Posts for category

Social Media

Hitting the right note with Facebook promotion

I had this email from a musician friend of mine today complaining that he had been banned from Facebook:

“I know many of you use Social Networking Sites to promote your musical activities, particularly Facebook.

Be aware! They’ve just deleted my account without warning because I “was using Facebook to promote a business”. My crime? Telling the lovely people who’d agreed to be my FB friend that I was doing a gig!!

Just be aware that it’s not worth putting any effort into promoting yourself or your band/business via Facebook”

It’s easy to see why he’s so annoyed – after all, the people who he was “promoting his business” to had all agreed to get posts from him, so it was hardly spamming.

But his experience is worth learning from – whether you are a musician or a business looking to drum up trade on Facebook.

Social media is promoted strongly as a forum for promoting businesses – and with good reason. So it might seem odd that this can happen.

The trouble is that while Facebook is trying, commendably, to stop people blatantly spamming about their business online it isn’t always as clear as it should be about it’s rules and regs – unless you are one of the 1% of people who actually reads all the terms and conditions you sign up for.

Facebook can be used to promote your business – as blatantly as you like – but you have to do it in the right place.

What my friend – and many businesses who use Facebook as a platform – didn’t realise is that while Facebook doesn’t want you to use your personal page as a selling platform, it’s more than happy for you to do the same on a fan page.

What’s a fan page?
Essentially its a Facebook page that, in their words, “looks and behaves like user Profiles”, but can be used to “engage with customers and amplify your voice to their friends”.

Why do they make the distinction?
For two reasons mainly: Firstly to stop abuse of normal personal pages by spammy businesses, and secondly because Facebook can look to “monetize” these pages in a way that might appear, well.. spammy, if they did it with personal pages.

So, if you are a business just starting out in social media – make sure you put your promotional content in the right place or you could risk losing all your hard work. And if you are Facebook – try to make this point a bit clearer to ordinary users.

How to set up a Fan Page

Open a Facebook account, then go to this page on Facebook. Simple!

Charlie Simpson shows charities the power of Twitter

What have one of the world’s oldest and most influential humanitarian organizations and a seven-year-old boy from Fulham got in common?

Both have shown in recent days the power and potential of using Twitter as a fundraising tool.

Twitter, and other social media, have become the front line for many third-sector organizations when it comes to bringing in donations – and have been used with great effect by the American Red Cross and Charlie Simpson.

From a single Twitter message, the American Red Cross was able to attract more than $35m online and mobile donations – more than for the whole of the Asian Tsunami and Katrina Hurrican appeals combined.

The appeal worked despite the charity not having a huge number of followers to receive the initial Tweet. But with careful targeting (including celebrities with massive followings, and other high-profile Twitterers) the ARC were able to leverage the power of social media to go viral very quickly.

Meanwhile, in the UK, seven-year-old Charlie Simpson raised £125,000 (and counting) for a five-mile charity bike ride he had hoped would raise £500.

And that was without any publicity other than a post on the JustGiving webite and a request to retweet from Unicef – the body he is raising funds for:

unicef_uk: Pls RT:Seven year old Charlie Simpson is doing a sponsored bike ride for UNICEF’s Haiti Appeal- You can sponsor him at: http://bit.ly/70mwpZ

Charlie’s fantastic achievement highlights Twitters ability to engage beyond the online world and into – and back out of – old media.

Once it became clear that Charlie’s fundraising campaign was taking off online, television and the newspapers picked up on it. The subsequent publicity drove doners to the web – where they not only gave, but carried on spreading the news. Old media keeps a very close eye on the web for potential news stories, and was quick to pick this one up.

There are some clear reasons why Twitter works so well in this way.

Twitterers, by their nature, like to share and spread information. The more they engage with others the more followers they are likely to get.

So, helpfully, the most popular Twitterers are often the most likely to retweet anything of interest. And a charity message – particularly one with a strong human element like Charlie’s story – is an ideal message to pass on. Firstly, it makes the sender feel they are doing something good, and secondly they know it will be well recieved.

So active Twitterers with large followings will retweet to others who have followings of their own.

The rapid snowball effect of this is what allowed an organization like the Red Cross – with a relatively small following – to rapidly spread its message through targeting the right Twitter users.

Smaller, or more specialized, charities can sometimes be put off Twitter by the feeling that they would struggle to build a significant following. But this example – and many others – shows that it is not necessarily quantity but quality that counts in terms of who is following you. Even if you are only being followed by 100 people, in reality your potential audience is closer to 100 million, as long as you know how to leverage it.

The ease of online giving is also an important factor. You can put out as many news reports and television appeals as you like, but the key is to make people respond to that call of action in the brief window where you have their attention.

If people don’t pick up the phone, or actively go online, while that window is open the chances are you’ve missed your opportunity.

Getting a Tweet – by its nature – means the reader is online, or using their mobile device. So you capture their attention and at the same time put in front of them an easy, quick and painless way to donate – ie a JustGiving page or other online donation facility.

This connection between message and call to action leads to a higher conversion rate – and more money for your cause.

As social media becomes more and more the default medium for spreading news quickly, Twitter for charities, not-for-profit and other third sector organizations is becoming less an option and more a necessity in the battle for hearts, minds and donations.

If you want to donate to Charlie Simpson’s charity bikeride – go to http://www.justgiving.com/CharlieSimpson-HAITI

To donate to the Red Cross – go to https://www.redcross.org.uk/emergencysite/Campaign.aspx?id=88917

How social media is helping charities

We’ve been talking to a number of charities and not-for-profit organisations recently about using social media to help raise awareness – and more importantly funds.

Social media – done well – is a highly effective marketing and communication tool, and for charities, perhaps more so than for most.

What’s the big appeal for charities? Well, it ticks the following boxes:

  • It can be done by volunteers (with guidance)
  • It doesn’t have to take much time
  • It requires sign-up so your message is going out to people who already buy into your aims
  • It creates engagement and discussion among supporters – helping to highlight issues
  • It’s a cost-effective way of co-ordinating and informing volunteers, fundraisers etc
  • It can generate real-time calls to action

Where it’s done well, it can generate immediate and significant rewards. We’ve mentioned elsewhere how well we feel the National Trust uses Twitter.

By using it regularly to provide useful information to followers, they have built up a significant – and loyal – enough following to enable them to use Twitter as a powerful fundraising tool.

Following the recent floods in Cumbria, a number of National Trust properties in the region were badly damaged. On the same day that the damage was being assessed, the National Trust used Twitter to launch an appeal for funds to help repair the damage.

Within just a few hours, several thousand pounds had been donated solely by their followers on Twitter.

Not all charities have the same reach as the National Trust, but all can use this as an example of how to use Twitter (and other social media) effectively.

If you give (a useful and informative social media service) then you will receive (donations and support from your followers).