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« WeAreMedia: The fun continues into the fall! | Main | Predicting the Future of Social Media and Fundraising ... »

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Ben Martin, CAE

Beth, I definitely agree with the listen first mantra:
http://caeexam.blogspot.com/2008/02/antisocial-media-why-most-associations.html

At my nonprofit, we're making converts through social media. Here are two examples of how listening first paid off:
1. Probably 75% or more of the Twitter users on this list would not be registered for our convention if not for our social media efforts: http://www.varconvention.com/why-var-members-really-come-to-convention-the-twitterazzi/

2. Three new additions to our Leadership Academy are social media mavens: http://varbuzz.com/leadership-academy-class-of-09-anyone-you-know/

Trish

Our presence on social media sites seems to be the number one referral with twitter coming in first and MySpace second. Social media has also been huge for us whenever we launch a new support project or campaign. Our recent Operation Soldier Care received over $3100 in contributions just from our social media contacts. That's huge for us.

Our presence on twitter can be found at @MailOurMilitary, @eMOMs for our feed and @Dayngr

Beth Kanter

Trish,

Can you tell me a specific story about how you used a listening tool - like technorati, google alerts, or twitter search - and how that paid off for you?
Thanks

Beth Kanter

@Ben can you share a story or two about how used listening tools to get these news prospects? I'm talking about technorati, twitter search, RSS reader, google alerts,etc

Trish

Beth,

Absolutely! We've used twitter search and tracking along with google alerts to listen when people have had questions or needed information on military/veteran topics. We've then responded to those folks with the answers they were looking for. In most cases, those people then turned into followers or members. That's an amazing payoff.

Danielle

This was a fantastic post. I think listening is the most effective first step you can take when it comes to getting started and learning from the community. I haven't stopped listening and because of that I haven't stopped learning!

Jennifer Caleshu, Bay Area Discovery Museum

We use RSS to track reviews on sites such as Yelp and trip advisor. We also watch for del.icio.us saves using RSS, and we use tweet scan to track tweets that mention us as well. With yelp, we use their "compliment" feature to thank reviewers for their post (positive or negative) - if we weren't using RSS, we'd have to remember to check it... and tracking the number of del.icio.us saves is a nice metric to know how we're doing as well.

Beth Kanter

Jennifer - thanks for your story .. can you remember a specific review or situation where thanking the compliment lead to purchasing a membership or donation or something else? Also, how do u handle negative comments?

Jennifer Caleshu, Bay Area Discovery Museum

I don't know if we've seen specific reviews translate into memberships or donations - though I've seen updated reviews on our yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/bay-area-discovery-museum-sausalito) where someone has reviewed us, then later updated it to say they bought a membership. Negative reviews still get a thanks for taking the time to write - and if I can, I try to address the issue in a low-key but specific way in the 'compliment' feature, not publicly by posting a review back, of course. The nice thing about yelp is that people try to help each other out - and tend to write about other reviews if they disagree with a negative poster. We're fortunate to be pretty well-liked, so it doesn't come up too much.

Beth Kanter

jon, your org is: YSA.org

Ben Martin, CAE

@Beth - When I first started this job, nobody anywhere cared to keep tabs on who the bloggers in our space were. Nobody cared to engage them in Facebook. Nobody cared to find them on Twitter. I was fortunate enough to come in at a time when social media was really taking off in our industry. With some background in social media, a lot of luck, and a lot of hard work, we actually became like the social media hub for our constituency. We're basically at the center of the social media scene for our constituents (but not in a controlling or middleman type of way). We nurture our online communities, organize meetings of our social media types, and try to give them greater exposure throughout the industry. Now I basically know all of the players, and I've helped introduce them to the others. I use a bunch of techie tools to stay abreast of everything happening in our community's social media space: Twitter search alerts, Google search alerts, Technorati alerts. But the best way to do it is, as you say, by listening (online, by phone, and in person too).

For specific stories of how social media paid off for us, check out this article about our efforts that was recently published by Associations Now. You'll read about two members that were turned around by our social media and listening efforts: http://www.asaecenter.org/PublicationsResources/ANowDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=35071

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