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Twitter and nonprofits – Jim Says

by Jim Raffel on October 19, 2011

Image of purple ribbon for Pancreatic Cancer awareness

Shelby and I are on the road this week but have no fear because #shehechat will take place at its normal time at 8 p.m. CST Thursday. We’ll just be tweeting from a pretty cool revolving bar in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Recently I was asked to participate in a panel discussion about social media for nonprofits by the Grantwriters Roundtable of Greater Milwaukee. As a small business owner I was a little surprised at the request but agreed after speaking with the event organizers. Nonprofits, after all, have the same goals as a small business.

The goals

First, you want to spread the word about the work you do. You want to build a loyal following of fanatical fans. Then, you want those fans to help you bring more revenue into your enterprise so you can keep doing the good work that you do. It’s funny that when I stopped focusing solely on the profitability of my business, it became more profitable. The same is probably true of nonprofits. Stop focusing on the fundraising and focus instead on the mission. Notice, I didn’t say ignore the fundraising. That would just be silly. Instead, integrate fundraising in everything you do passively.

Social media is not for closing deals

The most important lesson I’ve learned in social media over the last few years is that you don’t sell there. Self-promote? Sure, just don’t overdo it. Figure out where your donors are online and go there. Participate in the forums they do and engage with them. Answer questions, ask questions and be part of the conversation. Don’t – and I stress this – don’t ask them for money there, at least not directly.

Raising nonprofit donations with social media

You might be asking yourself, if I don’t ask them for money in social media, then why am I there? There are only so many hours in the day and I need to make sure the donation engine is always running. Well, try this: Organize an event with a local business that will benefit your charity. Write a blog post about what you will be doing. Make sure to include the basics in the post: time, date, venue and how the donations generated will be used. Then, working with your event partner, promote the blog post and the event. See how that works? The event will generate the donations but you never directly asked for a donation in the social space.

One week from today Shelby and I have an event at IVY Milwaukee that followed exactly this formula. Our nonprofit partner is the Pancreatic Cancer Network Milwaukee Affiliate. We should generate upwards of $500 for them and they never asked anyone for a single penny in the social space. On top of that, everyone gets to have a good time on a Thursday evening checking out a new local club and seeing Shelby and I perform “She Said, He Said” live.

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How social sharing can be a sales tool

by Jim Raffel on September 5, 2011

image of share this

Spotify allows you to listen to the playlists your social media friends create and share. While this can save you time when you aren’t sure what you want to listen to, it also allows you to get to know a person better. Music can be as personal as religion. Knowing what kind of music a person likes helps you to understand that person on a different level.

B2B business case for social sharing

Spotify uses social sharing as a way to both increase its user base and the usefulness of the service. I’d much rather listen to a friend’s playlist than some of the music the iTunes genius picks for me.

Yet when I look at our ColorMetrix color verification service, ProofPass, I wonder how we could leverage social sharing as a business tool. Obviously, all we can do is provide the enabling technology such as a “share this” button in appropriate places on the site. After that, it’s up to our users, friends and fans to share something. The question is: What will they share?

I’m not sure what the relevance would be for the person doing the sharing or with whom they are sharing. How does one make a site like ProofPass relevant and sharable in the social media universe? Do we model Spotify and let them share the results of a proof or press sheet analysis? That information resides behind our login page, so users would need to decide how much of their data should be viewable by friends or even made public, much like a Spotify playlist.

A Spotify playlist allows me to learn more about you and your musical tastes. Armed with that information, I may even suggest a song I think you’d like. While looking different on the surface, sharing ProofPass color verification results could become equally useful. Say you are having a problem achieving the color balance you need. Share the results with a group of friends and let them see your data. It’s likely one of your friends can point you in the right direction to find a solution to your problems. Social sharing could increase the usefulness of the service in this manner.

It’s about the what and why, not the how

Don’t get caught up on the technology of social sharing. Relatively speaking, that’s the easy part. Ask yourself this question:  What would my audience share with their friends and why? If you can answer those two questions, you’ll be well on your way to increasing site traffic. Once you’ve got the traffic, it’s time to evaluate the effectiveness of your conversion engine. Before you can have enough conversions to matter, you need to have enough traffic for the numbers game to work.

Social sharing can be a powerful tool to boost your site traffic but first you must answer the what and why questions.

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Why your Klout score matters

August 12, 2011
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Your Klout score matters for the same reason your bank account balance matters or, for that matter, the level of your car’s gas gauge. Klout is a measure of how far you’ve come in social media and more importantly how far you can go. I’m not one of those people who thinks we should all […]

Selling and Social Media

July 25, 2011
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Selling happens in the social media space every day just like selling happens in the face-to-face world every day. Most of the time, people buy things from people not businesses. Sure, at some point, I head over to a website and provide my credit card information to complete a purchase; but that’s just the transactional […]

How do you incorporate Google Plus in your blogging strategy – Jim Says

July 13, 2011
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I decided to jump in the Google Plus (G+) waters fairly early. Based upon Google’s two recent failures in the social space, Buzz and Wave, this was a relatively risky use of my time to learn and grow with the service through its beta and limited invitation period. It’s been a good decision as I […]

Social media signal and noise

November 1, 2010

How do you separate the signal (those messages that matter) from all the noise that exists in the social media universe? Without a strategy and some tactics to back it up, it’s very easy to get lost in the noise. I’m not saying the noise isn’t interesting and even fun. Instead I’m personally concerned with […]