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Why Instagram for Nonprofits?

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.

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Why Use Twitter?

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

Tweet Engagement

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.

What Is A Facebook Page?

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.

Why YouTube for Nonprofits?

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

Why Google Grants for Your Nonprofit?

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.

5 Bad Social Media Habits You Should Give Up

Lent is a 40-day period during which practicing Catholics give up something–usally a bad habit like smoking or drinking–to commemorate Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert.

But it’s not just good for individuals. As business owners doing internet marketing, we can also develop bad social media habits. Want to give up something for Lent? Start by these less than desirable things we do on Facebook and Twitter.                                                                                                                                                                               

1. Stop shilling on Facebook​

Facebook may seem like a great place to promote or sell your services, but doing so insistently (or “shilling”) will only drive followers away.    Remember the social media mantra “People connect with people” and start behaving like a person instead of a business. Share  employees’ good news. Post pictures of your office. Ask interesting questions. You can even find ways to present a new product or service  without making it look like an advertisement.

2. Stop Retweeting

Although retweeting can help spread a piece of content, a timeline that is filled with only retweets is not very attractive to new followers. Again, “people connect with people”, and followers want to connect with a real person who has thoughts and emotions. Use Twitter to spread your brand’s personality around, not other people’s. And if you absolutely must retweet that piece, add a personal comment to it.

3. Move one-on-one conversations away from Facebook comments

This happens more often than you think, especially in customer relations. People are not interested in reading about how you’re going to solve a client’s problem. Whenever a Facebook comment risks pulling you into a long conversation, provide a contact email to move it to a more private space. Fans will thank you for it.

4. Stop using so many hashtags

Sure, hastags are useful to put a tweet in context, especially during major events. However, hashtagging every word from your tweet not only makes it unreadable, but it also makes you look like you can’t formulate a coherent thought. Also, it’s totally unethical to use popular hashtags that are unrelated to your business for promotion purposes. People pick up on it… and then pick on you.

5. Stop pre-programming your social media updates

Sure, it might seem useful to program Facebook and Twitter updates ahead of time, but you end up looking really insensitive if something major happens. On the other hand, taking advantage of timely events (as long as they’re not tragic) to promote your products or services can work really well! Follow Oreo’s example and tweet appropriately!

So, which of these bad habits are you willing to give up for Lent? Share your thoughts with us!

4 Social Media Resolutions Every Business Owner Should Make

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?

4 Ways to Build Trust Through Social Media

We all know the best form of credibility is word of mouth. But with so many self-professed social media gurus these days, it can be hard to separate yourself from the not-so-credible pack.

Even if you go out and create a branded, multi-channel social media presence with consistent logos, colours and messaging, you’re not guaranteed to earn anyone’s trust. It’s a start—but it’s not enough.

So how do you earn trust and start building real relationships online? It won’t happen overnight, but here are a few easy ways to get started:

Be consistent

Chances are, your online marketing strategy involves multiple social media platforms and multiple employees. Having a consistent look and feel (name, logo, colours) across all of your accounts is the first step to tying it all together, but you’ll need to go even further to really gain your customers’ trust.

To avoid coming off as disjointed and fragmented (and filling customers with doubt as to exactly what your brand stands for), you’ll need to define a few things. Is your brand’s personality/voice fun? Funny? How funny? What’s inappropriate and what’s not? What’s your area of expertise? What topics do you not want to touch on?

And because people will be talking about your brand whether you’re on that particular channel or not, it’s also important to claim as many profiles as possible. That way, you can not only moderate what people are saying about you, but also avoid confusion as to which social media account is your official profile, and which ones are controlled by the masses. 
 

Invite conversation

The whole point of social media is to engage, converse, listen, share, discuss, chat. It’s a two-way conversation, not a billboard.

Do your posts invite others to engage with your brand, or are you blanketing them with advertisements? To boost the conversation, get personal. Rather than posting product information, post the story behind the product. Post interesting/humorous/thought-provoking content, ask your fans for their opinions on topics related to your business, give fans a behind-the-scenes look at your business, and always, always, always respond to individual comments (even if they’re negative).

Photos, videos and infographics get more views than a straight-text post, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Your fans and followers will thank you for it.


Build the right relationships

Are you hanging out with the wrong crowd? I’m not talking thugs and vandals—I’m talking people who don’t inspire you, who don’t teach you, who don’t add value to your business in any way, shape or form. It’s easy to become obsessed with increasing your online following—after all, a business with 2000 followers looks way more credible than one with only 50 followers—but that number is meaningless unless it contains both your core audience and other industry insiders.

Take the time to research the people you befriend online so you can cultivate real, meaningful relationships. When you hang out with people who actually care about your industry, your business and what you have to say, word will spread and your business will thrive.
 

Create your own content

Sharing other people’s content is lovely and generous, but it’s even more important to create your own content. Without sharing your own thoughts, words and expertise, customers won’t get to know you, the brand. They may know what you do, but they won’t see your company as a leader in its field—one they can trust, follow and return to again and again for the best information.

You don’t have to post original content every day, but don’t forget to throw your own ideas into the mix. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on incredible opportunities to bring people even closer to your brand.

NASA Explores the Vast Reaches of Social Media

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.

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12 Reasons Your Small Business Needs to be on Twitter

This article was written by Jessica Swanson (@ShoestringGal) who is the founder of Shoestring Marketing. The article was originially posted here.

12 Reasons your Small Business Needs to be on Twitter:

1. Build Authenticate Relationships. Twitter allows you to begin building authentic relationships with your prospects, clients and customers. As a small business owner, strong customer relationships are one of your greatest assets.

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10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners

As business owners venture in to the scary world of managing their own Social Media campaigns, many are driving blind. A little bit of education goes a long way and we suggest following these 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners to get started. There are endless ways to drive traffic to a website, increase brand awareness around the web, and engage with potential clients through Social Media Marketing. The ability to reach people in real time and target a relevant audience has never been easier.

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