This is the first in a series of blog posts about the tools offered by Google for nonprofits.
Google isn’t just the search engine giant most people know it to be, it’s also a facilitator of nonprofit fundraising and promotion through its Google for Nonprofits program. Its free, simple-to-use tools are easy to implement into your nonprofit’s fundraising, outreach and advocacy efforts.
In this post, I’ll be talking about Google+, Google’s social networking tool that allows organizations (as well as individuals and businesses) to connect with constituents in a unique way.
For explanation’s sake, I’ll compare it to Facebook, since most people are familiar with it. When an organization posts to their Facebook page, the post is broadcast to everyone who has “liked” the page, which can be problematic for many organizations that have different groups of constituents (i.e., volunteers, donors, members, advocates, etc.); there are times when you want to reach out to each group individually.
A main differentiating feature of Google+ is Circles, which allows organizations to segment their followers into groups for easier, more targeted and more effective communication.
Another advantage to having a Google+ profile is search engine rankings—Google ranks Google+ pages high in their search results, so just having a profile is likely to bring visitors to your page if they’re searching for your organization.
Google+ also features Hangouts—live video chats that your followers can join in on. Organizations can use Hangouts to hold discussions about the issues important to you and your audience, and use it as a platform to educate newcomers who may not be as familiar with your work.
To gain followers, you have to let people know you’re on Google+. To do this, you can integrate a +1 button on your website so people with a Google+ profile can share your website with their followers. Also, just as you would say “Follow us on Facebook” or include a Facebook button in a newsletter or mailing, you should add a “Follow us on Google+” message to get the word out there.
Most people today have a Google account, whether they use Gmail, YouTube, Blogger or another Google product, so if you’re on Google+, you may just be able to reach a large part of the population that didn’t know about your organization or hadn’t thought to join before!
Find more information about setting up a Google+ page for your nonprofit here.
Last week’s Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit was a constant current of creative ideas and interesting conversations. The event, held at Gannett/USA Today’s headquarters, featured smart commentary and presentations on the latest trends in technology, design, strategy and content. It was a worthwhile conference, drawing more than 300 people, and the first produced jointly by Capitol Communicator and Potomac Tech Wire.
Here are a few highlights from the talented people who spoke there:
David Payne, Chief Digital Officer, Gannett (@gannett): Simplification is the wave of the future in interactive media. Design has to be “silky smooth,” appeal to local audiences, and work seamlessly on smart phones and tablets. The sensation of touch screens, which Payne likened to “stroking a cat,” has changed the reading experience and is critical to content design. Payne gave the audience a reality check on online ad spending: 52% of the $31 billion spent annually goes to Facebook and classifieds. Media companies have to do a better job of presenting the “ad canvas” or revenues will dwindle drastically. Gannett’s job, Payne said, is to deliver great audiences, create beautiful canvasses, and provide safe and engaging environments for presenting content. Quality is imperative. USA Today’s website is undergoing a redesign under his direction, so stay tuned for a totally different viewing experience.
Greg Kihlstrom, Carosel30 (@gregkihlstrom), showed his agency’s impressive 7 Billion & Me website, created for the United Nations Population Fund. The site personalizes awareness about the topic by prompting you to enter your date and place of birth. The site reports back your demographic relationship to the world’s population using engaging info graphics. For example, I learned that since I was born, 1,010,550 species have become extinct…and I’m older than 80% of the world. (Yipes!) The site has been fabulously successful, drawing 2 million page views from 200 countries in the first week.
Brian Williams, Viget (@barn): His agency has the WOW factor down. Brian presented Viget’s case study for Puma.com. The agency’s design history with Puma began with its running site and now extends throughout the entire brand. Responsive design is key to the future of mobile web design, Williams said, and it’s likely that browsers will dominate apps in the not-so-distant future.
From Deb Lavoy, Open Text (@deb_lavoy): In B2B marketing, with increasingly technical and complex products, the chief storyteller (CMO) takes on a very important role. Companies must instill confidence in their brand by knowing their customers extremely well. The goal is to discover your clients’ challenges and clearly identify solutions in a language they can understand. Sales people listen and collect information, and marketers must be able to “step back from the urgency,” interpret, differentiate and be visionaries for their organizations. Lavoy thinks content marketing should be called substance marketing. Substantive content, she says, creates a valuable experience and consistently good content becomes part of your customer’s consciousness.
Peter Corbett (@corbett3000), iStrategyLabs, entertained with a demo of Grandstand, a platform that transforms social engagement into data visualizations, creates game and contest excitement on channels like Facebook and Foursquare. It even incorporates technology that physically unlocks fridges and treasure boxes, surprising winners with prizes while bringing people together for events or building communities.
Mike Volpe, HubSpot (@mvolpe) : Inbound marketing is key for building awareness and loyalty to your organization. Studies show that traffic to your site can increase by 55% with content that provides value to your audience, good optimization and analytics. Wonder how your organization is doing when it comes to social media outreach, analytics and bringing in leads? HubSpot has created a free tool, Marketing Grader that analyzes your website’s activity and also provides a comparison with your competitors.
From Jody McDermott, comScore (@widgetgirl): Consumer privacy is on everyone’s minds these days. There is a new code of ethics in the web analytics community. The new guidelines will “help ensure transparency to consumers in how their digital behavior is being measured, while protecting their personally identifiable information.” The 3MS initiative is changing the way digital ad success is measured. Shifting from a “served” to a “viewable” impression standard. Studies show that 31% of ads served are never viewed. The IAB says, “The entire ecosystem is on the threshold of very exciting changes that will enhance brand marketers’ abilities to make the right cross-media allocations for their goals.”
From Terry Macko, World Wildlife Fund (@wwf): Partnerships like WWF’s with Coca Cola are the wave of the future for cause marketing. The Arctic Home campaign brought in more than $2 million for WWF after 2 billion Coke cans turned white to bring attention to polar bears’ rapidly vanishing habitats.
For more feedback about the Summit, check out #MAMSummit on Twitter.