.

Should you Care About Reach, Engagement, or Fan/Follower Count

Of course you want to be growing month to month, but your organization should not be so obsessed with numbers. It’s about quality, not quantity. It's much better to have 5,000 committed people on Facebook who want to help your organization meet your mission, take action, volunteer, or donate money than 50,000 people who just “Liked” you on FB but really aren't interested or invested in your organization. From the data I have actually seen on several FB pages, the more people who “Like” a page, the less people who are actually engaged with it.

So, what exactly is it that you should be focusing on? Here are more meaningful metrics to focus on that I've written about here on Frogloop. These are the metrics that should resonate with senior leadership a lot more, because ultimately you are showing them a return on investment that is equal to your organization’s actual impact.

Focus on Target Audiences
Are you fostering meaningful conversations with target audiences? Who is talking about you, and are you talking back?

Focus on Engagement That Connects to Mission
Are you measuring engagement based on your organization’s mission and key goals? Or are you resorting to vanity metrics that actually have nothing to do with your mission and the impact you seek to have?

Focus on Commitment and Conversion Rates
Do people feel committed to your organization and the work you do? Are you moving people up the ladder of engagement and getting them to take an important action on behalf of your organization because they feel passionate about your mission? 

Focus on Influence and Trust
Do the people you seek to reach look to your organization as a leading authority? Do they come to you first for the latest information and resources, and do they trust your organization? 


Study: Photos Generate More Retweets on Twitter

Past studies have said that sharing photos on Facebook sparks engagement. According to a new study by Dan Zarrella of Hubspot, sharing photos on Twitter generates significant retweets too. Zarrella analyzed close to 500,000 tweets and found some interesting data.

Tweets that had photos and used Twitter’s own image uploading system were retweeted 94% more then if users uploaded photos by another 3rd party system such as Twitpic, which experienced a 64% retweet rate.

As some of you know Facebook and Twitter have been duking it our for years over becoming king of the social networks. After Facebook purchased Instragram, Twitter no longer provided access to users through their API. So it was no surprise to see tweets that included photos with Instagram links were 42% less likely to be retweeted. And Tweets that included Facebook images links were 47% less likely to be retweeted.

In short, photos appeared to increase retweet rates, unless the product was owned by Facebook. Sometimes I feel like 5 year-olds run these companies and who can't figure out how to play together on the playground. But I digress.

Check out the graphs that Zarrella shared based on his analysis.



Which Social Media Platforms Are Worth Your Time and Energy?

One of the questions I'm asked often when I speak at conferences is which social media platforms should our organization invest staff time and resources in? My response is "where is your community hanging out." This requires organizations to research the answer since every community has different preferences.

One good place to start looking at this data is to take a look at the demographics of different social networks. Realtime Report does a great roundup of the latest social media stats every couple of weeks. I also found this infographic that provides an overview of some useful stats to check out.



New Study: Facebook Hashtags Decrease Engagement

When Facebook launched hashtags many people questioned how useful this feature was going to be. Facebook assumed by rolling out hashtags, that organizational and brand pages using hashtags would receive increased exposure from other brands and organizations who were using the same hashtags.  

However, according to a new study by EdgeRank Checker posts with hashtags on Facebook don’t have as good reach as posts than those without. Edgerank reviewed more than 500 Facebook pages and 35,000 posts. The study found about 6,000 of the posts contained hashtags and these were the same posts that had a decrease in engagement per fan. Organic reach was slightly impacted negatively too.

The study also examined if there was a benefit for Facebook Pages with larger audiences (100K+ page Likes to 1M) that used hashtags. But once again, the study showed that not even the Facebook Pages with the largest audiences were benefiting from hashtags.

The leads of the study said they were surprised to see that hashtags on Facebook did not even have a positive impact on viral rates. “This is a surprise for us, as we would have been certain that using a hashtag would have caused an increase in Viral Reach, even if it were a small increase.”

The results from the study are not surprising. People use Facebook very differently then they use Twitter, where hashtags are popular to follow news and trending topics on breaking information or pop culture. For example, on Twitter, “using a hashtag typically resulted in roughly double the likelihood of being ReTweeted. Over 70% of the brands experienced an increase in RT’s when using a hashtag versus not using one,” said the study.

Facebook is more personal. Many people use Facebook to connect with friends and family. They also use it to connect with organizations or brands they support. People visit these FB Pages when they are prompted by a post in their newsfeed, an email alert, or FB ads. But people aren’t coming to Facebook to look at what’s trending in the news – unless it’s their friends or family posting the news often accompanied by commentary.

What’s your experience using hashtags on Facebook? Do the results surprise you?


5 Examples of Organizations Who Were Tactful or Tacky on 9/11

Dealing with tragedy is not just difficult for people on a personal level, but it’s also hard for nonprofits and brands that want to show their support without appearing opportunistic. Many organizations and brands wrestle with this every year when it comes to the anniversary of 9/11.

Yesterday many organizations chose to post images and messages about 9/11 to their website, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Others chose to remain silent. In my book, this is personal. Do what you think is right. But it’s worth noting, how quickly things can go wrong when your organization uses tragedy as an opportunity to promote its brand. It’s tacky and offensive. And your community will be very vocal about it.

Take a look at these brands that mistakenly thought they were honoring 9/11. Who runs these marketing teams? I would like to know how senior leadership at some of the biggest companies like AT&T and Marriott could think that these examples below were a great way to honor the victims and the fire fighters, police officers, and volunteers who helped saves lives on 9/11.

ATT&T's Product Placement

AT&T shared this photo - a product placement of a smartphone with text above that said “Never Forget.” Did they mean “P.S. never forget AT&T, the phone company?” People were so outraged by AT&T’s insensitivity that they removed the photo after about an hour.

Marriott Offers Free Coffee and Mini Muffins for 30 Minutes

Over at Marriott in San Diego, marketing was feeling generous. They offered guests free coffee and mini muffins from 8:45 AM to 9:15 AM in their lobby “in remembrance of those we lost on 9/11/.”

Marriott eventually responded to the public criticism with the following:

"We apologize and understand why some people may have misunderstood the intent of the offer," Marriott Hotels said in a statement. "We are reminding our hotels to use discretion and be sensitive when remembering major events such as 9/11."

So clearly these opportunistic and insensitive approaches are the wrong way to remember such a painful and tragic day and honor the people who helped save so many lives. But there are many nonprofits who did it right that these brands can learn from.

Thank You from IAVA

This is a powerful image from IAVA with two simple words. Thank You!

Remembering the Red Crossers

Ok so the Red Cross maybe promoting themselves in this Facebook post, but that’s ok they were a key responder. The comments from their community are incredibly supportive. People also relayed stories of waiting in line for hours to donate blood at one of the local Red Cross affiliates in New York.

Man in the Red Bandana

I didn’t share very much yesterday, but one video that really resonated with me was the story of a young man, Welles Crowther, who sacrificed his own life to save at least 12 other people in the World Trade Center that morning. Interestingly it was produced by ESPN.


Infographic: 8 Effective Social Media Strategies 

Even though social media has been around for several years, many organizations have not adapted a formal social media strategy. Having a social media strategy is important to measuring its impact on your organization and the community you serve. 

If you are just starting to map out your social media strategy, check out this great infographic I found on socialmediaexplorer.com that highlights 8 strategies for you to consider. One of my favorite suggestions is "How will you be human?" You may think "oh that is so basic." But apparently it's not basic because so many organizations are actually NOT social on social media. Instead they use it as a platform to promote factsheets, blog posts, press releases, etc. Broadcast communications does not build community. But these social media strategy tips will definitely help you engage your community more effectively.