Content, Technology. Or is it: Technology, Content?

Tech tricks and tips for the social good.

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Social Media: Chasing Fans

Reese's peanutbutter cups

We’re all chasing fans and clicks. Fans are our org’s ambassadors, and their click-rate is a way to understand how well we fulfill our mission. New fans give us the opportunity to share more content, and new shares often create new fans.

In setting the social media path for your org, do you think your goals ought to be measured as a target number or a growth rate of likes/shares?

@KevanLee embedded this question in a recent blog post.

Most recognize that it’s key to track growth metrics. And it’s also important to understand which type of content generates clicks and shares.

The target number is easily monitored and can be read as social proof of your org’s success: as one fan likes you, others follow suit. But while large numbers seem meaningful, be careful – in some cases it’s simply copy-catting. From your side of the screen, however, you can differentiate the copy-cat fans from these who deeply engage just by monitoring their shares and clicks.

Growth rate is fuzzier. How well your content permeates beyond the numbered fans is often difficult to pin down. If a fan is having a bad day, they may ignore some of your org’s best content!

It comes down to a discussion of the nuanced differences between increase and engagement – and what is more important to your organization. As Kevan notes, a target number is static, and a growth rate “continues exponentially.”

So, fans or clicks?

Surprisingly, you’ll need to consider both – and they are separate but equal, like the chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s peanut butter cup.


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Yes, They Can Take it with Them: Your Social Media, that is.


Social media and other tech platforms have blasted the world wide open, and forever changed the way most of us interact with … well, everything.

We took our first tentative steps on Facebook, and floated up our personal status updates and reconnected with old friends. We quickly realized that we didn’t need to be computer-science whizzes (even though some of us are!) in order to share stories, photos and news.

And then the first brilliant person used a social platform to tell the story of their non-profit and its mission. And the crowd listened, looked, and replicated: by 2014, 48% of surveyed non-profits understood that “going social” is crucial to their mission.

But here’s the surprise: 67% of non-profits have NO documented social media strategy. And almost half reported that their social channels are monitored by one staff person.

That’s a losing formula – if that employee/volunteer exits the scene, so does your social media plan!

Yes, they can take it with them.

Your mission, outreach, org awareness, attendance, revenue are all positively impacted by the flow of social media. Make it harder to disrupt the flow, and invest the time in a written strategy.

A written strategy benefits the stability of organization, much like a written mission statement. Gather the staff together, grab some snacks, and hammer it out: investigate and establish the editorial tone, determine the editorial calendar, identify the KPIs, perform a content audit. Assign roles, and identify key metrics.

Plan on reviewing this document annually, at least. As the social platforms change, you might have to adjust or re-align.

And then nail it to the door.

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Content Creation: Is the 90-9-1 rule (finally) dead?

In the olden days (2006) data revealed that only 1 person in any group of 100 was actually an online content creator.

In that group, there were 9 occasional social posters and 90 who were happy to just “lurk” at the edges, without interacting.

This model emerged as the accepted rule of thumb and was based in part on upload/download rates from the then-nascent YouTube.

In those days, the rule discouraged many from developing online communities – really, why bother? Only a small proportion of community members engaged with content in any meaningful way.

Well, we all grew up a little – and so did the interwebs.

By 2011, the rule had changed. Paul Schneider readdressed the issue by looking at a random selection of his firm’s clients. He suggested a more accurate rule was 70-20-10: a whopping ten out of each 100 people was an active creator.

And then we grew up, again. And discovered #selfies and pins.

Twitter’s user base surged through 2014, Snapchat snagged the kids beginning in 2012, LinkedIn was re-vamped in 2012 and in 2011, we all joined Pinterest. Right? It’s PINTEREST.

Now, I imagine that this triangle has changed shape. Or maybe it has completely inverted.

Anyone got data?


Facebook Groups – an NPO’s Secret Weapon. Part I

Chances are you belong to at least one Facebook group… is it your neighborhood association’s FB page?  Your child’s sports team? Or maybe you belong to a location-neutral group organized around a personal interest, like sailing.

Take a closer look at those pages. What’s missing?

Actually two things are missing.

The first is sponsored links/posts.
At this writing, FB groups pages are free from clutter. The page contains only updates posted by people who belong to the group. There are no sponsored links/suggested posts.  It’s a space that is not strewn with curated content at all.

The second missing element is advertising.
Every post to a group page remains strictly about that group’s interests.  The stream of tailored ads – based on what I might have looked at online – are blissfully muted!

This hiding-in-plain-sight space is a great tool for NPO’s.

Your org can start an affinity group around your mission, or related topics. For example, your org saves cats. Start a FB group about spotted cats, or cats with “mustaches” or extra toes. You can invite the org’s regular FB fans to join, and with effective key-word choices new fans from beyond your usual pool join in.

The affinity page will attract experts and novices alike; consider using the page as a space to position your org as a thought leader in your field. But don’t over-do it – readers will see constant references to your org as spam, and stay away.

Start the conversation, and let community members “talk amongst themselves” about the topic. Some posts might have links you can curate  onto your org’s main FB page.

One caveat – group pages need to be started by individuals, not businesses or organizations. Be prepared to post as yourself.