I find myself transmitting a near exact copy of this information about once a month so I figured putting it here might make that process simpler. Most of the time, I am having coffee with someone who just had running social media dumped in her lap. She likes being on Facebook and may have a secret tumblr, but has probably not done a deep-dive into Google Analytics anytime lately. These are tools I used regularly when I was Digital Communications Specialist for 2 years at Polaris but if you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comments.
- Progressive Exchange. It’s a mailing list of 8000+ professional progressive communications and technical people. Folks have to apply to get in, but it isn’t particularly stringent. People who work for progressive causes and care about using good tools to promote them get in. The archives cover everything from how to start a social media account so it stays useful to how to convince an older organization to jump in and enjoy the feedback that comes of engaging with supporters. There is also campaign-specific information, about best-practices for finding vendors, handling sign-ups, that kind of thing. It is also a great place to find people to review an RFP, if you’re able to shake money free for a campaign and get some outside help.
- Beth Kanter’s blog. She writes what is probably the most popular and influential blog on nonprofit technology and online communications. She has a particular point of view, but she always provides sources and is well-worth skimming through a few times a month.
- M+R Benchmark report. M+R is a communications consulting shop that surveys 80+ nonprofits to figure out what normal looks like for online communications. There is a section on social media benchmarks that I love. The value of benchmarks is they change the tone of meetings about social media. It is worth it to go from “This young woman has an idea about how we can do our jobs better on Twitter” to “Our organization is underperforming for our sector on social media and to catch up, we should listen to this young woman who found the benchmarks.” Changing the conversation from subjective to objective can help get organizations onboard.
- Hootsuite. A lot of larger accounts pre-schedule their tweets. (I have been know to pre-schedule my personal #tbts because I honestly don’t remember it’s Thursday until it’s too late otherwise.) Hootsuite is one of a few industrial-strength social media management tools. You can use it as a dashboard to track your mentions, #tags, and follower-count. It is a lot faster to use than logging into Twitter and Facebook and whatever other account in separate tabs, it also makes it easier to let volunteers in and then close out their accounts when they’re done.
- Edgerank: explained. This is only relevant for Facebook, but it is worth sharing. Edgerank is how Facebook determines which posts show up in your feed, or from the perspective of a Facebook Page, which posts reach their followers. Most major brands (Coke, Nike, Terry Crews) only reach 7 – 10% of their followers in every post. Most non-profits produce content people want to see more than ads, so in my experience they reach ~15% of their followers. The other 85% never see a post from that nonprofit after they like the page. There are ways to boost your page’s Edgerank potential and a given post’s score without paying money (Facebook always wants you to pay money, and while they protest they don’t, they really do).
The most basic way to increase your reach is asking followers to do what you want–you get Edgerank points for “engagements” like clicking a link, expanding an image, playing a video, liking a post, sharing a story, and commenting. For example, if I were running social media for a nonprofit and promoting a staff-member’s blog post on Facebook, I would post about it 3 times in a week, saying something like:
“Our team works on-the-ground in some of the toughest places in the world. Help shine a light on the true stories of these refugees by sharing this blog post: [link] [upload the photo that is in sidebar of the blog post, assuming you have permissions]”. Using a photo and making a specific ask will improve your post’s chances of being seen.
The next post would just be a link to the post, no photo, something like: “Did you see this? One of our staff was in Jordan working to help Syrian refugees. Hear her story: http://www.hias.org/crash-course-syrian-refugee-crisis) Using a bare link conveys urgency and variety on the page and in the feed.
The final post would be something like this: “Sara told us that her family had lived comfortably in Syria and that one of her biggest concerns used to be shielding her children from violent images on T.V. That all changed once the fighting began and she could no longer hide violence by turning the T.V. off; now it was happening all around them.” Make sure Sara knows you support her family’s struggle to find safety and freedom by Liking this post. http://www.hias.org/
crash-course-syrian-refugee- crisis Telling the story of a client demonstrates organizational values and can be another boost for likes.
These are my favorite tools and tactics at a high level. If you have your own, please feel free to share them.
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” ― Kofi Annan