[Cool Social Tools] Centscere for Millennial Giving

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This series of posts is for software and app and tech vendors who have new tools they’d like you to know about. Startups are welcome to contact me at maddie[at]socialfish[dot]org to submit guest posts about their platforms.

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Struggling to find young donors? Millennial giving is growing swiftly on Centscere, a B Corp based in New York City.

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Centscere’s patent pending Social Media Donation System enables donors to give a few cents to their favorite charity every time they tweet on Twitter, post on Facebook or click ‘Like’. That is to say, every time Frank tweets, he donates 10¢ to Habitat for Humanity.

Any nonprofit can join Centscere for free, and the donation service is offered at no cost to the nonprofit. 90% of gifts go directly to organizations from the platform.

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Through the social media donation system and other in-kind philanthropic promotions, Hire Heroes USA has raised nearly $1000 every month, despite having only 30 Centscere donors.

Since being featured in The Huffington Post in February, and on NPR in April, Centscere has raised a seed investment round. The company is actively building an analytics service designed to gather data and uncover trends across its donors.

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Imagine an engine that analyzes and aggregates an individual donor’s traits across multiple social media profiles. Indeed, from their favorite causes to music preferences to their favorite Twitter personalities, the power of Centscere’s engine is extraordinary.

Nonprofits can sign up at centscere.com. Eligibility is determined using Guidestar. 

If your organization has a combined FB/Twitter reach of over 100,000, Centscere is offering a special three-month program that offers free advertising, free data, and reduced transaction costs.

Making Sense of Social Media Analytics

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Whew, it’s been a busy few weeks. At the beginning of October, I had the pleasure of finally going to (or at least *near*) Boston for the first time in my (long) life to present about social media analytics at NESAE’s Technology Conference. It’s a topic that I think is really important for associations, yet also a challenge for them. Whereas a few years ago in the association community, social media was a topic that dominated almost every event agenda, the topic has all but fallen off the radar in favor of this year’s hot topics, content marketing, big data and the like. The good news is that this is partly because associations seem to have mostly moved beyond the “should we be doing social media?” conversation and social media has, for the most part, become an integral part of most association’s strategies across a number of departments.

It’s one thing to be “doing” social media, but another to try to analyze whether efforts are effective, especially for associations. One thing I talked about at NESAE was the fact that, for for-profits, social media measurement is a bit easier because it seems to be tied mainly to marketing or PR. If you Google “social media measurement” you get a ton of stuff about measuring the ROI of social media marketing or calculating social media share of voice. That’s great…but social media in the context of associations is broader than just marketing or PR–it’s part of almost every function of an association: communication, marketing, events, publications, membership, advocacy, continuing education, HR/recruiting, fundraising, etc. How do you map metrics to ALL of those functions?!

Another challenge beyond figuring what metrics to track is doing it on a shoestring–or non-existent budget. I’ve written about this before, and as the number of platforms keeps increasing, the problem only intensifies. Associations face several challenges when it comes to social media measurement. The first is that, especially at small associations, social media is often relegated to volunteers or interns. Expecting those people to also identify relevant metrics and prepare meaningful reports back to senior management is asking a lot, especially given the second association challenge–lack of budget for social media.

Even large associations with dedicated social media staff face the challenge of not having budgets for tools and/or staff. Just take a look at Socialfish’s association social media series...many of the social media managers interviewed cite lack of budget for tools as a frustration, as well as the time it takes to do social media reporting. Having to rely on free tools or the native analytics of each separate social media platform means having to do a ton of manual work to pull together reports, as well as having to rely on platforms that either change constantly and/or disappear without warning. That’s a lot to deal with even if you’re the dedicated social media manager; for associations bootstrapping social media management with volunteers or sharing the responsibility across several staff as a tiny part of their already full job plates, it’s an even bigger burden.

But don’t let me get all gloom-and-doom on you–all is not lost when it comes to associations measuring the impact of their social media efforts. Hopefully my presentation can help, as can the resources I’ve put together, including a sample social media report.

On Paid Social Amplification

You have web presence on several platforms, with consistent, creative content. You post and share readable items relevant to your target audience unique to the platform placement. Your online marketing strategy is cohesive and strong, and yet you’re just not generating leads like you should.

If you want to widen your reach online, consider employing paid ads. Paid social media ads by definition reach more users than regular content. you’re creating and publishing original content

Why?

With the prevalence of mobile app usage and the popularity of social media, many members of your target audience will be privy to your

Paid social media advertising is a positive for your business. The  sales funnel for social media is shaped like an inverted triangle divided into parallel zones. The sales funnel can be entered at any point, but it always ends up at the same place: conversion, and ultimately, a sale.

As it stands, your content is awash in a sea that’s constantly updating and changing. Several social media platforms have algorithms to calculate who sees what at any given time. For instance, Facebook’s algorithm for pages calculates which of your page followers will see any given post, a number of individuals which totals in at about half a percent of your total number of followers.

The boons of e-marketing are not in question — as available content continues to grow and the population of users does as well, it’s necessary to stay on top of the game. Paid social media advertising is one way too.

How?

Social media platforms offer paid spots which push your advertisement into the forefront.  Twitter has the option of sponsored Tweets, while Facebook recently introduced promoted advertising. Both are examples of direct social advertising which integrates your ad directly into the feed of a user, drawing their attention.

Paid ads increase the scope of all the stages of your social media sales funnel. They increase exposure for your company, they should be well-researched so as to influence the viewer, and they definitely should provide an opportunity for engagement. An example of engagement would be a sponsored ad on Facebook during a holiday season which asks viewers to share their activity for the holiday.

Be aware of the social media sales funnel — exposure is the widest point at which you can capture the interest of your target audience. Influence your audience by persuading and informing them in the subsequent zone of the funnel, and get even more specific with social media marketing by inviting them to engage with your content.

At the point of engagement, the individual will either exit the sales funnel, or enter the conversion stage. Examples of conversion include offering an email address or subscribing to a newsletter. The last piece of the funnel is the sale.

What You Get

Paid social media advertising have a strong return on investment. Paid ads at the very least garner exposure for your brand and promote awareness that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. They often foster engagement and conversion due to their placements, and sales of course ultimately occur as well.

Amplify your reach on social media with paid advertising. Check out the infographic for more information on how to take advantage of this social marketing technique.

 

Association Social Media: International Reading Association

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In this series of interviews of Association Social Media Managers, you’ll be able to compare notes on what all of these fab organizations are doing with their social media management – from how they organize the roles and responsibilities, to how they manage content flow through the organization and out to social, to what campaigns they tried, to how they see the future of association social media.  

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 JGravell2Next up in our interview series, Jayme Gravell, social media strategist at the International Reading Association (IRA). Welcome!

1) First things first –  in what department in your organization does your role sit?  Who do you report to? 

The social media strategist is part of the recently merged marketing and communications team. I report to IRA’s communications manager.

2) Describe your social/digital “ecosystem” – what social media sites do you (or the org as a whole) manage? Are they interlinked in specific ways? How do you decide what content to post where? Do they have different audiences?

IRA has an active presence on TwitterFacebookPinterest, and Google+ daily. We also use InstagramYouTube, and LinkedIn whenever possible, and Storify to archive our monthly Twitter chats. We’ll often share the same piece of content on multiple sites, but at different times or in different ways.

We post more frequently on Twitter than anything else. We have the ability to promote other organizations or authors using Twitter and can share sillier content like BuzzFeed articles or Weird Al music videos. Facebook we post two to three times a day, usually linking to an article from Reading Today Onlinethat published that day or a new member benefit becoming available.

There aren’t any hard and fast rules for what we’ll post where, but we do know that anything tech gets a lot of play on Google+. Roundup posts, like the weekly children’s book reviews we publish on our blog, are really popular on Twitter and Facebook. Position papers do well on LinkedIn. It really is a matter of knowing who is following you on what channel and crafting the content and message accordingly.

Our sites are not interlinked, per se, but the artwork is consistent on all of our channels so we remain easily recognizable to our followers. We customize them based on campaigns, products, or upcoming events.

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3) Can you describe the internal collaboration workflow with other areas of the association (e.g. are you part of a team that meets on a regular basis)? How do you manage content flow? How do you manage monitoring and responding across the organization?

Before our team merged with marketing, we met regularly to align strategies. Each quarter, we’d do a half-day planning session for the products, projects, and events that were coming up to make sure we were hitting them from all angles.

For example, when The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham was published, the marketing team sent out targeted e-blasts, purchased external ads, and ran house ads in our journals and publications. On the social media side, we invited Ruth to be a guest expert at a Twitter chat (#IRAchat is held the second Thursday of each month, from 8 p.m. ET to 9 p.m. ET). We created a book-specific Pinterest board. And on October 28, we offered our first Google Hangout on Air with Ruth and four children’s book authors.

Our educational resources team sends around a monthly “pipeline” report detailing when all of the new books, e-books, IRA Essentials articles, and IRA Bridges lesson plans are coming out, not just that month but for a year or more ahead. And there’s a crossfunctional team that meets quarterly to align content across all channels. Social media is only one piece of that.

We have a moderate-sized staff—currently, there are 67 of us in the organization—and I get to work pretty closely with at least half of the people who work here, spanning eight different departments. That’s one of the cool things about social media; it touches almost everything.

4) Describe a typical day for you – and any favorite tools you use regularly for anything related to social media.

Fortunately and unfortunately, the world of social media is one that doesn’t slow down. It’s important for me to stay on top of the trending topics and the individuals making headlines while also meeting the expectations of the organization and its members.

The first thing I do in the morning is check for notifications and see if there are messages or comments that need to be addressed. Following that, I compose and schedule posts for any material that IRA has published. The communications team has a “daily huddle” every morning where we discuss  our goals for the day and ask for and offer help. It’s a short, 15 minute meeting, but some days that’s the only face time we get with one another and it is very helpful for everyone involved.

The duration of my day is spent monitoring our pages and sharing content across all of our channels. We use Hootsuite to track specific hashtags and mentions. And, as I mentioned, we use Storify to archive our Twitter chats, but I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite tool (more like the bane of our existence).

At the end of the day, I try to unplug, but continue to check my email and look for notifications. I began my communications career in the Governor’s Office, where things usually needed immediate attention. The ability to shut my computer off at the end of the day is a welcomed culture shift, but I often catch myself checking my iPad on commercial breaks. Old habits die hard!

5) Is community management (group moderation) part of your responsibilities? Please describe those activities.

There’s an IRA discussion group on LinkedIn that was started by a member who then turned the admin of it over to us. I monitor that and approve posts, but it’s a self-sustaining community. I run our monthly #IRAchats, but my role is less moderator than facilitator.

6) Have you done any social media campaigns?  Can you share any success stories (or lessons learned)?

A few. The past two years we’ve launched a campaign around International Literacy Day. Last year, we worked with Sony Pictures on the release of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Our campaign included giving away copies of the book that inspired the movie (courtesy of Simon and Schuster) and some movie swag. We also ran a contest that called for participants to submit videos of what they did to celebrate ILD and how they showcased the theme “Invent Your Future.” Winners received a Sony Xperia tablet. We didn’t get nearly as many entries as we’d hoped, but we saw a good deal of chatter on social media.

This year, we worked with NASA on a “Lift Off to Literacy” campaign. There was talk of another video-driven contest, but in the end we decided to nix it. Our bread-and-butter audience is comprised mostly of classroom teachers, who already have way too much on their plates. So instead of requiring them to produce something, we made this year’s content more passive. It was tied to our activity kit; anyone who registered for the kit was automatically entered to win a prize pack from NASA. More than 10,000 people registered prior to the event. Even better, we now have their email addresses on file for when we launch next year’s campaign.

The second (and larger) component of the campaign was asking teachers to commit to adding an extra 60 seconds of literacy-focused activities in their classroom for 60 days. We asked them to share photos, videos, and stories about what their students were doing using the hashtag #ILD14. We’ve gotten excellent results! One of our most active educators, Allison Hogan, just detailed her experiences for our blog. Staff accepted the challenge too! You can read more about that here and here.

Recently, a Facebook post of ours went viral. It was a link to a story on our blog, “Should We Be Teaching 100 Sight Words to Kindergartners?” Within 24 hours, it reached 119,000. In less than a week, it reached a quarter of a million people. And not just the post! Nearly 30,000 people clicked on the story and stayed on the page longer than four minutes. Plus, we got 81 comments, 677 likes, and most importantly, 1,314 shares. [Screenshot below]

Keep in mind that nearly 100% of our engagement is organic. I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve paid to promote on Facebook, and it’s usually in conjunction with our annual conference—and we’ve never spent more than $50 in one shot. I think it’s a testament to the power of strong content that we haven’t seen the kind of dips that other nonprofits are struggling with on that channel.

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7) What’s the hardest part of your job?

The most difficult part of my job is keeping up with the number of products IRA produces. The organization has so many resources, activities, and lessons to share with its members, and I want to make sure they all get the coverage they deserve!

8) Give us a glimpse into the future. If budget and resources were no object, what would you love to see in terms of your association’s social media presence in 3 years?

Definitely I would do more with video. I’m working on putting together a budget for some of the equipment we need to do video the right way. Nothing too fancy, but things that would give us a more polished final product than the iPad I’ve been using to shoot footage. And if money was no object, I’d love to hire an additional staff member to work on these videos, because videos take a LOT of time and I’m already stretched pretty thin.

One thing I would like to see is for us to showcase more of the incredible work being done by our staff and affiliates across the globe. People who advocate for literacy and provide professional development to literacy educators in places like Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and Bangladesh. I’m thinking a playlist on our YouTube channel specifically dedicated to documenting projects overseas could help share the work they’re doing with a wider audience, and truly demonstrate the impact they have on the communities in which they’re working.

Thanks so much!  Got questions for Jayme?  You can reach her at [email protected] or @IRAToday.

5 Social Media Tips for Social Good Companies That Will Get Your Message Heard (In Less Than 10 Minutes Per Day)

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“I don’t have time for social media.”

“I don’t have the money to hire anyone to do our social media marketing.”

“Social media? I wouldn’t even know where to start!”

Do any of these above statements sound familiar?

Well, you aren’t alone. Getting your organization out there on social media can be daunting… but it doesn’t have to be.

3D_eBook_cover_with_transparent_background-e1402165581296Here are 5 quick tips that you can easily implement today to get your company dominating on social media (if you want even more tips, check out our book with over 80+ pages of social media advice for social good companies)…

Hint: All of these 5 tips are things you can do on your own (without the need to hire additional staff/contractors) in just a few minutes a day!

  1. Quality over quantity – Pick one or two social media platforms you want to be active on

There are SO many social media platforms out there to drive awareness to your organization: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vine, YouTube… heck, as social media marketers, there are some even we don’t know about!

Knowing that all of these platforms are out there can be intimidating. However, you don’t need to conquer them all. It is our motto at ModMark Group that it is better to have a strong presence on one or two social media platforms, instead of just an “okay” presence on many.

Determine where your target audience is located in the world of social media, and start getting visibility on just those platforms… you can always create more accounts down the line when you want to branch out (and you have the time and resources to do so!).

  • Download social media apps to your smartphone or tablet

One way to get involved with social media in a time-effective manner is to multitask! All of the social platforms out there have mobile apps that you can download on your smartphone, so you can access your accounts at any time, from anywhere. Whether you are commuting to work, getting your nails done, or watching tv, you can send out social updates such as Tweets and Instagram photos from your organization… it’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone and raise awareness of your company – without adding anything to your already busy schedule!

  • Follow your employees and partners on social media

One way to easily find great content to share with your company’s followers is to follow your own employees, partners, and volunteers on social media.

If you’re a social good organization, chances are your people are uber passionate about the work that you are doing… and they are going to want to share that work with their connections on a regular basis. Why not leverage their social media updates for your organization’s social media strategy?

Creating an account with social media management platforms such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are great tools for this. With these platforms, you can organize your social media followers into lists, so you can create a list specifically dedicated to your organization’s people. Each day, you can refer to this list for great content to share with your community….

… Did Sally from accounting just share a photo on Facebook of last night’s fundraising event? Perfect, share away!

  • Set up methods to easily curate content daily

Setting up an account with one or several content discovery platforms will allow you effortlessly find newsworthy and trending content relevant to your organization to share daily on social media. With these platforms, you can search and set up profiles for different news categories, so that only tops stories relevant to your unique interests will show up in the tool’s feed/homepage. Many platforms also integrate with your social media platforms for easy sharing! Some of our favorites are AlltopScoop.it, and PostPlanner.

We also are big fans of setting up Google Alerts, whereby you can receive daily or weekly email alerts about search engine results of keywords you want to monitor for interesting new content.

  • Carve out 10 minutes daily (we prefer the mornings!) strictly dedicated to social media

Now that you are involved with social media, it is important to make sure your presence on your designated platform(s) is consistent.

While you don’t need to spend 24/7 online, we do recommend carving out a few minutes daily of uninterrupted time for social media maintenance. Put a bookmark on your calendar to check-in daily to your social media platforms to schedule out content (this is where platforms like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck come in handy!), respond to your community members, and to engage with other organizations and industry influencers.

We know you’re busy, but carving out 10 minutes a day is a low impact way to make a BIG IMPACT for your organization’s social media strategy!

These are just a few tips of ours to help you get your organization’s feet wet with social media – without breaking the bank or spending 24/7 online. We hope you utilize these tips as a building block to bring awareness of your social enterprise online… and grow from there!

Do you want to know even more tips about how to best use social media as a social good company?

At ModMark Group, we’ve recently found a big need in the social good community to help organizations focus their branding on social media in a time-effective and inexpensive way. This is why we just launched a new ebook, Get Social: The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide for Social Good Companiesto help organizations combat their social media fears once and for all.  Get Social includes 80+ pages of all our best practices and tips on how to gain the attention of your community without hiring more staff/interns or spending 24/7 online. We would love for you to check out the book and we hope you find it to be a valuable resource for your organization’s social media strategy.

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Meg Bio PicMeg’s Bio:  Meg is the Co-Founder of ModMark Group – a boutique marketing and PR agency working with social good companies to grow their communities and expand their global impact. “Carpe diem” is her favorite cliche and motto. Meg is a high-energy girl living in Portland, OR that loves traveling, being active, spending time outdoors, and eating (A LOT)! Click here for her social media guide for social good companies.

5 Reasons Your Social Media ROI Sucks

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This post by Brian Carter is so awesome, I’m reposting it here in its entirety with permission.  It originally appeared here at the Brian Carter Group blog.

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There are several failure points you need to watch out for:

1. You Have Lame Goals. Choose Better Ones.

Without a clear goal, you won’t know what to measure or if you’re successful.

Sometimes your social media goal doesn’t relate directly to bottom line revenue or profits, so you aren’t able to tie social success to a bottom line number. Because of theat, we recommend making your goal something closer to the bottom line, like lead gen or sales. Go beyond engagement and get them to your website.

Also, we recommend getting emails rather than more fans or followers. Emails are portable and cost less later on, given the need in Facebook to pay to promote your posts to your fans.

2. You’re Using The Wrong Metrics. Choose The Right Ones.

Without a key metric, you’ll get caught up in looking at the wrong numbers.

If you follow my goal-related advice above, your metric is going to be closer to the bottom line than reachor fan growth or post likes.

I’d like to see you use cost per lead or lead per impression or revenue or ROI.

3. Your Tracking Is Inaccurate. Go The Extra Mile To Track Accurately.

This is a problem everywhere. Almost always, you have to do something custom to track social media accurately. That can be as simple as adding URL Builder parameters to your URLs. It’s an extra step, but it makes a huge difference when you look at your analytics.

Otherwise, you’re probably only seeing 20% of your actual social traffic come up as “social”. It gets stuck in that “direct” category instead. That means 80% of your social traffic may not be visible in your analytics as “social”. That makes everything you do look bad.

It’s frustrating. Use the URL Builder tool.

Another option is to post to social with tools that track your results, such as BufferHootSuite or Rignite.

4. You’re Stuck In The Old “Big Idea” Mindset. Switch To Scientific Testing.

You need to have a scientific mindset, and rather than launching one campaign, test a bunch of smaller ideas. If you put all your eggs in one basket and fail, you have nothing else to rely on.

You wouldn’t put all your investments into one stock, you’d diversify. Do the same thing with your marketing.

5. You’re Ignoring Your Analytics. Evaluate and Adjust Your Direction Regularly.

Nothing you do matters much if you don’t review what works and doesn’t. If you never improve, your competition is going to crush you. The data you’re accumulating every day is a goldmine.

Once per week or month, go back and see which ads and posts and tweets and blog posts are working (in terms of your key metric), and which aren’t. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Also, make sure you’ve Facebookized Your Marketing.

Here’s an awesome infographic from Quick Sprout.

How to Calculate the ROI of Your Social Media Campaigns

Are The Signs Pointing to the Demise of Google+ ?

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As much as I liked the concept of Google+ (or is it Google Plus? There still seems to be no consensus), I can’t say I’ve used it a ton. When it launched three years ago, I was among the many who had high hopes for the platform, wishing it would replace Facebook. When that didn’t prove to be the case and its usefulness as a social networking platform never really seemed to take hold, there still were compelling reasons to use Google+, especially for businesses–the Hangouts feature, SEO and enhanced search listings for pages/people with Google+ profiles being the main ones. And for individuals who blog or contribute to publications, Google authorship was worth setting up a Google+ profile for in terms of SEO and verification of authority.

However, it seems like the more time goes by, the less likely it seems that Google+ will be around for the long haul. First there was Vic Gundotra’s announcement that he was leaving Google+, coupled with staffing changes moving employees off Google+ to other teams. Then Google did an about-face on their original “real name” policy implemented when they launched Google+. Next to go was Hangouts, which now works with Google Apps and doesn’t require Google+. Then a few days later, yet another key feature of Google+–photos–was reported to be on the way to being autonomous.

Meanwhile, Google killed authorship reporting in Webmaster tools and removed author photos from search results (although this one is apparently debatable). I can’t find any stats about Google+ Communities participation so can’t speculate about whether they’d keep that feature or, if they’re doing a firesale of all Google+ features, whether or not it seems likely that Communities will soon be headed to pasture too. If the core functionality of Google+ seems to be bleeding out, though, I can’t help but wonder if Google will eventually just merge Communities with the now redundant-ish Google Groups? After all, even though Communities were touted as a Google Groups killer when they were introduced, Google Groups still exist, while something that was super useful toGoogle Reader–sob–doesn’t.

With all this splinterization of the key features that made Google+ noteworthy as a platform, does it really seem likely that Google+ will suffer a better fate than the ghosts of Google things past? And, if not, is it still worth focusing on building a presence on Google+?