That was my favorite line from the panel I moderated at SXSW last March called the "Nonprofit Social Media Poetry Slam" (notes here). KD Paine, the Queen of Social Media Measurement, said it. KD Paine was also kind enough to send me my newest sticker - "Yes We Can! Measure Social Media." (She recently announced a new fee-based service called the Social Media Nonprofit Measurement and BenchmarkingReport)
Last night, I stumbled upon a #blogchat on Twitter about How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media hosted by Mack Collier with special guest Wendy Harman, Social Media Strategist at the Red Cross. Here's the transcript. KDPaine was there along with a bunch of other smart people. Some of my favorite tweets:
- What are the biggest hurdles in effective social media use by nonprofits?
i think the key is to listen and learn - find your niche. Look for people who care about issues you care about #blogchat i think the key is to listen and learn - find your niche. Look for people who care about issues you care about
2nd biggest hurdle is not giving in to the tendency to make your presence all about marketing instead of offering mission online
- How do you address resistence?
Look for the unique value your org provides and share that value, help others. Focus on benefits and dispelling fears. First step was showing them the existing conversation, which both educates about benefits and dispels fears at same time.
- How does the American Red Cross judge the effectiveness of its social media efforts?
our goal is to help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies using socmed tools, so look for anecdotes, engagement, some more traditional number crunching (like evaluating FB insights). As np we should concentrate on executing our mission. If offering unique value, others will support.
@kdpaine adds: give me enough data + I bet I could show "mission accomplished" fewer lives/homes/property lost :)
- Do you engage your supporters around specific fundraising goals?
I'm not personally huge on fundraising outright - I think an np shouldempower supporters to fundraise for it. Build engagement first. Use keywords to find people who care about issues ur org cares abt. Offer value, talk 2 them, you'll build community. Content and to invite people in rather than yapping at em and asking for $$. Offering value keeps people around more than begging
@kdpaine: Isn't the role of comms to fulfill mission, $$ raised is development, no?
@sarahmarchetti: @kdpaine slightly diff perspective since I was Development Comm, but I think that the whole org is responsible for FR in some way
@kdpaine: I agree, but many non-profits have pretty firm silos keeping the two apart.
- What has been your greatest challenge/success with the social media organizational use handbook? with your chapters and volunteers? http://bit.ly/HGkno
greatest success? it's pretty field-generated. They helped write it, they asked for it, so it reflects their needs.
greatest challenge? Getting some important groups to hop on board
- Can you imagine at time in the future when your board will govern the organization using social media?
Yes, but there is a lot of work on my part before that will happen
This morning Charlene Li released a report looking at social media engagement. What they found in a nutshell: Deep brand engagement with social media correlates with financial performance.
But even more interesting is that we also looked at the financial performance of the brands, grouping the companies with the greatest depth and breadth into a group called “Social Media Mavens”. These Mavens on average grew 18% in revenues over the last 12 months, compared to the least engaged companies who on average saw a decline of 6% in revenue during the same period. The same holds true for two other financial metrics, gross margin and net profit.
Note that we are not claiming a causal relationship — but there is clearly a correlation and connection. For example, a company mindset that allows a company to be broadly engage with customers on the whole probably performs better because the company is more focused on companies than the competition.
The report also looks at the Best Practices for engagement which include:
- Emphasize quality, not just quantity. Engagement is more than just setting up a blog and letting viewers post comments; it’s more than just having a Facebook profile and having others write on your wall. It’s also about keeping your blog content fresh and replying to comments; it’s building your friends network and updating your profile status. Don’t just check the box; engage with your customer audience.
- To scale engagement, make social media part of everyone’s job.
The best practice interviews have a common theme — social media is no longer the responsibility of a few people in the organization. Instead, it’s important for everyone across the organization to engage with customers in the channels that make sense — a few minutes each day spent by every employee adds up to a wealth of customer touch points.
- Doing it all may not be for you — but you must do something.
The optimal social media marketing strategy will depend on a variety of factors, including your industry. If your most valuable customers do not depend on or trust social media as a communication medium, or if your organization is resistant to engagement in some channels, you will have to start smaller and slower. But start you must, or risk falling far behind other brands, not only in your industry, but across your customers’ general online experience.
- Find your sweet spot.
Engagement can’t be skin-deep, nor is it a campaign that can be turned on and off. True engagement means full engagement in the channels where you choose to invest. Thus, choose carefully and advocate strongly to acquire the resources and support you will need to succeed. If you are resource-constrained, it is better to be consistent and participate in fewer channels than to spread yourself too thin.
I particularly like the point 3. And to bring it back to poetry, here's a couplet:
Social media may not be for you, but start you must
or you may get left in the dust.
And, I forgot to mention that I'm doing a chat for the Chronicle of Philanthropy on Social Media ROI Tuesday, July 21st at Noon EST/9 AM PST. Here's the information.