Tag Archives: Beth Kanter

Social Media Policy

Policies are part of an organizational culture. As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Implementing a social media policy won’t prevent misuse, and can even block effective use of new media tools. For social media to be successful, an organizational culture must embrace the viral nature of these new tools. And that can be easier said than done.

Reality is: people already talk about our organizations and brands online. The best way to ensure a positive image is to be actively involved online before issues are manipulated or a crisis develops. After all, you can’t respond to criticism if you aren’t present! Yes, it’s true–90% of social media can be a waste. It’s the 10% that can be stellar that we’re aiming for.

Colin McKay in his Nonprofit Secret Underground Guide To Social Media Adoption suggests that most large organizations already have policies in place to deal with potential concerns, as social media doesn’t create new behavior, it only amplifies existing behaviors. Those policies–and some small organizations have even a few of these–may reference confidentiality, designated spokespersons, internet use, approval of official communications, use of logo, privacy, and appropriate behavior. Following the organization’s core principles is a good rule of thumb when drafting a social media policy–don’t stray to far from what you already have, and don’t create a solution that’s looking for a problem, so to speak. My thought is this: If you don’t already have a crisis communications plan in place–long upheld as the gold standard in non-profit communications preparations, you don’t need to start down the social media policy road just yet.

Discussion with staff, media consumers, and departments concerned with IT, fundraising and marketing issues will provide insights into boundaries and potential uses of the internet or social media. If your organization is fearful of social media–or heavens above: personal internet use at work!–these dialogues need to happen for the benefit of your organizational culture. They’re not just about ‘it’s time to create a social media policy.’ Opening the discussion and working towards some simple guidelines on how your staff and volunteers can communicate (onlien and in person, too!) on your behalf instills a foundation of trust and gives everyone the same expectations for expressing individual views about an organization.

This is an outline of a very basic social media policy. It’s important, too, to be very clear in these that your organization supports online participation for the benefit of your mission. You can elaborate on each of these principles in accordance with your existing values and policies.

Be transparent. : Say who you are, and be clear that your views are your own unless you’re posting on an organizational site.

Be connected. Share with others, follow other policies, cite sources, and have open dialogue.

Be respectful. Think twice, maintain confidentiality, respect work time.

Be thoughtful. Question motives, be consistent, protect your own privacy, uphold your liability.

Most importantly, policies should support efforts of staff and supporters who are adding value to your mission. Don’t put out the fire before it starts!

Read more:
This policy is from DePaul University’s Social Media Working Group.
Beth Kanter writes and links to a range of though on these policies, as does Nancy Schwartz.
More on specific blogging policies from the Groundswell blog.
Here‘s what WildApricot and others have to say about the social media policy debate.


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Social Media Return on Investment

Another in the NTEN/TechSoup Storytelling & Social Media series, today on measuring your investment in social media by Beth Kanter

Metrics measure your investment over time by analyzing data. Usually we think of this as measuring overall payouts from the entire business. While this is worthwhile, it’s interesting to think of measuring just one component of a business and certainly makes the process of analyzing social media return on investment more difficult. But, it’s not impossible to be able to state the benefits and costs and savings, comparing methods and eventually getting to the bottom financial line.

We’ve talked before about listening–or in web terms, ‘searching’–here. Most social networking sites, and some other entrepreneurial sites, offer ways to count, track, and find your organization and keywords. A great example of organizations using this process is Red Cross post-Katrina. People were talking, and Red Cross started listening. Because the staff saw what people were saying about them, they then realized they could use online tools to build relationships.

If you pay for donor acquisitions, you’ll understand, and are probably already comparing the potential for lower costs of collecting contacts from social media interactions rather than purchasing lists.

Measuring Your Web Appearances

Author: Track your word counts–<350 words per post?; set a publication frequency that works for you, but be consistent. Tracking page visits is outmoded–there’s so much more meaningful data to collect!
Unique Readers: FeedBurner explains how to set this measurement up; for example, there are more than 2000 feed readers and FeedBurner pulls data from all these. The more tools you’re working with online, the more portals through which people can find you and thus the more info you’ll have when you start measuring this traffic. Try searching delicious for your organization and counting individuals who have tagged your information.
Engagement: PostRank assigns a number to the aggregate interaction around a ‘story’ or web post. This seems like a pretty advanced tool that would provide a positive ROI for organizations that are out there using multiple tools already. I’m not even quite sure what it does–this one I’ll put on the back burner for now.
Authority: Technorati is a search engine for blogs; if your blog is registered there, it assigns a comparitive number based on readers, comments, etc. Yahoo has a similar search engine for your blog posts.

By participating in the web and these measurement tools, you can get ideas for new programs, research your market base and increase connections to potential volunteers or donors. Compare the costs of conducting this research in the ‘old way’ to collecting this info via social media–this process can be translating into actual dollars. Numbers and stories–good ol’ quantitative and qualitative eval–make your point when selling the concepts of social media. Even WordPress tracks more specific visitor data right here on this blog. I have some posts that have received 100 views, others only a few. Those are the counts; examining why is the real ROI analysis.

Have a goal, and count measurements that support this goal. You can use baseline measures–e.g. we have 12 Facebook friends–and measure change over time. Number of emails added to your database, greater number of people mentioning your organization online, number of subscribers to a blog–pick what to measure so you’re not spending more time measuring than participating in social media!

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Groundswell: How People with Social Technologies are Changing Everything

In thinking about engaging supporters who are already online, and those that aren’t, Groundswell categorizes them into six typographs of users/non-users. The book–from Forrester Research, who’s pretty into this stuff–uses lots of data and demographics to talk about ‘markets’ and ‘trends’ that are swelling up–so we’d better get ready, like it or not. Check out their blog to keep up with the latest, including how President Obama is right there in the swell, collecting ideas from anyone who wants to have input.

In the same vein, non-profit social media blogger John Haydon writes on Return on Investment:
“The real ROI in social media is manifested when your current supporters start talking to their friends about how much you rock. And as they rave about you, hundreds or thousands of other potential supporters see these conversations.” That’s the ‘viral’ effect you hear about. And you can’t ‘go viral’ with a canned fundraising letter email. He sums it up: “The best way to avoid appearing disingenuous or frivolous is to be genuine and committed.” So, talk about what’s up, what comes to mind, and as if you were writing to a friend–a real one.

Beth Kanter, in her “Cute Dog Theory” says that non-profits should spend 1-5 hours participating in social media and 5-10 hours a week creating content. Her post gives an outline of laying down some steps and goals before diving in.


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Segmenting Facebook

Think about new media users as one of three types: Influencers, Advocates & Enthusiasts–do you have a strategy to reach each of these??

Good heavens, no! We all hardly know about this stuff, let alone have THREE separate strategies to reach a market on JUST ONE TOOL!

These guys recommend we get a segmented strategy:
Article from Social Media Today
Beth’s ‘Who-What-How’

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New Year, New Resolve

Want to learn? Resolve! I have a policy of only making fun resolutions–like adding things to my life instead of focusing resolutions on deprivation.

Here are a WHOLE bunch of links and ideas about what others in the social media realm are resolving to do with new technology in the new year. How about you????

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Social Media for Social Good

I’m starting out the new year right, recapping Convio‘s webinar on new media for nonprofits. Emily Riley of Forrester Research and Beth Kanter of Beth’s Blog discuss the vast spread of knowledge via the web and its new tools.

* It’s not just for youth! Soon, they too will have less time to spend interacting online, while older age cohorts adopt more tools and make more time for them.

* There’s public content and personal content that can overlap (like an organizational Facebook page), but be sure to meet your stakeholders in the right space. Who do your staff or key volunteers influence?? That’s the confluence of the public and personal! Note that influentials influence, and aren’t necessarily active social media initiators…e.g. maybe your friends look to your non-profit expertise when they are looking to volunteer but are you the same kind of person who will create and upload a video about the MLK Day project? I know I’m an influencer, but not as much of an initiator.

* Interacting with people via social media is just like reaching them through banner ads or enewsletter, and should be perceived as just one option in your outreach strategy. First, listen. Figure out what the ‘vibe’ is before you jump in. And be real–don’t make up stuff or be ingenious. Get to know your interacters–reply, react, interact!

* To overcome resistance, educate! You know the early adopters? You may even be one. But they don’t count–there’s all that follows–the early majority, the late majority and the laggards are who you should think about capturing, so it’s not too late! ‘Facebook Friday’ or other catchy ideas can bring your organization on board.

* How is social media like an Impressionist painting? If you look at the whole, it depicts something. Looking up close is like listening–carving out the individual points and seeing how the seemingly irrelevant or negative comment inspires participation!

* This one’s harder–make it easy to mix up content. Photo-sharing sites have untapped potential; we need to get creative. So, if you’re going to be on TV, hold up a sign about your mission that’s posted to your org’s Flickr account. People watching who search for your organization might find and be inspired to contribute.

* Think about your ROI. Some metrics tools: GoogleAnalytics, aideRSS, measure quantity of contributors or conversations, or simply track your time spent, and here’s an article on measuring Twitter. KD Paine also blogs about emetrics.

* Convert your online influentials to offline influentials. Can they take their laptop to a meeting and demonstrate online giving or your blog? How else?? Does this work in reverse? Could you educate your offline influentials in new media as a benefit to their service?

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