Thursday, February 19, 2009

Takeaways for Staff

The main takeaway is that there are ways to manage this effort that make sense, but yet don't need to be superformal.

Instead of having one overall objective, create specific objectives and measure how you meet them individually.

Note those who attended. (Some well known guests JD Lasica, DigiDave).

There are Five Basic Steps (tactics) that build on each other:
  • Listen
  • Participate
  • Tell Your Story
  • Generate Buzz
  • Build Community
You keep adding steps until you are doing all of these things simultaneously, but it's important to start at the beginning (listening).

The listening step is another tool for competitive intelligence in general.

We played a great game designed to help craft a social media strategy that had us consider:
  • objective
  • audience
  • strategy
  • tools
There are excellent worksheets available on the wiki for building our own strategy and for duplicating this game so we can play it here with staff and apply it directly to the Resource Center (go to the Materials page and scroll down to Social Media Strategy Simulation Game).

Social Media ROI
People tend to be skeptical about the value of social media. Show value by capturing data as you go along. Although you want to be strategic, don't overplan - you have to engage in order to learn. Great slideshow on this: Listen Learn Adapt.

Segue into discussion of capacity. The more successful we are at this, the more time it will take, but we can still work smart and efficiently.

Two things that got reinforced to me as a direct result of things I learned at the workshop. These are areas where I wish we would have educated CNCS and stood strong on our position:
  1. keeping our name - brand recognition - it would be easier to listen now if our name was still nsrc
  2. their institutional implementation of twitter is being criticized and they don't know it because they aren't listening. There is still room and time to educate them on this. UPDATE: Jason is handling this - he is doing a great job of teaching CNCS to chart these new waters!
I'm glad I was reminded to use Twitter search as a listening tool because I found this nice example of a fellow Twitterer promoting us (more specifically promoting our YouTube channel) to others.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Since some of my notes in this blog over the past few days are knowledge that is already captured in the wiki, I'm going to go back over my notes and clean them up and fine tune them so that they are specifically pertinent to our agency's needs.

First, a brain dump for Beth, Holly, and John - ideas for the next iteration of the workshop:

1) The game we played at the end of day one was awesome. I don't know if this is possible but I'm wondering if there is a way to start the exercise earlier, and then give people some time to segue from the exercise into crafting their own social media strategy (essentially giving folks workshop time to do that night's "homework"). Having the cards in front of you is helpful: visually thinking through the interplay of audience, strategy, tools.

Alternately, another possible approach might be to save the exercise for near the end of the workshop, after participants have had a chance to really learn exactly what each tool is best for. I remember our team chose Digg although we all had an intuition it wasn't really the best tool - the breakout session on day two confirmed this.

2) It wasn't clear if the participation level of reporting on one's own social media strategy was low because people didn't have time to do their homework or if there was some other reason. For myself, I realized that there were a lot of pieces of the strategy I couldn't craft without more research and more consultation with staff. Perhaps encouraging people to write down what those missing pieces are, not to get blocked by that, but to think about what pieces of the strategy they *can* nail down and what pieces they can't.

What if you said that on Day Two in the morning you would be randomly pulling up blog posts to see what people came up with. Too much pressure? Could be motivating.

3) Connect participants so they can continue to share their progress after the workshop? Either more explicitly suggest that partipants continue to use their blogs and follow each others progress on the blogs after the workshop OR - show how easy it is to set up a Ning space at the very beginning and let people discuss things there? I don't know - maybe that is fragmenting - we already have the wiki and the blogs. I just kind of came away feeling I only had a way to connect with people I specifically took the time to get their business card - maybe ask people if they are willing to have their contact info shared in a list that everyone gets.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Next Steps

We all are sharing our next steps.

I am going to talk to staff, find out who wants to learn more, and find out who I can delegate what to.

I am going to meet with staff and have them help me nail down our social media strategy in writing.

Idea: get a social media intern

I may find out if there is interest in a 23 Things course. If so, would it be just for staff - perhaps for all clearinghouse staff? Or should we open it up to grantees?

Day Two - Afternoon

Holly Ross of NTEN and John Kenyon
Generating Buzz breakout session


What is buzz? - word of mouth, tell a friend, viral marketing

What is the best way to create buzz?
1.) Keep it simple - make it simple to participate, simple to spread, simple message

Buzz campaign examples - Beyonce video, Barack Obama
2). Take it and make it your own - "what do you hope for?" iphone apps, facebook widgets

Why Buzz Marketing Works
- People have an urge to help, to answer questions
- Cool factor - people want to be cool and with the in crowd
-- central to these is trust - source is reliable, source is authoritative, message is authentic (not like a fake or corporate marketing message)

Social Proof - Related to cool factor - blog posts with more comments get more comments, Digg submissions with high Digg count get Dugg even more. All the cool kids are doing it. "Everyone's doing it" is a powerful message. Petrified forest - people taking the wood home. Message that millions of pounds were lost each year one piece at a time had bad effect - people figured, "everyone's doing it - why shouldn't I?"

The Cost of Buzz
- Tools are cheap
- Time is money - time factor is high - about an hour a day
- return on investment takes a long time

Building Relationships
- it's a cocktail party
- make others feel important
- be smart, witty, and funny
- be relevant
- put your best foot forward
- being awesome is the best way to SEEM awesome

- don't promote every blog post you do

Case Study - epic change and tweetsgiving
their mission is complicated - the campaign was specific

  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Friendfeed

In common - username, bio, URL, picture - these are incredibly important - when people are trying to decide whether or not to engage with you, they typically look at these

For any tool or service, ask yourself:
- why are we using it?
- who will use it in our agency?
- how will you know you are succeeding?
Set up your accounts to reflect the answers to these questions

Keep the same username across networks



Twitter Tips - listen to people, find out what is interesting, don't talk to yourself - keep it relevant and interesting

Twitter Tools
  • tweetscan
  • tweetstats - tag cloud, time spent, number of tweets
  • twitterfeed - tool for bringing in any RSS feed to an account

Desktop Apps
  • tweetdeck - create groups - would solve problem of not wanting to follow everyone.
  • twhirl - have to tab through

StumbleUpon - a million and a half users per month
Semantic web - the web will give you stuff you know you want because it's been watching you. Recommendation service. Network effect - based on your friends as well as what you like.

Where is the buzz building? In the networking. You need to friend people. e.g., Jonathan Colman has lots of followers, active user. Get hooked up with influencers. You can DM your friends if the relationship is mutual.

Case Study - Jonathan at the Nature Conservancy - launched a site about ecosystems - low traffic. Objective was to grow traffic. He took a video about sharks, stumbled it, reached out to his network, and encouraged everyone to stumble it. Drove 2,000 people to Nature Conservancy home page.

Digg - 25 million users per month
Seems to be much more news oriented. Also weird stuff and tech stuff does well.
when you submit your story to digg you get to give it it's own headline and abstract. So you can make the headline sexier than whatever it was originally. You send your friends a "shout" and get them to digg it too.

Case Study - Danielle Bridger - endangered cats - grew from 1500 page views to 44,000

I created an account there - serviceresource

The Perfect Storm - use all the tools together to build buzz.

Facebook - causes, groups, fan pages. Causes are typically for donation campaigns. Groups was originally the only thing for NPOs but now there are fan pages. As a group or a fan you can message your members. But don't approach it as list building - approach it as community building.

Missed the Story Telling session, but Nina Simon and Britt Bravo said, the person who blogs should be the person who wants to blog. You don't have to be the expert. Invite your readers on a journey.

Day Two - Morning

Holly: Tension between being an individual and representing your organization. She holds herself back from swearing, expressing political views.

People sharing their "aha" moments from yesterday. Objective needs to be clear. Social media strategy is another part of marketing efforts and needs the same type of planning (objective, audience, implementation).

Question: Boomers and seniors - are they really online? Examples: Beth's dad - she talked to him about blogging (see video). He started a blog. Geriatric1927 - popular 81-year-old vlogger on youtube.

Idea - we really need to do some kind of survey to find out if our users are on any social media platforms.

Share Pairs - lots of great discussions - my partners agreed that nailing down objectives and audiences is difficult.

FLIP cameras - make taking video super easy - resource for activists using mobile technology
the extraordinaries - volunteer using your phone - 20 minute assignments

Entrepreneurs Foundation - listserv problem same as ours. Suggestion - shut down listservs and migrate to discussion lists. Ideas: focus groups, discussion on listservs about why new groups will be valuable. "Who moved my cheese" Ask people what are your fears?

cool thing i noticed today - case foundation did 25 things meme - smart idea.

The Following Notes are From the Slideshow Listen, Learn, Adapt.

Wendy Harman of Red Cross - organized listening strategy - spreadsheet of blog posts about Red Cross. She was able to show importance of social media.

Think like a rocket scientist. Stay open, live with failures. Report their findings. Make mistakes and learn from them. Document as you go. (I can learn from my own mistake - have not been documenting our Twitter follower growth over time or trying to tie it to specific events).

Observe and sift through data like a primatologist - live with and observe your audience in their natural social environment. Digital anthropologist. We could set up a writeboard and have people contribute evidence of grantees using social media. Once we launch our Facebook fan page it may be easier to listen. Do searches on Facebook for americorps, senior corps, etc.

Document on the fly - Slide 29 - especially helpful. Slides 30 and 31 - how Beth documents with delicious, flickr, and snagit (screen capture plus notes - get free copy on techsmith - like skitch).

Page views not the only web metric anymore (Slides 38 - 39)
Engagement metrics. For blogs - five C's. Create, Coment, Click, Collect (i.e., is your post being bookmarked), Critic. Tool for measuring: postrank.

Read Nina Simon Why Doesn't Anyone Comment on Your Blog?

Humane society lolseals photo contest - learned from first contest. Next contest even better - Facebook application.

Homework: Thinking About Our Social Media Strategy

This is the hardest part. We do want to achieve all of the objectives outlined on p. 16: Teaching; Increasing brand awareness; managing our reputation; getting grantees and other service professionals to talk about us; getting grantees to contribute content; increasing visits to our site.

We may need to focus primarily on increasing visits to our site right now, but continually revise our objective and strategy. The second major objective would be teaching. We want to both teach grantees about the great resources we have, and teach grantees how to use social media. We think the best way to do the latter is to lead by example.

A more specific objective would be to increase the number of CNCS grantees coming to our site by a certain percentage (what is reasonable?) over the next year. We won't be able to measure who is or isn't a grantee until we get user login (and even then we'll only be measuring those who choose to log in).

Target Audience:
CNCS Grantees - we know about them through the listservs
We need to know more about whether they use social media.

Drive people to the best resources on our site.

Culture Change:
May need to do a 23 Things internally to get people using these tools

Things are at a pace right now where I can handle it. Could change dramatically when our website itself becomes a community. Plan for an additional staff member in this area.

Tools and Tactics:
We already listen and participate on listservs

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day One - Afternoon

Listen, Participate, Tell Your Story, Generate Buzz, Build Community

John Kenyon presenting

Listening - google alerts, technorati, twitter search. Summarize what you find for other staff. Even though we may find it hard to listen to "the resource center" we can listen to "national and community service"

Listening leads to participation. Decide who is empowered to respond; how will you address negative comments; what is the goal of your participation? Question from audience - could volunteers be our ears? A: with the right processes in place - decision tree, e.g.

Example of Katya of Network for Good responding to complaint on The GiveWell blog about Network for Good taking a cut of donations.

Participation can cultivate bloggers.

Storytelling - types of blogs:
Institutional Blog
Content Aggregator (curating content on a topic)
Specialized Content
Personality Blog
- Nina Simon. (maybe draft Nina for IT Futures?)

Podcasting - if you do it, do it on a consistent schedule with a consistent style.

How are you engaging with people encouraging content creation?
This is key for us. So much expertise out there in the field. Share knowledge, photos, tools (forms, etc.).

Tool: utterli (like ping?)

What actions do you want people to take when they come in contact with your buzz?

Example - Jonathan Colman of Nature Conservancy getting a success on Digg - the secondary effect (bloggers writing about you, etc.)

Community Building and Social Networking
Questions to answer
evolving to your web presence being a social network - this is the path we are on, albeit slowly and with caution, as we also still need to be an information-rich site.

Are you a marketer or a community manager?

Social Media Strategy Simulation Game
Awesome game - need to play it with RC staff!
One takeaway - different pieces of a social media strategy can be synergistic - we meshed listening, sharing our story, and participation in order to specifically target bloggers we wanted to write about us.

Day One - Morning

Holly Ross of NTEN:
  • This is the first live workshop based on the wiki curriculum WeAreMedia. We started working on this a year ago because we were getting so many questions: "What is twitter?" "Why should I blog?"
  • We see an opportunity for nonprofits to BE the media, not just try to bring stories to the attention of traditional media.
  • We've engaged over 200 folks from the nptech world to contribute to this curriculum via the wiki. The entire wiki is under Creative Commons license. Share the content, attribute it, share your successes. Link back to any materials you create.
Beth Kanter:
  • History of the wiki - "we ate our own dog food." Learning by creating the curriculum. 151 pages of content created. Learning the process of working wikily.
  • People shared what they want to get out of the workshop. Nina Simon captured the words and created a Wordle based on this.

Wordle: WeAreMedia Burning Questions

JD Lasica:
  • What is social media? Shareable media.
  • Although not everyone is using social media, most people are consuming it (see Slide 23 of What and Why? - social media sites captured 85% of the 2,1 trillion page views garnered at the top 1,000 media sites).
  • Every decade has its big thing - next big thing is online social graph. (See slides 29 and 30 of What and Why? - also, Google Friend Connect, Facebook Connect - competition in this space)
  • Social media is the fusion of technology and social behavior.
What are the benefits of Social Media?
  • Increase traffic
  • Turn angry customers into fans
  • See slides 45 - 51 of What and Why?
Networking contact - Torrey Lippincott of - She just met with some RSVP folks. VolunteerMatch has content, webinars, etc.

Social Media Strategy Map
Tool: SMART Chart - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based
See slide "some differences in tactics" Social media is conversation, not talk.

Flipping the Funnel - essential reading for social media strategists.

Finding out more about your audience - you may need to do a survey - find out where they hang out online (if they do).

Holly Ross of NTEN:
Rule of thirds. 1/3 Web Presence 1/3 One Way (email) 1/3 Social
their website also allows comments
Very active on Twitter @ntenhross
question - What is NTEN's voice?
Holly - we have a set of published values
me - would nten lose something when ntenhross leaves nten?
Holly - that's why I encourage others in our org to do socmed also

Five fears about social media and how to get over it.

What works when introducing something new?
bring people (influencers) in early - make them feel a part of it
stealth adoption - do it under the radar and then document the success

Beth - easiest if your social media person is someone who already loves it.
Holly - But, you can create a culture of learning at your organization. Give staff an hour a day to play with the tools.
Beth - Metrics - users, time spent, comments, bookmarks, outbound links, engagement, digital ethnographic insights.

Experiment: Wendy Harman method - five simple steps

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I work at the Resource Center, a project of ETR Associates funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). We provide a comprehensive website of resources for volunteer and service programs focusing on topics such as volunteer management and program management, with particular attention to the needs of CNCS grantees.

ETR Associates also operates another project funded by CNCS, Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC for short).

I'm flying solo for this workshop, but I've invited other members of my team, and of the NSLC team, to participate virtually if they would like to, by becoming co-authors of this blog.

How our organization is currently using social media

We have jumped in with both feet - probably because I enjoy using social media myself, and our funder would like us to advance in this arena, so I have been the one spearheading the effort. So far we have a presence on:

Our new webmaster is also working on creating a Facebook fan page for us.

My personal experience using social media

I love it - I have addictive tendencies, what can I say? I enjoy interacting with people online, personally and professionally, and lately it's become a way to "drink from the firehose" as people say, of really, really relevant information that helps me do my work better. I've blogged a little bit about this on one of my newer blogs - Swimming in a Sea of Social Media. One thing I haven't been good about is maintaining a blog or creating a consistent personal blogging presence. I want to, but it is a lot of work. I think this is why microblogging has started to appeal to me.

What do you hope to learn from the workshop?

I think I have a pretty good intuitive grasp of how to represent my organization on social media platforms. What I'm most interested in learning from this workshop is:

  • how to create and implement a listening strategy (uniquely difficult for us as our generic name, "the Resource Center" does not lend itself to listening!)
  • how to craft a policy so that other members of our team can confidently begin to participate and so that we can maintain a consistent voice
  • how to measure results, outcomes, etc.
  • how to determine how much human resources are required to keep up our efforts
  • how to determine if we are doing enough/not enough/too much right now and are there yet more venues we should be participating in