More than the images that it is so well known for, Instagram makes imagery engaging, evoking primal emotions – such as humor, concern, awe, or intrigue.
Instagram is another platform with which to work with nonprofits. With most users being of a younger demographic, Instagram will very likely reach many subscribers and members that other forms of social media. currently does not reach. More than 500 million people have an Instagram account and 59 percent of online adults ages 18-29 use the network. More than 300 million of them use it daily.
What makes Instagram different from social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter is the way people use it.
Twitter is a tricky to work with due to the limitations of the media. Tweets are limited to 240 characters, meaning your message must either be brief and to the point, or split over multiple tweets. In addition, there is no tried-and-true formula for creating the perfect tweet. Your audience may respond to content that another group’s audience may not. The best judge of audience response is likes and retweets, with the latter helping spread your message to others who might not be subscribed to your feed.
Find Your Voice
It is best to develop a distinct voice for your your organization, allowing tweets to be differentiated from the rest. Find a voice that works for your organization, your follower, any members of your organization, and so on. Just remember, social media is about trial and error. Try something, look at how people react, adjust, and try again.
Tweets that work well tend to:
- Have a personal, human voice.
- Contain interactive media (memes [material – such as images or snippets of text, that is rapidly passed around the internet], photos, vines, videos, links).
- Provide updates of real interest to followers.
- Start a discussion among followers.
- Inspire the readers with compelling and inspiring quotes
In order for tweets to reach as many people as possible, some general rules of thumb apply:
- Keep your tweet at 100 characters or less.
- Use no more than two hashtags per tweet (Hashtags are keywords related to the topic or theme of your tweet. A hashtag is marked with the pound sign (#) before the word or phrase.)
- Tell your followers to re-tweet (or “pass it on” as we say).
- Tweet during business hours and on weekends
- Ask service leaders to tweet to their audience for you.
An active Facebook page creates opportunities for new people to discover your organization, and can serve as a path for connecting subscribers with new content being offered by your organization. People who “like” your page may see your posts in their News Feed when they visit Facebook. They can then like and share your posts with others, distributing your message to those who are not currently part of your page. At the very least, a business-centric Facebook page can contain contact information allowing visitors to find your online presence and store.
When to Use a Facebook Page?
A Facebook Page is ideal for organizations wishing to expand and connect with the ever-growing global network of Facebook users. For many non-profit organizations, having a single Facebook page helps people find, and stay up-to-date with, a unified voice and message.
What is a Facebook Page For?
A dedicated Facebook page can inform visitors of your organization’s message, relevant news items, developments within your organization, new products, and links to news items of interest to you and your subscribers. It allows you to respond in real time to developments around the world — offering your thoughts, opinions, and reassurances on a variety of subjects.
We Have a Page, Now What?
Creating a business-centric Facebook page is simple, as it only requires the following:
- About – Give people a quick preview of what your organization is about and what its message is.
- Profile Image – Help people recognize your organization when they receive a post from your page in their News Feed.
- Videos – Present infomercials, advertisements, personal messages, breaking news, and the like in either in audio-only formats (thus preserving anonymity) or in full audio-visual releases.
- Events – Your page is a great way to direct visitors to an online calendar that indicates when major events involving your organization will occur.
- Notes – A section that can be used for longer messages or statements.
Verified Facebook Business Page
If your organization qualifies, you can be eligible for a Verification Badge, which would tell your followers that any content being posted is official and from your organization itself. In addition, a verified page will show up higher in search results to attract more visitors.
Posting to Your Facebook Business Page
The primary communication channel on Facebook is through posts from your organization. This is the easiest and simplest way to contact followers. The actual posts themselves are simple to create – your updates can be about anything you think subscribers would be interested in. After you have published your post, Facebook gives the option to:
- Give Important Posts More Attention.
- Hide a Public Post from Your Timeline so not visible to the public.
- Delete a Post from Your Page.
Video on Facebook
Video posts perform well on Facebook and are an effective way to create a visual connection between the information presented and subscribers. More than 65% of all video views are happening on mobile devices as people turn to Facebook at different times and places throughout the day.
If your organization has a YouTube channel, be aware that videos uploaded directly to Facebook have proven more successful than those linked to other video players. Part of the reason is that videos uploaded directly to Facebook fill the entire width of and play directly in one’s News Feed, offering a seamless viewing experience. Directly upload videos also autoplay, making them more eye-catching than a video thumbnail. If you link to a video hosted on another site like YouTube, the link appears with a small thumbnail from the video.
Control your Facebook Business Page Content
In the Settings section, you have control over your page and the way your content appears. You have general controls for page and post visibility, whether people can post and/or comment on your page, and who can make changes to your page. You can also control the apps you use on your page, and create posts from your organization’s email.
Achievement: A Non-profit Facebook Page Success Story
Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Campaign Goals: The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. The Facebook campaign aimed to recruit participants for the walk, as well as fundraising for the organization.
Impact: Using Facebook, the Alzheimer’s Association organized and rallied supporters from across the country to its yearly fundraising efforts.
The Alzheimer’s Association Facebook page directed users to the Alzheimer’s Association website in order to create awareness about the Walk. During the 2015 Walk season, nearly one-quarter of overall traffic to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website was referred from Facebook. Facebook was a significant source of referral traffic for online registrations.
Based on anecdotal evidence, members often want to help, but do not always know , while those seeking help or additional information may not necessarily know where and how to find out it. By creating a Facebook page and offering information about specific ways members can subscribe, serve, and support your organization, they will know more, and what they can do to share your message.
One-and-a-half billion people come to YouTube every single month. That is the equivalent of one in every five people around the world. YouTube will enable your nonprofit organization to reach members of this large and passionate audience the world over. YouTube’s built-in tools will help improve your video’s performance and subsequently allow you to connect with even more viewers.
- Engage the Next Generation: YouTube reaches more 18 to 49 year-olds than any cable network in the US, with YouTube’s fastest growing demographics being adults aged 35+ (40%) and 55+ (80%). YouTube is where today’s most influential audience goes to learn, laugh, and be inspired every day, with Millennials preferring YouTube over traditional television by a 2-1 ratio.
- Create Deeper Engagement: YouTube is the place where the most video viewing occurs every day. On average, YouTube viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices, meaning that unlike passive viewership, viewers are much more likely to deeply engage with the message presented.
- Spark Action Through Empathy: YouTube’s easy-to-follow explainer videos assist and encourage involvement and action.
YouTube Nonprofit Program Overview
The YouTube for Nonprofit Program gives nonprofits access to unique YouTube features to help connect with subscribers, members, and others who will be interested in your brand and message.
Take advantage of powerful tools like G Suite for Nonprofits (a cloud-based productivity suite that allows real time collaboration from anywhere in the world) or YouTube for Nonprofit Program (a suite of tools allowing for optimization of video content, dedicated technical support, and other features).
In addition, your organization will have access to:
- YouTube Creator Academy lessons
- “Link Anywhere” Cards
- Earlier Access to YouTube Spaces
- YouTube for Nonprofits tools
- Your cause may be featured in Impact Lab
- Dedicated email support
Google Grants can bring greater visibility to your organization, resulting in more subscriptions, more service involvement, and a wider awareness of your organization’s brand and message. This happens because Google Grants will display your organization’s ads at the top or bottom of the search results page when people search for terms that relate to your organization.
“…it has helped us reach thousands of supporters around the country, helping us effect change through awareness.” – Ping Lo, The Fred Hollows Foundation
Insights into Your Analytics
Google Grants gives you access to in-depth analytics tools. The more you know about how people are coming to and using your website, the better you can adjust your approach to connect with those people. Analytics will show you which pages are performing well and which are confusing.
Profound and Simple
Even if you are new to Google Grants it is easy to launch effective campaigns, with custom messages crafted specifically for your nonprofit organization. Google Grants offers a range of methods to create campaigns, from Google Grants Express that will automatically manage your ads for you, to a more traditional Adwords approach where you have total control.
Google Grants Success Story: Make a Difference (MAD)
The mission for Make a Difference (MAD) was to increase awareness of children in orphanages and street shelters. MAD was established in 2006, and has operations in 23 cities in India. The organization is based out of Bangalore, India and empowers children to discover their true strengths and unleash their full potential. MAD provides creative learning spaces for these children and works to improve the quality of their education and career opportunities.
To reach their goals, MAD used Google Grants to recruit passionate volunteers that can make a one-year commitment to the organization, raise awareness, drive online donations, and identify and prioritize locations for international expansion.
Google Grants had a tremendous impact on MAD’s growth. Data showed which cities and countries had the highest interest in MAD, and the organization used the data to identify where they should expand. In addition, it allowed them to build a network of volunteers that they would not have been able to reach through traditional methods. In the end, approximately 30% of their website traffic came from their new efforts.
Everyone tells you your small or medium sized business MUST be on the social media channels. There are a growing numbers of channels, each of them becoming increasingly important in its own way.
So you’ve signed up for the four best-known social media channels:
You’ve written (or had someone else write) a blog post, and now it should be posted on all four channels. There! Done. Right? (more…)
A new year is upon us, and with it comes those pesky resolutions. Join a gym. Quit smoking. Eat less cheese. Eat more cheese. Whatever your intentions, it’s time to make them a reality and start the year off right.
That said, most New Year’s resolutions fail miserably. So why not choose a resolution that’s actually doable? One that will increase credibility and visibility and ultimately boost sales?
Here are 4 social media resolutions you’ll actually want to keep:
1. I will write more high quality, original content. And then I will share it.
Google loves fresh content. Loves it. And so do your readers! Compelling, unique content is the foundation for a solid online presence. It’s what makes the internet tick.
That said, make it your goal this year to sit down and produce. Write better blogs. Write more blogs. Write website content. Make videos. Create visuals. Create interviews. Write things people actually want to read, so when you share them on social networks they’ll be shared and re-shared, increasing your SEO, your traffic and ultimately your sales.
2. I will learn to love Google+.
Despite the hype, businesses have been slow to embrace Google+. Whether they deem it too complicated, too unnecessary or too different (from Facebook, natch), they’re missing out on one of the most valuable social platforms around.
The truth is, Google+ affects your business whether you’re signed up or not. When your customers search on Google, your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, may show up on the right-hand side of the results when relevant to a customer’s search. Relevant posts, photos and videos can also show up within search results for your page’s followers. And if you’re not signed up? Well, you won't have all of this tasty exposure. Sign up immediately and reap the benefits of this SEO bonanza.
3. I will network with the social media community, both online and off
Here in Victoria, we’re lucky to have an incredibly active social media community. Not only do we interact online, but we also hang out at countless real-world events, from Social Media Workshops and Camps to Tweetups and Twestivals. Heck, mayor Dean Fortin even signed an official document proclaiming June 30th as “Social Media Day.”
When you take the time to cultivate meaningful offline relationships with social media movers and shakers—relationships that consist of more than just retweets and likes—you’ll take your online presence to the next level. In addition to learning tips and tricks from the best of the best, you'll increase your business exposure, boost your credibility and maybe even transform followers into customers. You’ll have the chance to help and be helped, and solidify your brand as a dynamic, informed and engaged member of the community.
4. I will respond to all comments in a timely manner (even if they’re negative)
Treat comments as a good thing, even if they’re not what you want to hear. After all, comments are evidence of community, and community is what will propel your business forward.
Take the time to individually respond to each person, spending extra time turning the negative experiences into positive ones. Just don’t forget that some commenters are trolls for the sake of being trolls, so don’t take it personally if you can’t turn around 100% of the negativity. Even if you’re unsuccessful, other users will appreciate your efforts and remember your good faith.
What are your social media marketing resolutions for 2013?
Human beings are creatures of habit, and it’s no accident we evolved this way. Our routines make us more efficient and more productive, and save our brains from the torments of overthinking.
It’s not surprising that hear that New York Rangers forward Sean Avery is at the centre of yet another controversy.
The 31-year-old former Vogue intern teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign and released a 30-second video for “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” over the weekend, becoming the first professional athlete in New York to publicly support marriage equality. And according to the HRC, the Rangers, as an organization, are now rallying behind Avery in support of the campaign.
While some countries are left to deal with fraudulent elections, Canada is busy cleaning up the aftermath of the #tweettheresults fiasco.
Twitter is famous for broadcasting news before traditional media outlets pick it up (and for prematurely killing celebrities), but the recent election raised some interesting issues about a person’s right to tweet.
Unruly tweets got you down? Fear not—Canadian insurance brokers may soon offer coverage for financial losses and reputation damage caused by mis-tweets or other inappropriate social media posts.
When it comes to social media, it’s easy to get lost in the number crunch. Facebook has over 500 million users, Twitter has over 175 million. You have 357 Facebook friends, 3246 Twitter followers and your blog has been read 467 times.
You have 23 mutual friends with someone on Facebook, yet you have no idea who that person is.
April 12th is a big day in the space world. And this year, it’s even more special—it’s the 30th anniversary of NASA’s first space shuttle launch and the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, taken by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
I’m a virtual pack rat. Every personal email I receive is transferred into a categorized folder and never looked at again. There are thousands and thousands of emails, and like most pack rats, I can’t explain why I keep them. The emails wouldn’t ruin my life if made public, but they do contain a wealth of embarrassing personal information.
If I wanted someone else to know every thought my friends and I have had for the past 12 years, I’d print off my emails and stuff them under my mattress. But they’re password protected, so when I die, my inbox will die with me.
Or will it?
Note: Updated September 2018
I was first introduced to Rosetta Stone three years ago after it was recommended to me when I wanted to learn Danish in preparation for moving to Copenhagen. I was really impressed by the product and recently decided to purchase the program again to learn Greek – a language I have wanted to learn since I was a kid.
Rosetta Stone is the world’s #1 language learning software and they’ve also developed an equally amazing social media presence. They have over 2,600,000 Facebook followers, just over 90k Twitter followers and users are so engaged they often start their own discussions. So how do they do it?
They have a good base product
In order to survive in the social media world, you need the goods to back it up. Rosetta Stone’s former chief exec, Tom Adams, said it best in an interview with the Washington Post: “Set out to teach first and change people’s capabilities and then look around at technologies like speech recognition, social networking, casual gaming, all of these different things.”
Like he said, Rosetta Stone’s proven teaching methods are only enhanced by its social media presence.
A lot of companies seem to forget their social media is part of their professional appearance. Call me a snob, but if a company’s Facebook page is full of spelling and grammar mistakes, I’m out. The same goes for multiple opinions—even if there are dozens of people contributing, they all need to send out the same message. I don’t mean they all have to regurgitate the company philosophy like a bunch of robots, but they do all have to work toward a common goal.
Rosetta Stone has a set of guidelines that ensures employees are interacting correctly, and that quality standards continue through their social media departments. This might make them sound stuffy, but the result is the exact opposite. Instead of only allowing a single “Customer Success Representative” to speak for the company online, we see other employees engaging in interesting, useful conversations. They come across as well-spoken and professional, but they’re real people.
Social Media is an Extension of Their Product
Rather than simply providing a place where users learn about the product, Rosetta Stone took a social approach to language learning and created an environment where users actually learn the product.
It would be easy for Rosetta Stone to post a “word of the day” and a few grammar tips on Twitter, but that’s not their product, and it’s not engaging. By nature, language is social and Rosetta Stone knows it.
To enhance their education, they’ve created online communities where users chat live with native speakers and interact and play games with other learners. They have a photo booth where you appear in a foreign land and have your photo automatically transferred to Facebook. On Twitter, Rosetta Stone answers questions, offers words of encouragement and even hosts chat sessions that ease students’ nerves. On Facebook, users discuss everything from technical issues to language suggestions to who’s studying what and why.
Last week on their Facebook page, they posted a picture of an orange square and asked their audience, “how would you describe this colour in the language you’re learning?” At the time of writing, the question had 96 responses in a vast array of languages. This is a perfect example of how Rosetta Stone uses their social media presence to not only engage their audience, but supply the community support to language learners to fall back on.
They Write Back to You
It might sound simple, but Rosetta Stone actually responds to comments, both good and bad. And they’re speedy. One guy posted a negative experience, and within the day Rosetta Stone sent him a private message and he publicly posted how the issue was resolved.
Rosetta Stone even actively participates in a Facebook discussion devoted entirely to “What don’t you like about Rosetta Stone.”
Although accepting and taking responsibility is something Rosetta Stone does very, very well, they don’t take over conversations. A lot of people have mixed feelings about buying the program, but rather than pushing their product, Rosetta Stone lets other customers take the lead. More often than not, a simple recommendation squashes all doubts.
In response to Rosetta Stone’s “What time is it in the country whose language you’re learning” questions, a user asked all Rosetta Stone Employees: “What language are you learning and why?” Almost 15 employees responded, all with personal, human answers that made me want to be their friend. If that’s not social media engagement, then I don’t know what is.