Mon, November 10 2008

Your own website vs. Facebook?

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

A member of the “Community Empowerment through New Media and Innovative Journalism,” session at Independent Sector (moderated by Ben Binswanger of the Case Foundation), just asked the above question.

I’m going to answer that question here.  The problem with this question is that it implies an either/or choice.  In my opinion, the answer is all of the above with a third piece the questioner left out.  This is NOT about your organization setting up a nice website vs. setting up a nice Facebook page!  It’s about not just having a website, but also ensuring your champions have the tools they need to take action wherever they want, including Facebook. It’s about having little satellite presences in those places, IF YOUR SUPPORTERS HANG OUT THERE.

Here’s what I mean:

ONE: A nonprofit needs a basic website that has key information on why anyone should care about you, why your work matters, and how to engage with you. 

TWO: In addition, you need to provide portable elements on your website so people who find you online can spread the word about you in other places online.  Don’t have a “what’s news” page, have a “what’s news” RSS feed.  Don’t just have a donate button.  Enable people to fundraise for your cause anywhere they want.  What will happen then is those champions will start spreading the word all over the place, creating the Flipped Funnel phenomenon.

THIRD: Build toward a few hubs around the Internet where your audience tends to congregate.  If you take step #2 AND regularly explore online where people are talking about your issue, you’ll know where to go.

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Mon, November 10 2008

3 questions before plunging into new media

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

Here are three good questions to answer before you start going crazy with technology, from Alyce Myatt of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media.  I’m sharing them from the session I just blogged:

1.What are you trying to do?  (As opposed to what you are trying to say.  What are you trying to get a certain audience to do?) 

2.How best can you make that change occur?  How can it best be done?  (Given your audience and where they hang out online or in the world, what technology or media will engage them best)?

3.What resources do you have at hand? (This will help you determine the right scope.)

I’m not sure we’re asking these questions enough before we get started.

I’m also concerned we’re not getting started.  Ramya just noted in this session that YouTube for nonprofits is the slowest growing vertical on the site.  Not enough nonprofits are involved, and too many just slap up a video without seeking to build a community or reaching out to popular YouTube users.

 

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Mon, November 10 2008

The 2 reasons you need new media, even if you’re old school

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

I’m blogging from the session at Independent Sector, “Community Empowerment through New Media and Innovative Journalism,” moderated by Ben Binswanger of the Case Foundation.  The panelists are Linda Fantin of Minnesota Public Radio and the Center for Innovative Journalism, Ramya Raghavan of YouTube Nonprofits and Alyce Myatt of Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media.

Here’s my take on the panel.  Just as marketing is no longer a monologue but rather a conversation with an audience, so is new media.  It is two-way communication.  As Linda pointed out, public insight journalism is predicated on the idea that everyone has expertise, and people know what matters to them.  The audience isn’t just an audience – they are a participant that takes part in creating the content – either by interacting with those covering the story or suggesting angles to a story, or by creating the story themselves. 

If you’re still doubting this idea, or don’t know how it relates to you, consider two principles of persuasion: relevance and trust.  These are two old-school, good old bread and butter ideas.  First, we only tune into what is personally relevant to us.  Second, we trust ourselves (and people like us) more than traditional authorities.  That’s why word of mouth is so desirable.  What’s great about new media is it allows us to establish personal relevance and trust on unprecedented levels.  Because the audience is the messenger!  That’s where old school meets new media.
Take the example from Ramya of voters filming their experience at the polls at Video Your Vote at YouTube vs. CNN talking about long lines on air.  There’s nothing quite like watching a first-time voter in Georgia filming herself talking about waiting in line for seven hours to vote – with her baby.  It has a level of immediacy and credibility that traditional media doesn’t achieve.

As Linda put it, this ideally changes the nature of how stories are reported via traditional media as well.  She said, “If you want to find a left-handed baker who can make pineapple upside down cake while making a YouTube video, you could.  But this is not about finding the right example to plug into a set story.  It’s about what is happening among real people, and that information shaping the story.”

So what does this mean to you, even if you’re not in the business of media?  The bottom line is these tools can make every interaction with your constituency more powerful.  Put video in the hands of your donors or people you help.  Engage your supporters in a conversation about how they spread the word about your issue.  Give them the tools to do it.  And then if they give you input, be sure to acknowledge it, use it and celebrate it. 

When you lose control of the story, it’s a little scary, but the alternative is having an audience of only one: yourself.

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Mon, November 10 2008

Quick Shout Out

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

I saw a couple of people today and wanted to give them a shout out.

A blogger here covering Independent Sector: Heather Carpenter.

Another blogger to check out: Katrin Petra Ivanovic.  I met her and Monica Montgomery in the halls of the conference and heard about their great work as community activists.  Update: you can find Katrin here!  You go, girls.

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Sun, November 09 2008

“It’s because of you” letters

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

A great comment from Maya Enista of Mobilize.org from the session I just blogged about here at Independent Sector.  (That Maya is dynamite, BTW.)

In communicating with our supporters, she said we need more “it’s because of you letters.”

For example:

“Dear xyz, You said xyz at a Town Hall.  Here’s what we did.  This is what we accomplished.  Look what you’ve done!”

This is how we build our base, she pointed out.

I totally agree.  Totally. 

It’s not about the “I need you because I have no funding” letters.

It’s about the “It’s because of you” letters.

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