I attend and present at conferences, workshops, and informal events often enough to know that while we all have the speech pattern, PowerPoint visual supplement, and branded schwag routines down, none of us are doing enough on social media to elevate the message of our content. Here I will briefly outline some simple tools and tips for integrating these plans into your conference presence.
Twitter. The single best thing you can do to engage while attending/presenting at a conference is to live-tweet your experience on Twitter. Use the conference hashtag (or make one if there isn’t one promoted) to collect your thoughts and track the ideas of others. Not only will you be able to virtually meet other session speakers and attendees, but you can use this tool to track and capture information and summaries from other sessions you missed.
If you are hosting a conference, make sure to pick a short hashtag (something that can fit in a tweet along with as much of someone’s thought as possible in 140 characters). If you’re organizing the NEA 2013 Convention, for example, your hashtag should not be NEA2013CONVO or anything longer – try NEA13. Ask presenters to post this or session-specific hashtags in their presentations and list them in the conference program along with the Twitter handles for as many presenters as possible.
Facebook. Friends and page fans love images of people doing things. Showing action, especially conference participation and social gatherings, brings a human face to your brand or cause. When posting photos, be sure to get other attendees to tag themselves or friend them and then tag them to expand your reach. Use Facebook Event Pages to collect photos from all attendees, and make sure you’re consolidating photos into properly labeled albums. Don’t forget to share textual content, too, so that your followers can learn along with you or read about what you’re doing. Re-posting blogs and articles is always useful here.
If you’re running the conference, encourage attendees to use Facebook to check in and post updates on schedule changes or “Happening Now” information to help guide folks to the proper room or space.
Finally, when a keynote session or a major presentation is about to begin, you probably have someone walk up on stage and ask everyone to turn off his or her mobile device. BEFORE you have them turn off their devices, take an extra 30 seconds and ask them to sign into Facebook and check into the event. Your conference will now show up in the news feeds of all those attendees, and no marketing budget was involved!
Instagram. Not only can Instagram save you money on hiring a photographer, but by crowdsourcing images you could get a ton of shots from a broader variety of perspectives. These photos may even show you something about the event you need to fix or realize was a good choice. Attendees will love sharing photos via a promoted hashtag (and good news—you can make it the same as the event Twitter hashtag) and they will get to see shots as well as take them.
Blog: Tumblr. Not everyone has the capacity to live blog events, but sometimes your followers or folks who couldn’t attend want a chance to catch up and read more about the topics than can fit into a single tweet. Tumblr actually works relatively well as a live blogging tool, and is incredible for sharing. Blogs can be short and tagged with the same hashtag as Twitter and Instagram (simple). They can also be shared, so your content or that of your attendees can easily be spread to others on Tumblr. Tumblr can hold links, videos, and photos too, making it an excellent outlet for all kinds of content.
QR Codes. Major corporate brands think QR Codes are no longer in vogue, but I believe QR codes are great! There is one simple rule for QR codes: you MUST send visitors to a mobile friendly web page. But with your responsive design site flexible enough to be viewed across a variety of devices, you’re all set. Now the paper products you hand out at the event can focus on design and engagement, and put more content behind the QR code.
The next time you attend an event, take stock in how the organizers successfully utilize some of these key social media tools. And if you’re hosting an event soon, please create and promote a hashtag at the very least.
Name: Emily Rauch
What is your title? Senior Interactive Producer
In 140 characters, what does your job entail? Project management, focusing on interactive web design & development, & fostering strong relationships with clients. #sayingitsuccinctly
How do you commute to work in the morning? It depends on whether it’s a school day or not. On days I go to school after work, I drive to GW University, park my car and walk the few blocks to work. On non-school days, I take the bus in, and focus on listening to my latest podcasts rather than focusing on traffic.
What’s your favorite device and how often do you use it? Definitely my iPhone. I use it countless times every day. I not only check email, text my contacts and use the phone, I am addicted to the following apps: Spotify for music, This American Life for podcasts, Twitter, Slate, Daily Beast and Huffington Post for News and of course Facebook to keep updated on friends and family.
Which social platform do you use most often? I use Twitter every day to see what’s happening out in the world. The platform amazes me in how it’s been used to break news and increase engagement. Who knew that a Pakistani’s tweet about choppers flying low over Abbotabad unknowingly broke the news about Bin Laden’s death; or that my frustrated tweet about my cancelled flight on American Airlines would get the company responding and tweeting with me to help resolve the problem. It is a type of engagement that is so powerful and I love it because of that.
What do you like best about your job? I really enjoy working with people. Every day I get to interact with designers, developers and clients, each bringing a different perspective to a project. These different perspectives make every day different and unknown—I love that.
What do you hope to accomplish in the first year? I would like to work on a website that, through the use of new technology and functionality, strengthens our client’s mission and challenges our skills and knowledge. I would then like to submit that site for a Webbie Award, to be considered in the Non-Profit category.
What cause are you passionate about? I am equally passionate about two causes. First, civil rights for all citizens, which I believe right now translates to marriage equality. You see certain states truly fighting for the rights of their citizens and I believe that we as a country can’t preach freedom to other nations when we do not afford the same rights to all of our citizens. I am hopeful that in my lifetime I will see these rights be afforded to all.
Second, access to affordable mental health. Many of our citizens suffer from mental health issues ranging from PTSD, to depression to bipolar disorder and more. So many of these issues can be debilitating, and we all could benefit greatly by making treatment options more available and affordable.
Marketing agencies and branded organizations presenting at and attending Social Media Week DC all seemed to agree on three best practices for social media:
1. Select the correct platforms for your content: If you don’t have a lot of image assets or your story is not told through images, don’t use Pinterest. If you do not have the technical capacity to produce or purchase audio content, don’t start a podcast. Focus on platforms where it makes sense to host your content and where there is a community in which your content resonates.
2. Maintain regular activity on your chosen platforms: Twitter is meant to be updated often, and daily Facebook posts have become the norm for brands on that platform. Make sure you have the resources to maintain activity on the platforms you use and do your best to build a strategy that does not neglect your listeners on those platforms. Unless you’ve given up on a channel, don’t go silent on it.
3. Be authentic in your voice and content: People follow your organization or product on social media because they like it and want to engage with it. If a children’s museum used the same tone on Facebook that staff would use in a report to the board, audiences may find that tone to be too professional and caged, and not authentic enough to be trusted. Make sure your voice on all channels is authentic and representative of the brand, not the individual staff member or a voice used for other purposes. The more authentic and familiar the voice, the more likely audiences are to engage with the channel, and that will increase awareness, sales, and most of all trust. What do you think?
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.
It’s a new year, so how will your nonprofit communicate to constituents? According to this infographic by nonprofitmarketingguide.com, most nonprofits believe their websites will be most important for their communication efforts in 2012, followed by e-mail newsletters. What does this mean? It’s clear that nonprofits still consider their websites to be the main form of communication with their constituents, so if you’re in the same boat, makes sure you keep your website content fresh, dynamic and interesting so that people want to come back to see what’s new. As I always preach, images, video and other visual elements are key to capturing and keeping interest. A blog is also a good way to keep content fresh — updating weekly will keep people coming back to see what insights you’re sharing about your nonprofit’s cause and the work your organization is doing.