Thanks again, #BiolaSM, for the skype chat last week. As promised, here’s answers to your questions (the ones I missed, and additional thoughts to ones I’ve already touched on).
Two other posts worthwhile 6 must have traits in a social media community manager, and Notes from #blogbiz
From @zacfigueroa: “What are the current trends in NPO SM?” “What seems to be working best for organizations trying to boosts the presence?”
Trends: Viral video (think Old Spice), connecting with bloggers (taking them to the field), social partnership opps (Razoo, Crowdrise, Groupon…), social e-commerce (e-commerce Fb tabs), customized experiences (featured youtube pages, viral web experiences), social games (apps, Facebook games), LIVE events (think Charity water’s live well-drilling)….
What seems to be working for orgs boosting their presence: focused but wide-spread campaigns (end goal of increasing social media hits by utilizing print, web, email, and other efforts collectively), Facebook ads as a way to increase “like” counts, and including social plugins on your website (“like” buttons, share-capability, commenting).
From @kfish007girl: how do you get NPOs with mult. locations on the same page with SM & when there is no one who is current with SM? Step 1?2?3?
Step 1. Put the right person in the position to lead — someone that knows social media, who lives and breathes it, and can run with it.
Step 2. Evangelize — getting your multi-location org all on the same page is going to take an incredible amount of internal campaigning, some serious evangelism of your strategy (oh yeah, get your strategy and plan together, too).
Step 3. JDI (this is my colleague’s fave term, meaning “just do it”) — implement your strategy.
From @JaredCFenlason: in the NPO world how important is social media in telling your story as a org like world vision?
EXTREMELY important. For an org like World Vision, we are so used to corporate, controlled, “broad-casted” messages. Social media is not any of those things. It’s two-way conversation, it’s uncontrolled, it’s fresh… and the means that we have an opportunity to re-tell our story in a fresh way that gives up control of the message, and calls for conversation and dialogue. It’s a phenomenon in story-telling for us. And not only do we get to re-tell our existing story, but we get to tell the story of people behind the scenes (our staff around the world), and the story of our supporters, t00.
From @calvinnkimm: Question: What have been the cons of using social media?
Well, the “pros” outweigh the “cons” any day. But since you asked for cons….
…. lack of control to the message, reputation risks to your brand, lack of ability to be able to respond when needed, requires full time staff, dollar investments, mistaking it for what it’s not (it’s not a substitution, it’s not free, it’s not easy… the list goes on), putting your brand voice in the hands of the wrong people or type of person, using it too much as a marketing method, exhausting or annoying your supporters with too many messages or too many updates, risks of a fragmented “social voice”, too many tasks with not…… I’ll stop there:)
From @bryanwclark: How many of your followers on social media are actually involved in NPO? How do you get them involved?
There are hardly technologies right now that can connect your social media followers on one end to the actual donor database in the back end. So this is kind of an “unanswerable” question, since we don’t really know.
But there are ways to get more of your actual volunteers and supporters involved in your social media efforts. The key is to make it simple. Give them the tools (share-capability, like buttons, icons, clear messages), initiate some social-media heavy campaigns (things like user-generated viral video contests on youtube, blog and blogger challenges, tweetups….), and present your value-proposition (what’s in it for them) up-front.
From @kfish007girl: what are some good sources to refer NPOs beginning in Social Media to? Kind of like a social media manual?
The best sources to refer to are things like Mashable, Smart Blog on Social Media… there’s hundreds of blogs and other sources you can refer to. But your best “friend” as a NPO beginning in social media are the personal connections you have with other social media workers and personal experience of just digging in yourself, trying out new things, being willing to fail more times than you’ll succeed. No white paper or blog post can give you the knowledge that personal experience can give you. And when you’re unsure of something, your social media friends are just a tweet away.
From @zacfigueroa: “so now that you are integrating SM into your NPO have you seen a tangible ROI for the org? Higher donations, more donations, more volunteers?” As business like NPO in then end that is the true goal, right?
Sure, we’ve definitely seen an increase in donations, volunteers and particularly “user-generated content or endorsement.” There were, of course, a few particular events that compounded social media as a fundraising tool for NGO’s in the last 2 years (those events were the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and the more recent quake and tsunami in Japan). But I will forever fight the concept that ROI for social media only means money, or people. It doesn’t. It also means things like an increase in brand loyalty, decreases in customer service inquiries, donor satisfaction, brand mentions, increased efficiencies in other marketing or web efforts (like Search, email, and eNews), and donor education.
*A note to your second point… World Vision is, in every way, a business that has a non-profit status. We operate like a business, hire like a business, demand efficiency and “sales” like a business. It just so happens that our “product” is not one that is based on consumerism. Instead, its based on compassion, which, in many ways, makes business very difficult. (and a second note: I don’t believe the “goal” is every to be like a business. Rather the “goal” is living out and accomplishing your mission.)
From @BenjaminOtte: what social media tool makes the most sense for your organization? How do you leverage it effectively?
We’ve focused most of our efforts on Facebook, mainly because Facebook is the #1 social tool out there right now. As an organization of 3 million worldwide, we have to place our bets on the promising (and most widely-used) platform(s).
Leveraging it effectively is all in the messaging (content) and the way we, as an organization, choose to see Facebook. For example, if we choose to see it as something that lives alone, by itself, only a network out there that is separate from what we do everywhere else on the web… we will fail to utilize the power of Facebook. Instead, we’ve chosen to see Facebook as a tool we can use everywhere and for lots of different reasons. (e.g. “Like” buttons, share, plugins, commenting, etc…)
From @JaredCFenlason: What is one partner you wish world vision had? and why?
For the official blog record now… Lady Gaga. But a more realistic partner might be someone like Jon Acuff (mentioned below). You know who I realllllyyyy realllyyyy want as a WV partner… Vin Diesel, he’s charitable, not connected to any specific charity, and has almost 22 million “fans” on Facebook. He went to Haiti last year and is even doing some nice, family-friendly films lately (this is important for the WV audience). Perfect.
From @calvinnkimm: What are your short term and long term goals?
Short term: 1) Establish a baseline measurement/formula (most people call this ROI, but we’ll probably come up with a new name for our end-result by the time we’re done), and 2) get some new initiatives off the ground (like a “program” for bloggers, some initiatives that use location-based apps, mobile, and some other things… all coming, hopefully, soon…)
Long term: Change the way an organization like World Vision views new technology… the hope is we would begin to proactively approach new tech landscapes as opportunities, not re-actively as potential risks. Also, to really and truly forge a new way people can engage as humanitarians concerned for the well-being of the world’s people (like the idea of using social media for good, and not evil…).
From @ABrown1423: What sites do you recommend using to manage your Twitters and Facebooks?
I prefer to update Facebook manually, since Facebook allows for so many different kinds of updates – status, links, tags/mentions, publish pictures, publish notes…. I haven’t found a management tool that let’s you customize your updates as good as just doing it yourself. However, I’ve heard that Hootsuite is a great tool for managing multiple social accounts. For Twitter, I use Social Oomph right now (but not for any particular reason other than the fact that I inherited the @WorldVisionUSA and a plethora of other accounts from other colleagues who were already using Social Oomph)
PS: I am a huge fan of Tweetdeck for managing multiple Twitter accounts.
From @JaredCFenlason: can you tweet a link of john’s blog
From @calvinnkimm: Any prayer requests?
My social media prayer request: For distinct vision for our team and organization as we tip toe through the social media world. May we, instead, stomp where we need to stomp, skip where we need to skip, and make decisions that reflect stewardship, responsibility and innovation — all for the benefit of those in need.
My non-social media prayer request: There are humanitarian staff all around the world that need our prayers daily. They are working in places like Japan, torn from disaster, and Haiti, still torn from disaster… but also Afghanistan and Uganda and Cambodia and many others — places experiencing extreme drought, war, religious persecution, and disease among thousands of other issues. These humanitarian staffers dedicate their lives to chiseling away at the stone… literally one life at a time.