Social Media Muse

Infusing Social Media with Spiritual Chocolate

Posts Tagged ‘communication

Nonprofit & Social Media: a Match Made in Cyber Space

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There is no perceived difference between the two terms nonprofit and not-for-profit (only the IRS makes a distinction). Note here that nonprofit does not necessarily mean “charitable.” In this posting I intend to talk about organizations established for purposes other than profit-making, this includes entities like local government.

The online technologies and practices used to share information, knowledge, opinions, ideas, experiences, perspectives, and insights with other people; Social Media is changing the way we learn, teach, and interact with other people worldwide. People everywhere are having conversations online. There is a new on-line wave of influencers out there, and it is powerful.

Many nonprofits are limited in resources — money and time as well as staff and technical expertise. The biggest challenge is to apply the technologies that are useful to a certain audience. Most businesses have focused exclusively on using Social Media as a marketing tool. Many employers see it as simply a workplace distraction. But Social Media has the potential to revolutionize service networks and workplace learning.

In order to engage with citizens today, it is important to communicate in new ways, keep the message clear, and make information easy to get. However, technology is only an enabler and not the solution. Integration of the various online tools for access to services and information is needed to make the most out of the web. Active promotion and an integrated approach to managing digital channels are key to effective communication and engagement.

The new socially informed generation calls for two-way dialogs as nonprofits and governments are shifting their view of citizens as consumers, and allowing citizens to become contributors in the development of their materials. Social Media provides the ultimate platform to reach out and strengthen and build communities. Social networks contribute to raising awareness and increasing engagement, by inspiring people to join others to create a community that embraces certain norms and values.

How to reduce communications costs while giving citizens the information they want, when they want it? A skillfully created Social Media strategy can drastically improve online presence, increase traffic and enhance search engine results, in a very cost-effective way. The correct and timely use of on-line technologies will enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness. People like to have the option to subscribe to certain information. More subscribers amount to more information “pulled” by citizens; this can increase website usage by 20% to 50%! People have always learned best from one another—Social Media enables this to happen unrestricted by physical location and in all kinds of extraordinarily creative ways.

Update October 15: Found this article today http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/10/gov-20-goes-local.html

“The primary benefits of Gov 2.0 that IT professionals cite include improved e-services to the public, resident participation in government, and collaboration between agencies.”

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 30, 2010 at 10:41 pm

The Instant Magic of Social Media

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Seven Oaks Lavender Farm is located about 50 miles West of Washington DC, near the Shenandoah mountains. There are only a few lavender farms in Virginia and not all are open to the public. Lavender only blooms for one month and that’s when the farm is open to the public and people can visit the field and cut their own lavender.

The owner Deborah Williamson has a natural talent for PR and Seven Oaks has been featured in several publications and on TV. She has built a solid e-mail list, and used it to announce the beginning of the season and all the special events during the weekend. However this year she really wanted to generate more “real traffic” to the farm. I created a facebook page and Twitter account and within a few days the followers and friends started to gather.

Soon friends told friends and the lavender crowd was growing, our Social Media efforts started to pay off and more and more people visited the farm telling us they had seen us on facebook…As it happens Deb invited me to live at her farm for a while and one morning I watched several families gathering under an Oak tree, preparing a picnic, while their children were playing in the lavender field.

A customer pointed at this little boy sitting next to a lavender bush and within seconds I ran inside and grabbed my Flip camera and started to film him. I asked his parents for permission and moments later the movie went live on our Facebook page. The next morning, only minutes after the farm opened a family with several kids arrived, while chatting with the parents as we walked to the field they said: “Yes we saw an awesome video on your Facebook page of this cute little boy and we were looking for a child friendly place for a little field trip so we thought: This is it!”

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 5, 2010 at 12:40 am

This position is a great resume builder!

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In other words: we want you to work full-time for us, create our on-line brand, and increase our revenue, but we’re not going to pay you.  Luckily most matured companies have embraced Social Media professionally and know the added value and opportunities this huge platform may provide to them. They are also aware of the fact that this is a very new, specialized, yet comprehensive trade.

A Social Media worker needs to have communication, PR, writing, (direct) marketing, branding, on-line media, Internet applications, and Social Media networks experience, besides your particular industry and market knowledge. This is the time for the Jack or Joan of all trades to flourish!

“Jack of all trades, master of none, though ofttimes better than master of one”

A Social Media Steward should possess a polymath* quality. Above all being able to handle multiple tasks, channels, and tools! If you want to reap the benefits of a consistently implemented Social Media strategy you’ll have to invest in a very broad experienced professional to execute this multi level challenge at a very high (real-time) visibility level.

*Polymath (Greek πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”)[1] is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

Written by Monique DiCarlo

August 3, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Don’t be spammy, pushy, sales-y, douchey, or scary.

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That’s how David Noël puts it, and he is right! Social Media provides the ultimate tools to create relationships, not pitches! This is one of the most significant changes in the marketing world and something many are still struggling with.

Basically you want to avoid talking about your service or product all together. The opposite of what marketing used to be. Copy writing has entered a new era. I remember the advice received during a workshop with Herschell Gordon Lewis: when you write 4 words, delete 3. A tweeter pur sang and avant la lettre (forgive me my French).

No longer do we buy a list, defined by certain metrics. No, we have to create a community our (potential) customers like to visit. Then we have to get to know them, established by a sincere dialogue, active communication, and sharing meaningful information.

Next is to show them you understand and respect them, before you share how it feels when you “help” them. Your customer needs to “like” you before he’ll buy from you, and he’ll “follow” you happily ever after.

Written by Monique DiCarlo

July 29, 2010 at 2:26 am

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